Wednesday, July 30, 2008

GHANA:Executive director attacked, robbed

Ghana-Three masked gunmen attacked and robbed the home of Walter and Marian Pimpong on the night of July 23, 2008. They are very traumatized, but safe.Rev. Walter Pimpong is the Executive Director of IN Network in Ghana.He works to free girls and women from traditional sexual slavery at village shrines.The Trokosi tradition has thrived in the Volta region of Ghana, where the practice of voodoo originated, for hundreds of years.When a villager commits a crime, the aggrieved person reports the crime to the fetish priest.The priest then afflicts the villager's family with curses and misfortunes.To stop the curses, the family must give up a virgin daughter, usually between eight and fifteen years old but sometimes as young as five, to the priest. She becomes his property through a humiliating initiation ceremony. Her labor and her body are his to demand, usually for the rest of her life. The priest controls everything she does and beats her if she tries to escape.The priest will not provide food, clothing, schooling, or basic medical care for any of the girls enslaved at the shrine.The Trokosi often bear children, who live in bondage with them.Although the practice became illegal in 1998, the law is difficult to enforce due to the pervasive fear of the curses.For several years, Rev. Pimpong has been working to free the Trokosi. Rather than paying ransoms for the women, he works through a slow process of negotiation, building relationships and trust with the priests and village elders.By that method, he can usually persuade the shrine to agree to cease the practice of Trokosi.So far, 31 shrines have dropped the practice, and 3,500 women and their children have been liberated.It is estimated that about 2,000 are still enslaved, along with approximately 8,000 children.IN Network hopes to free them in the next few years, while the political climate is favorable. However, the work does not end with the women's release. IN Network provides the women with counseling, vocational training, education, Bible teaching, food, healthcare, clothing, and a micro-credit plan. Their children are assimilated into IN Network's sponsorship program. More than 95 percent of the freed Trokosi become followers of Jesus Christ.IN Network ministers not only to the women but also to the villages surrounding the shrines.When the Trokosi practice comes to an end, the entire village is freed from the fear of the curses.Through the continued relationship with Rev. Pimpong and other national workers, the village receives sanitation, clean water, and education for the children. In addition, national Christians often have the opportunity to plant churches in former Trokosi villages.
Pray that the Pimpongs will recover from the attack.
Pray also for their protection and for the continuation of their ministry without opposition.

As in the days of Noah...

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