Knitting Hearts Together for a Cause
Partnering in Generosity
Covenant encourages and supports team members in giving of their time to serve others and the stories that emerge from these experiences are both refreshing and uplifting. We are excited to share Darlene Klassen’s story. Through her and her husband Gary’s experience abroad, Darlene now has an ongoing passion for the orphans and vulnerable youth of Moldova.
Back in 2012, God was stirring something in Darlene and her husband when they had a ministry come to their church and share about the social justice issue of human trafficking. They then participated in an exploratory trip to Eastern Europe on behalf of their church and were introduced to the work of Stella’s Voice, an organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking. As a couple, they determined in their hearts that God was indeed calling them to respond indeed to care for the orphan (James 1:27).
Darlene was deeply impacted after meeting the young women from two of the safe houses as they shared their stories of poverty and desperation, and how they were given a second chance after they were discharged from the state-run orphanage system at age 16. Little did she know that God was at work and after the second trip in 2014 to Moldova, her husband came on staff at the Canadian office through an unexpected set of circumstances. She was then able to join him on another trip in 2018 which provided an opportunity for members of the Covenant team to work together to bless these orphans on that trip.
Initially, someone offered to knit hats and scarves. They did not want to leave any of the young women in the Moldovan winters without one. Other staff were recruited (and even one spouse of a staff member), to furiously knit enough gifts for more than 30 female residents in a short period. Covenant also graciously donated $500 to the trip and Darlene was able to purchase much-needed toiletries locally in Chisinau after asking the house parents what was most needed. Putting together small gift bags and placing them on the pillow of each girl’s bed was a special touch and everyone had fun seeing the girls model their new headwear and scarves.
The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report notes that: “Traffickers exploit Moldovan victims in sex and labour trafficking within Moldova and in Russia, Germany, other countries in Europe, and the Middle East. Most victims are from rural areas and have low levels of education.” Since prevention is the particular focus of Stella’s Voice, Darlene is deeply appreciative that the young women she visits and works with are spared the horrors of being trafficked for sex or labour. “Seeing them being able to focus on their education and experience the love of God allows the exploitation to be avoided in the first place.” Darlene is already planning to return there on future mission trips, and if you are interested in reading more about the work of Stella’s Voice, please visit www.stellasvoice.ca.