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Professor Joins Outreach Team in Malaysia

By Rachel Bender | December 12, 2012

Trout's daughters with their Malaysian "sisters."
Photo courtesy of Dr. Amy Trout

It was a different kind of mission trip that took Dr. Amy Trout, associate professor in Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC), to Malaysia over Thanksgiving. Accompanied by her husband and three daughters, Trout joined her colleague, Dr. Evelyn Biles, adjunct professor in SPC, on a project designed to allow orphaned girls to experience a mother-daughter relationship.

The program, called "Vital Foundation for Girls," is designed to show what family love can look like to girls who have been living in a rumah (shelter) and have not had a solid home life of their own.

Biles has been traveling to Malaysia since 2002, but this was the first time Trout and her family joined the founder of Global Mosaic International.

When the family arrived, Trout and her daughters went to the Golden Palm Resort where they met a group of 18 girls who were picked to join in their adventure. The Malaysian girls were assigned a mother-daughter team to spend the week with in hopes that they would experience the love of the mothers and children, as well as learn about their own self-worth and experience unconditional love.

"A lot of what we did was really live life with these girls," Trout explained. "One girl said to me that she had never seen a real relationship between a mother and child before and that I inspired her."

Living life included playing games, having sleepovers and developing friendships. Each Malaysian girl also worked on a book called My Book of Me, containing creative pages designed to be a reminder of who they are and who they want to become.

Biles created the program simply to give girls a chance to learn more about themselves. "We wanted to have a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural experience, having invited families from Malaysia, India and also Australia, so that the girls from the rumah would see that the love expressed in a family is not just an 'American' thing, but a universal way of how God wants a family to be," explained Biles in a recent article published by Christianity Malaysia.

That also meant training local counselors to work with the girls on issues of identity, sexuality, character development, etc. This was especially important, Trout explained, because they are the ones who will continue to work with the girls long after the mothers and their children have returned to their home countries.

"We're trying to show them that we're really people—that we struggle, we hurt, we love," Trout said.

The trip was organized by Global Mosaic International, a nonprofit organization founded by Biles to provide training in leadership, counseling, conflict management, crisis management and discipleship to areas and people with limited access to these resources.

Learn more about the School of Psychology & Counseling.


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