Among the group of individuals mentored by Dr. Osburn, Singaporean mentee Colin Gan is known as a passionate cheerleader of other change agents around the world, sharing their stories and encouraging group members to consider what they might learn from these individuals as they seek to bring change in their own contexts.
There is one story, though, that moved Gan to get involved in a more personal way and that he hopes to see shared with a wider audience.
Gan himself was introduced to the concept of “redemptive change” back in 2002 when he met Dr. Osburn at an InterVarsity graduate student conference.
At that time, Gan was attending the University of Minnesota to study for his Master of Computer and Information Sciences and Master of Science in Management of Technology.
As providence would have it, Gan found himself rooming with Dr. Osburn at the student conference. This was when Dr. Osburn was still the executive director of Anselm House (formerly the MacLaurin Institute) on campus at the University of Minnesota. The two men stayed in contact after the conference and when Dr. Osburn founded Wilberforce Academy Colin signed on as one of the early mentees.
“God has always been working in my heart to empower the disadvantaged from society,” says Gan. Dr. Osburn’s mentorship bolstered this desire.
Gan returned to home to work as a management and training consultant and over the years he had a chance to dip his hands into a number of redemptive change projects.
Then Gan began pursing his PhD in Finance at Bandung Institute in Indonesia. He found himself in a small group with Indonesians connected to a local ministry they called RUTH House.
Through this ministry, Colin and his wife, Yenny, learned that roughly 3 million abortions take place in Indonesia each year, and that often the women in question have been raped or trafficked. These young women, when found to be pregnant, are usually cast out of their jobs, schools, and even families. Without financial or family support, abortion seems to be the only option.
RUTH House (also known as “A House for Growing Hope” in Indonesian) offers women a safe place to be pregnant, give birth, and sort out their next steps while mentoring them in Christ.
The organization started when an Indonesian university student allowed a young pregnant woman with no place to stay to live in her dorm. From here that young woman, Devi, continued to assist pregnant mothers in distress. In 2011 Devi and her husband, Charles, officially founded RUTH House in hopes of helping women not only avoid abortions but also to develop independence even as they come to know Christ and his love for them.
“They restore the dignity of unwanted pregnant women without the need [for them] to pursue abortion,” explains Gan.
Gan shares that the ministry has a very thorough approach, going beyond simply offering a place to stay. Their mission includes work to:
STOP abortion by providing a safe place to be pregnant
MINISTER to and take in women who are pregnant due to violence, abuse, or pre marital relationship
IMPLANT Christian values with an aim to help these women have a right mind according to the truth
ENABLE independence in women who thought that was unachievable
MATURE the women we minister to so that they can be self-sufficient, especially those who decide to become a single parent
EDUCATE schools, universities, sanctuaries, and public communities about the prevention of abortion and it’s impact on women.
To date the ministry has served more than 150 pregnant mothers (that is more than 150 babies saved!). Some of these women are able to reconcile with and go back to their families after their babies are born. Others chose the difficult but rewarding role of single motherhood. Still others give their babies up for adoption.
As of this writing, the ministry houses 19 babies and 9 pregnant women.
Gan saw in Devi and Charles a couple who had truly committed themselves to an area of redemptive change. He and his wife began to find ways to support the ministry financially, materially by donating needed items like clothing, praying for them, and by connecting other interested parties with the ministry.
Gan’s hope is that the fruit of this organization will include women sent out not only to live healthy, independent lives, but as redemptive change agents themselves.
He recently shared the story of this ministry with other Wilberforce Academy mentees as an example of what bringing change to a specific social challenge can look like. If you would like join Gan in supporting RUTH House, or if you simply want to learn more about their ministry, you can check out their profile at the Anglican Aid page for RUTH House.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Wilberforce Academy mentee and join this group of individuals around the world who are brainstorming and putting into action real redemptive change, you can learn more here.
Please also pray for Dr. Gan, as he considers additional ways to be a redemptive change agent himself. Currently, he plans to start a WhatsApp small group to encourage Indonesian brothers and sisters in finding ways big and small to bring change. Pray that God would grant him wisdom and connections with the right individuals, as well a direction for the project.