Friday, February 17, 2006

Jortosh Ministry targets young girls in Dublin

A group of evangelic Christians have set up in East Wall and are targeting young girls directly for conversion (it would appear). We have received invitations for girls, most aged 5-12 , to go to a pyjama party without their parents where various sweets and presents will be given to the children whilst they hear Bible readings. The same people rented a bouncy castle recently for local children to play on as a warm up event and invited our children playing in the street into their house. They have started pressuring our daughter to go to this event, even leading her by the hand down the street out of sight, seemingly to help with targeting other young girls to come. She has been left in tears between their insistent promises of free sweets, make up, goodie bags, movies and our refusal to let her go.

The two young women involved are around 20 from a US outfit called the Jortosh Ministry, which has previously targeted vulnerable children in Uganda and South Africa, but now have decided that "inner city Dublin" is the next place to save.

Here are some excerpts from their invitation (made up to look like a childrens' party invite):
Although we invited the girls to come in their pyjama's (sic), please be advised that this is not a sleepover.

We will be giving out "goodie bags" before the girls go home. ...

The theme of the evening is "Love Yourself" and we will be referring to a verse in the Bible to emphasise this theme. We understand that religion is a sensitive issue, but we want you to know - we are Christians but we are not trying to convert your daughters or shake the spiritual foundation you may have already laid. ...

We look forward to 'hanging out' with your beautiful daughters....
Here is what they say on their website:
We believe that children are extremely important to God and in the life of the Body of Christ. They are not cute showpieces but should be trained up to become strong disciples of Christ and be trained up at the earliest age to be ministers of the Gospel in prayer, worship, evangelism and all other giftings. Jortosh Ministries International seeks to raise up a new generation of godly children and youth, through the mobilizing, training and empowering of individuals, churches and organizations both locally and around the world.

I don't know whether to laugh or call the Gardai. Several children in the area are apparently going to go - "Love Yourself Girls Night" is this Saturday night. Free food, presents and babysitters on a Saturday night is a powerful lure for both parents and children.

Has anyone else heard of Jortosh Ministry? They appear to have been in Dublin for a few months - has anyone heard of evangelists in Dublin directly targeting young children in this way? Am I under or over reacting to this?


At 22 February 2006 15:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are definetly overreacting! Granted in this day and age it's hard as a parent to let your child out of your sight to someone you barely know. But I have experienced JorTosh Ministries first hand here in Canada. I have been to several of their parties that they have thrown where the kids (ecstatically mind you) take part in plays, loads of crafts and eat junk food. Nothing harmful. Sometimes God/Faith plays such a small part as they're watching a movie. It's just good kid fun. I truly believe that all Jortosh members (including the 2 in Dublin) are big kids at heart and who also just love kids. After seeing them at work I would always trust my kids in their care. It is a good group of people who know what they want to do with their life and they are trying to make a difference one child at a time.

At 23 February 2006 08:54, Blogger Des said...

anonymous said: it's hard as a parent to let your child out of your sight to someone you barely know.

Hard? Quite apart from the morality of targeting children for conversion without the involvement of their parents, I believe it is negligent as a parent to allow your young daughter to spend an evening in a complete stranger's house in her pyjamas.

At 23 February 2006 14:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experiences with the Jortosh group have proven that if they want your child to come to one of their parties, they'll come to talk you first. Simply to let you and your life partner know who they are and what they are about. Do we live in such paranoid times that we can't even trust people who make a concious effort to come and let us know what they're about? Jortosh doesn't "target" little girls; they obviously understand that a boy-girl party wouldn't work as the usual school ground distractions would take place. And that wouldn't do as they were trying to speak to the girls on a higher level. Like I had mentioned in my previous post I have experienced JorTosh and have a lot more right than yourself to judge them. How can you pass judgement on something you haven't seen? That's a little close minded and something that should not be passed on to a child. The Jortosh workers in Ireland are trying to open up a world for those kids. No kid should be denied the right to gain a broader mind-set.

At 24 February 2006 16:50, Anonymous Tina said...

