MISHAWAKA— On Friday, Oct. 22, Nirup Alphonse, pastor of LifeGate Church in Denver, Colorado, came and spoke in chapel. His worship team came with him to lead the worship in chapel and to host a worship night in the Kelly Auditorium that evening. While Pastor Alfonse was speaking in chapel, he introduced the Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch and provided a phone number for Bethel students to text that would send them information about the program’s mission and provide the opportunity to donate to the cause. The phone number given was 80360.
Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch is a community dedicated to rescuing children from sex trafficking in the Philippines. The ranch is run by a missionary family, the Willifords, and supported by LifeGate Church.
According to the Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch website, “Our mission is to rescue, transform, and defend these children to ensure they have a bright future. We strive to build a better community for the Filipino people in our area by providing medical care, food, and sharing the love of God with them.”
The ranch was founded in 1994 by Glenn and Nancy Garrison. The Garrisons were in the Philippines on another assignment but were struck with the desire to help the children as they realized sex trafficking was out of control and children were being abused and left in the streets. John and Kelli Williford joined the Garrisons in 2010.
The truth is sex trafficking has become a growing problem in the world. The main targets are women and children.
According to the United Nations’ Global Report on Trafficking Persons for 2020, “Children account for about one third of the detected victims of trafficking. Trafficking of children, however, disproportionally affects low-income countries, where it is linked to the broader phenomenon of child labor.”
This information is tragic and calls for anyone in a position to help to do so.
In the Philippines, there is a major platform for child sex trafficking. Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch recognizes this and is stepping forward to not only rescue these children, but to also show them the love of Jesus.
According to the ranch’s website, its mission statement is, “To transform the lives of children victims of abuse, trafficking, and online sexual exploitation from victims to survivors by giving them opportunities to heal and to restore their lives. We strive to make a positive impact in our community by showing every person the love of Jesus.”
Students who are interested in learning about ways to be involved can visit the website, hhcr.org.