Sex Trafficking: why fundraise to fight it?

Why we want to raise fund for Destiny Rescue.

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# There are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world who are victims of human trafficking.

#An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, diseases, torture and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into slavery are under 24, and some are as young as six years old.

# Pregnant woman are increasingly being trafficked for their newborns.

The statistics say it all. Need I speak any further? But I will. Sex traffic is a violation of all human rights, dignity and innocence. It is beyond disgusting, it is evil with a name; it is the devil rearing his ugly self. It creates loss and a depth of grief for a person that will remain with a person forever, an ever lasting unwanted friend that never leaves.

 Lurking in the shadows of this evil industry is the girls and boys themselves. The innocent and precious people who have no say over their lives, who are abused, degraded and shamed every moment of every day. We need to remember that these people have names, they have personalities, and they have thoughts, desires, and dreams. Perhaps some have hope, but perhaps for many, hope is dashed on the rocks of reality. They are real, they have identities; we must not see them as a statistic but a life to be cherished.

So what is our responsibility? What are the responsibilities of the informed, the wealthy, and the liberated? I believe it is our responsibility to advocate, to create awareness, to pray, to give, to change international law, to put pressure on the corrupt governments that allow this, to develop communities so they don’t need the money the sex trade brings. Essentially, we are responsible to do all we can to stop this, to work for the day when people are no longer for sale.

As Shane Claiborne states, “I love the old saying that the Gospel should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, because we begin to feel [ourselves] moved with responsibility… it demands something of us. And that’s the kind of love that Dostoevsky spoke of when he said the kind of love we’re talking about is not the sentimental love of story books and fairy tales but its the love that keeps you up at night, its the harsh and dreadful love that won’t let you sleep while someone else is suffering.

 May we love with less sentiment and more action, and pray with brokenness, tears and affection. May we come to see those suffering through eyes of intimacy and compassion. May we be generous and gracious, sacrificial and humble. Not for the sake of our cause, or of any cause, but for the sake of their suffering. May the slave trade end. Amen.

 

 

 

What are you (we) missing?

                  What are we missing?

 I heard an Indigenous woman speak about the state of grief in which her people exist. Her thoughts were that although much of that grief is unconscious, it is displayed in the contemporary issues existing today for the Indigenous community, essentially she says,  the underlying issue for her people is grief over the loss of culture, community, belonging, family, as well as all the violence and oppression that has been imposed on them since the invasion.

 Another person then brought up the fact that essentially us ‘white’ people are descendants of people who thousands of years ago lost their original culture due to varying invasions and colonionizations etc. I said to this Indigenous woman, “Perhaps we are all grieving, only for your people you know what you’ve lost, its still so raw and tangible. You know what you’ve lost, but we don’t. We have no chance of capturing what life was like in its original form.”

 What have we as ‘white’ westerners lost? What are we missing? I believe the breakdown of extended family and community is a huge loss for society. Individualism and isolation are two massive killers of mental health and a functional community. We are encouraged to ‘chase our dreams,’ and ‘do what’s best for ourselves,’ meanwhile family and community breaks down, not to mention the decline of mental health, the rise of numbers of children in foster care and alternative care (hotels and staffed houses), and homelessness.  

Reading a book on ‘Empathy’ (Bruce Perry, Child Physiatrist) shed light on these issues. He essentially believes that the breakdown of extended family is a tragedy we don’t put much thought into, and wrote the phrase, ‘Heaven is other people,’ which has stuck with me for some time now. He argues that the more healthy and nurturing relationships children have with adults (and other children), the more they will learn empathy and ability to form health relationships, and consequently grow into healthy adults. He also argues that largely the healing that traumatized children need comes from increasing the number of nurturing relationships in that child’s life, as well as explain that in cultures that are relationship focused mental health issues are treated without drugs to a much higher degree of successful rehabilitation. Its not rocket science, its relationship! And yet somehow rocket and other forms of science are more glorified in our society, to achieve is more important than to relate, to advance ones self is more important than to care for another.

As a Christian I feel like these thoughts confirm the way God made us. He made us for relationship with Himself, and relationship with each other. He decided right at the beginning that ‘it was not good for man to be alone,’ and after bringing man and woman together he directed them to make more people! The original Jewish culture was incredibly relationship and family/community focused, with the law coming into place to assist them to know how to love God, and love each other. This was functional, it was to have abundant and fulfilling life, in order for God to be revealed to the world.  