I absolutely agree with what "anonymous" is a complete overreaction and downright slanderous to insinuate that the two Jortosh ministers in Dublin have any other motives with regards to those children then to teach them about the word of God and more importantly to teach them to love themselves. I am sure that as a parent you would want your children to have people surrounding them who built them up in confidence and love. Ultimately the goal of these two specific Jortosh ministry members is create a safe and loving environment for the children of Dublin in the form of a Kid's Centre. As such they are giving themselves a face in the neighborhood to spread the word of the Gospel and to promote the protection of at-risk children who might otherwise fall victim to alcohalism, drug-abuse, and worse. The context of their work is in Christ, but their goal is not to "convert" these children, just to provide a safe place for them to be children. Sir, I have visited Dublin and I have seen too many children without parental guidence and protection and that is what the Jortosh Ministries group would like to help with. I am sure you are only looking out for the welfare of your own children and for that I commend you, but realize that not all children are as lucky as yours to have a parent who cares so much about their welfare and upbringing. Jortosh Ministries is not a cult or a group that "targets" children for heinous crimes, they merely reach out to them and offer their support and guidence, much as a social worker or school councellor might. If you are still uncertain as to the motives behind the actions of those in the Jortosh ministries then I would encourage you to speak with them personally and to re-evaluate what you say about another person/organization before you have all the relevant information. I thank you for your concern for the welfare of these children and hope that you will give Jortosh Ministries the second chance that it deserves. If you have any further comments as to what I have said here today, then please do not hesitate to email me at

At 9 March 2006 03:00, Anonymous Ruby said...

I can understand your reservations as a parent but would suggest that if you are uncomfortable perhaps your wife or a female adult that you trust could accompany the girls. I'm sure if you speak to the girls with Jortosh Ministries they would welcome the involvement of adults in the community. I think that the best thing we can do as parents is be involved in our children's lives and not stand at arms-length and place judgement on those who do want to make positive change in this world. As a parent myself, I understand the dangers of this world but I encourage you, as a parent, to be involved in the lives of your daughters and be a positive, loving and encouraging parent. Get involved! You may be pleasantly surprised at the change that takes place in your life as well as your daughters.

At 15 March 2006 00:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm saddened to see that nobody is supporting this parent whose child is being wooed by strangers with a religious motive. Nobody throws a slumber party for little girls "just because they like kids". Of course religion is the ulterior motive - whether it is done unobtrusively or not. If you are not comfortable with your young child deviating from your own religious beliefs, don't let her go. If you are not COMPLETELY comfortable with these strangers being alone with your child, don't let her go. Sick people can be of any religion. Trust your instincts.

At 20 March 2006 19:45, Anonymous Ronie said...

Hiya Des,
before I read the comments I had expected most to suggest that you were under reacting - was I wrong.
The other commentators obviously miss the point that the methods and tactics used are sinister in the extreme.
I'd report the incident to the Gardai - especially if they are attempting to lead children away and/or invite them into there house unsupervised by parent or guardian.
To the evangelists who posted : are you grounded in reality ? Do you have any idea of the connotations of "Love Yourself", pyjamas and using favours to entice children away from there parents? If Des hadn't posted this I wouldn't believe it.


At 17 May 2006 06:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, i see there is a lot of concern on both ends of the spectrum regarding this topic. I have actually done work with Jortosh Ministries over seas in the past. In all, it was an amazing experience. To this day I stay in contact with both people in the ministry and people I was able to minister to.
Putting myself in the position of a parent I would also be apprehensive to just allow my precious child be a part of anything (religion based or not)where I do not know the group itself or the people representing it.
I believe I know the leaders in Dublin right now and would venture to say that they would be more than happy to include the parents of these young girls in this event (especially with these concerns).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning ones intention. When it comes to sharing God's love I believe it should be basic, true and lived out by those who share it. I agree that putting on a fluffy appearance can be a distraction from the true intention and can cause people to get a clouded idea of what christianity is all about.
I believe that Jortosh ministries is doing work with good intention, please keep in mind that the people in this ministry are humans too so like you and me, there are bound to be flaws.
Last, I truly believe that it is us as parents who need to be the true role models for our children, sure it's nice to be able to send them off to learn. But if we are not reflecting what we want our children to be like then that gives them little hope for success. God's love needs to be in the home. Trust in God and he will guide you in what actions need to be taken.

At 30 May 2006 12:59, Anonymous Gloria said...

Hi Des,
this is Gloria, from Vegans Ireland.
I was shocked to hear what is happening in your area. I dont understand the people who say you are overreacting.What is creepy is that they use sweets and other goodies as a way to attract children and then talk to them about god and jesus and so on. you are right to be careful with these people, they know how to manipulate children. First they should have talked to you both to see if you agreed. This is a question of respect. When i was younger, some Jehovah witnesses did the same thing to my sister, but when my parents heard that, they freaked out and went to have a chat with them. Dont know what they told these jeovah people but we never saw them again!!!! Good for my sister!!!
Hope everything's fine with you and your family
See ya!!

At 4 February 2007 10:35, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think these Jortosh girls are being portrayed unfairly. I know these girls and when I spoke to them about your comments, they were very upset at the idea that their work with the kids was being seen as anything sinister. The girls advised me that along with an invitation to their party, they included a parent permission slip. They would not have let your daughter attend without signed permission. They also advised me that they have spoken to yourself and your wife since this party and you haven't mentioned it to them.

