When I was in Zambia a couple of weeks ago, what I heard again and again is this. “Sexual abuse is real. Sexual exploitation is real. It is happening all around us.”
That’s what our founder, Susan Vonolszewski, heard from orphan caregivers around the world and was the reason why five years ago she initiated the project we now know as Holding Esther.
It was my joy to take Holding Esther to Zambia a couple of weeks ago. We trained 14 facilitators and they, in turn, led 88 participants to listen and discuss 7 episodes of this radio drama called Holding Esther.
Holding Esther is done with the excellence of Adventures in Odyssey, but the purpose is entirely different. Holding Esther has been embedded with core content that:
- brings understanding to listeners of the plight of children who have been sexually traumatized
- instills listeners with biblical principles that will help them replace destructive lies traumatized children believe with the truth of their immeasurable value, worth, and dignity
- equips listeners with basic practices of trauma healing so that they can walk with children on their pathway to healing
- coaches listeners in best practices of care for orphans and vulnerable children so that they can safely and effectively help these children heal and avoid further abuse
- provides a platform for discussion on difficult topics that are often avoided which often leads to the listener beginning his or her own journey to healing.
And so I am thrilled to share with you all seven episodes of Holding Esther! Each episode is ~ 25 minutes long. And while this radio drama has been produced specifically to equip caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, we are finding that interest is far broader. So, I invite you to join my brothers and sisters in Zambia in listening to Holding Esther.
(Do be aware that the content is quite intense and you might want to get younger children busy doing something else while you listen.)
Episode 1 – When Your World Falls Apart – Sarah and Esther are ordinary girls growing up in a happy family when tragedy strikes. Sent to live with an aunt and uncle, their tragic circumstances deepen leading them to make desperate choices.
Episode 2 – Survival of the Fittest – Their decision to run away lands Sarah and Esther on the street of the nearest city where an encounter with a bus brings them unexpected hope, and a hot meal.
Episode 3 – We’re Safe Now – Sarah and Esther are safe now. But are they? A carpenter helps Sarah by repairing a stool she has broken, but he may have other things in mind.
Episode 4 – The Only Choice – Sarah makes a decision that Esther finds impossible to understand. And while Sarah struggles to survive, Esther tries to find hope.
Episode 5 – Just a Truck – It’s just a truck … or is it? Esther faces the reality that the traps that bind us are not always held tight with lock and key.
Episode 6 – Butterfly Necklace – An unexpected discovery opens the way for Esther to begin to learn who she truly is.
Episode 7 – A Little Hope – In a dramatic turn of events, Esther sees how God can use her to help someone who desperately needs a little hope.
As you listen, I would love to hear your thoughts. And, if you are interested in using this in your church, as part of your missions program, in a program in your community, or with caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, please let me know! I’d love to talk with you! Together, let’s build a bridge of hope for the world’s most vulnerable children!