But as western Christians, I feel like we are so far from being a light and representation of the relational God to the world.  Are relationships our focus? We seem to give this much lip service, with little action and re-orientation of our values and daily lives. Do we enjoy the daily relationship we have with God? Loving Him, and seeking Him in the joy of this relationship? Do we value, and seek the good of our loved ones, do we make lifestyle choices so we can be relationship focused, so we can give to the poor, and include those in our families who are lonely, widowed, or frail? So often it seems we chase our own dreams, careers, and lifestyles at the expense of our relationships, at the expense of what is good for those we love, and those we could love if we made the time.

Of course there are wonderful exceptions, however largely our Western society remains fractured, stark, and empty as we go about our egocentric lives, battling the daily stress, anxiety, worry and fear that extends from a life without intimate relationship with God and others. We have swapped ‘love of God and our neighbor’ for ‘love of self and when there is time, love of God and others.’ Consequently, we reap what we have sown, and we are lying in the bed we made in our educated foolishness.

How do we change? The cynic in me says we won’t, because egocentrically we won’t as a collective whole, give up our chance to chase our own desires. The dreamer in me believes that God hasn’t given up on us, that as we turn to Him He will show us what it best for us. We have people to learn from, like the Indigenous Australians whose kinship ties are so beautiful and strong. As they grieve what they have lost perhaps we also will see what we have lost, and together we can find a better form of community for the future.

 

 

Israel! God gives more than a loaf of Bread at Midnight (Reference to Luke 11:5-8)

After a lengthy questioning at my boarding gate as to why I am going to Israel, and being sent to the dungeons of Bangkok airport to be examined and have my bags X-rayed, I arrived in Israel to find it is a wonderful country!

 I feel like God has totally blessed me here in Nazareth! The food is so delicious; Shwarma, Hummus, Breads, Gelati (I think that’s a Western influence), and random pastries that appear at various events! I have to walk a lot in response!

I have been extremely welcomed by all people: the people at the College I am working with who are lovely, my neighbors – all of whom are extended family (a whole apartment block full), people at the hospital where I am volunteering doing chaplaincy 2 days a week, my housemate (Becky from USA, answer to prayer!), my friend from Australia, the man at my local spice-shop who calls me in when I walk past… and the list goes on! Arab culture (Nazareth is an Arab Village) is great! It is sooooo hospitable and welcoming, and the extended family is close. It’s very refreshing after the individualized culture of the West. I don’t think people are as lonely here as in Australia.

 I titled this “God gives more than bread at Midnight.’ In this passage Jesus tells the story of a person who goes to his friend at midnight and asks for bread. The friend with the bread doesn’t want to get up and climb all over his children (they all slept in the same room) to give bread to his friend. However, he does get up due to the audacity of the friend asking for bread. The proceeding verses tell us that as we ask God gives very generously. I suppose I titled this blog in this way because I feel so blessed with all the kindness that God is giving me here, my words can’t convey this! There are so many answered prayers and blessings! I know what its like to be overseas and be lonely, & I am aware of the struggles I could face here, but God has greatly blessed me in this season and met my needs and more.

(Of course, within trial and struggle there is blessing to, God always blesses us and cares through us, even within suffering He is the giver and the sustainer….we deserve nothing, but He is always giving to us in some shape or form).

 It is also so weird to be in the country that Jesus was in, living in His town, seeing various land marks that point to His life, going to the sea of Galilee where He walked on water….. amazing and strange. It makes what we call ‘Christianity’ so much more real. More authentic, but I also feel challenged by the objectivity of the person of Jesus: is my faith really in Him as the man who was God? It is, but that is slightly crazy, and yet I feel like my feet are so firmly planted in this truth, on the rock that is Jesus.

 I feel like without a connection to Israel and the Jewishness & objectivity of Jesus; Christianity in the West can so often be just a way of life, a community, a list of doctrines, self help, or something spiritual[1]. But in being here, I see the objectiveness of faith in Christ. He was a real man, He did real and historical things, He was the Jewish Messiah and yet most of them didn’t see Him this way. I suppose for me and for everybody the crux of it is our answer to the question He asked His disciples in Luke 9:20; “Who do you say I am?”

If the answer really is ‘Lord,’ (it is for me), then all of life is profoundly impacted and changed, words cannot convey this is the slightest. I usually have many words, but in this case, silence prevails. unusual for me. 

Mabpsuta, Nushka Alla – means I am happy, thanks be to God!

 See Facebook for photos!! 

 

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Note, community and doctrines are good, just not if that’s all that marks ones Christianity.