I think you should stop targeting these girls and trying to tarnish their name. They are just trying to be a good influence on the kids. I have known both girls for a number of years and I know that while they are members of a children's ministry, they are not in Dublin to convert your children. They are just aware that there's a need in the area for people to work with the kids and be a good influence on them. They believe in God but it is ignorant for you to assume they are spending time with your daughter to "convert" her.

I would caution you to be very careful with the things you say on this website without knowing all the facts. A truly CONCERNED parent would confront the girls directly instead of spreading slander on your website. How can you expect your daughter to have a backbone and stand when confronted with real danger if you yourself aren't providing a solid example of how to handle situations like this.

Those girls deserve better from you Des and so does your daughter.

At 4 February 2007 10:35, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Des, you are NOT overreacting, keep your daughter away from these girls. They are not going near 16,17,18 yr olds because they know they can't influence them and young girls are easily influenced, especially when they are enticied by sweets and make up and as soon as you say they can't go, they get upset and it drives them towards these jortosh members. Leading your daughter down the road out of your sight is WRONG and all parents should be on alert. I think if your gut feeling is to call the Gardai, do it. I really hope your daughter stays safe.

At 29 March 2007 18:24, Anonymous Sandra said...

I don’t know where to begin. I do not have children BUT have a wonderful niece and nephew that I would die for! I can TOTALLY understand that you are concerned that a strange group that you've never heard of, from the far off land of Canada would want to hurt or convert your kids. It is totally understandable that a parent would want their kids to be safe in their own neighborhood. It is understandable that a parent would caution there children of dangerous situations and of strange people. What is not understandable is how a parent would not look into it themselves before making wild allegations against innocent people. What is not understandable is how a parent could lower themselves to spread such slander about a group they don't even know and about two girls that have not an evil bone in their bodies. What is least understandable is how these parents don’t understand that by not giving these Jortosh girls a chance and by causing such an uproar around there children they are hurting their kids more! It is apparent that you think that you are doing the right thing, and most parents would agree, but the way that which you handled it was not right at all.
I grew up without having any support from my parents. It’s not that they didn’t want me to do things but they just weren’t interested. The feelings I carried of not being worth the time have proved damaging to me in my adult life. Your girls will grow up whatever way they choose. You can try to teach them what is right, but I feel that by taking them away from their friends because you chose to see the perverted aspect of what they said could be damaging. Girls slumber party, perverted sounding? Maybe, does that mean that you wouldn’t let your daughters go to their uncle’s house for a sleep over with her girl cousins? Were you aware that more often than not girls are molested by relatives or close friends of the family? Enticing girls with candy? Well Enticing is a sinister word. Yet how many times have I seen a mother in the market with a frantic child, struggling to calm him/her down. Ultimately they turn to sweet. Would you assume that she was molesting her child behind closed doors, or that she was a mother without other options trying to get the groceries. Kids react well to things that are normal and that are good, would it have made you feel better if they had offered a goodie bag filled with, moth balls?
Lastly I am not a Christian! Simple as that! I would not appreciate anyone trying to convert my children either! I have on many occasions shooed religious groups away from my door. BUT I have seen the Jortosh ministry in action. I was out at one of their retreats for the day but due to weather ended up staying the night. I witnessed what they do with the children. We made crafts, sure in the shape of a cross, but these were kids who are already Christian. We ran around, played games, and just let the kids be kids. Trust me if would have seen anything bad I would have been the first to say something. I did hear some funny songs that not growing up Christian were hilarious, but as I stated these kids were already raised Christian. Mostly I saw kids that felt loved and like they belonged, who doesn’t want that for their kids. Being a non Christian around these people did not make a difference to them. Their main goal is to make others aware of what God is all about. To educate so that the children can take what they want from it. They have never pushed their religion on me and would never push their religion on anyone!
I would like to just make a small comment about why they don’t target people that are 16, 17, 18. The girls that are in Dublin are 2 of many. Some of the others have been in the ministry since they were little, BUT others have found their way after a battle with drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. How can anyone assume that because they don’t see them going for teens that they are perverts. Why not try to prevent your kids from straying instead of waiting for it to happen. Why not try to teach them to respect themselves and others, teach them to be good people. After all being a good person has nothing to do with God or religion, it has everything to do with you and what’s inside! AND THAT IS WHAT LOVE YOURSELF IS ABOUT!!!

At 2 May 2007 01:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Des
I'am totally with you about being concerned. I have heard of Jortosh ministries and I also know someone that is involved and I personally find him quite creepy and he seems to take a liking to young girls, whom he thinks he is helping. I'm not one for the whole God thing, to each his own I suppose but I think these children are being brain washed. Watch out for your chldren!


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