by Tim Hillmer, Board Member
In 2016 I traveled to southern India with Jon Spencer, the founder of New Horizons House, in order to visit the NHH facility and participate in a dedication ceremony for the new buildings. This was my first trip to India as a NHH board member, and I felt called to make the long journey and see firsthand “the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman”. (2018 Thomson Reuters Foundation Report)
After arriving in Bhimavaram, we were warmly welcomed by Johnson and Esther, the directors of New Horizons House, and then escorted by their amazing staff to the NHH facility in the nearby village of Podu. The construction of the dormitory building was nearing completion and we were there to interview potential staff members and house mothers and security personnel.
As Jon and I walked across the beautiful grounds and through the dorm buildings, I tried to imagine what the facility would be like once the rescued girls arrived and called this place home. I tried to visualize the classrooms filled with teachers and students, and the kitchen and dining area bustling with cooks as they served delicious food to hungry, appreciative young women. I pictured a sturdy wall encircling the grounds and providing a secure, safe place for the girls as they walked through the nearby mango orchard. Finally, I imagined a lush garden at the east end of the large property that could produce fruits and vegetables for the community.
A heavenly vision, I remember thinking. And God will provide.
As I walked the grounds, I was also keenly aware of the hellish lives that many of the young girls were currently living in the brothels and dance halls where they were enslaved and what this new home might mean to them. I knew that sexual abuse and trauma could haunt individuals for years, and I hoped and prayed for this place to become a healing sanctuary for all who arrived. Perhaps New Horizons House could become “the safest place in India to be a young woman” and defy all the bleak reports I’d read about human trafficking.
This coming November, I’ll return to southern India with Jon, my good friend of over forty years. We will once again visit the New Horizons House facility in Podu, and this time, there will be fifty-one girls living in the dorms and sharing their meals in the dining hall. There will also be ten young women living in the nearby Transition Home in Bhimavaram who have “graduated” from the Podu facility and are now attending a local university.
Accompanying us will be a team of supporters and donors. Christina and Renee Brinkerhoff from Denver will be there. They have created a non-profit called Valkyrie Gives and have generously chosen to financially support New Horizons House as one of their “boots on the ground organizations” who are making a real impact in the world. Dr. Lumina Albert, a NHH Ambassador, will be there. Dr. Albert is a professor in the School of Business at Colorado State University as well as the Executive Director of the CSU Center for Ethics and Human Rights. Born and raised in India. Dr. Albert is currently in India on a Fulbright Grant and conducting research on human trafficking. Phil Gustafson and Randy Wise, both former NHH board members, plan to be there as well.
Please pray for our team as we travel to India this November. Please continue to pray for the girls at New Horizons House and the incredible staff that cares for them. Thank you for your ongoing support of NHH. Your donations are essential in creating a “healing sanctuary” for sixty-one young women in southern India who are reclaiming their lives as part of a thriving, empowering community.