peacemaking

Hello. It’s me.

I’m doing this again.

Mostly because I’m tired. In a lot of ways. I’m physically tired, which leads to extra thinking and less filtering. Emotionally tired of waking up or going to bed to tragedy. Mentally tired of figuring out my thought processes while weaving through webs of everyone else’s already publicized thought processes. Spiritually tired of darkness that seems to grow larger every day.

And now, after so many repeated tragedies, I’m tired of being a peacekeeper.

I’m tired of being the middle child who’s learned to skillfully dance on eggshells so everyone feels supported and comfortable at the same time.

I’m tired of being the one who’s always grabbing the pot off the burner before it boils over and makes a huge mess.

I’m willing to make a mess. I’m willing to get it wrong or crush a few eggshells…because honestly, maybe my silence and apathy and ignorance is getting it more wrong than anything I may actually say.

Jesus never told me to be a peacekeeper.

Maybe I thought he did, but in reality, he talks way more about the peacemakers.

We’re meant to make peace…and that is a hell of a lot different from keeping it. Namely because peacemaking recognizes something peacekeeping refuses to: a lack of peace.

I’m still learning what being a peacemaker looks like. But here are some places I think we could all start.

Step One: Recognize the lack of peace and your own role in that.

For a lot of my life, I’ve been blind to my privilege and because of that, have dismissed other people’s experiences and realities. I’m a privileged white girl and I’m still learning how to see. And learning how to see means getting new perspectives. Perspectives that aren’t other privileged white girls.

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There’s a serious lack of peace in the world today. How are you responding to it? Are you walking away in fear and creating a greater void, or are we stepping into that void to listen, grow, and see the gap close a bit more?

Step Two: Pray for peace, but also recognize that you yourself are a big part of the answer to that prayer.

Seriously, sometimes I feel like people pray for peace (including myself) and expect God to drop some holy peace vibes from the sky that will shock us into living out of love and singing around campfires together. Spoiler alert, he’s not sending holy peace vibes. He’s sending you.

Yes, you there, calling yourself a Christian, you have the spirit of God in you and that spirit of God is a spirit of Peace.

When we are desperately crying out for peace, I sometimes wonder if God’s whispering back to us “I’ve already given it to you, you’re just not doing anything with it.”

So, you know, pray for peace. Hashtag that ish for all I care. But also remember to get off your ass and take that spirit of Peace that’s living in you to the places and people you tend to avoid.

Step Three: Have some real conversations, and listen for the sake of listening

Look, I’m not a fan of hard conversations, and I don’t like people feeling uncomfortable, and honestly – more than 50% of the time I’m listening to you, I’m listening simply to have a chance to respond. I have an inkling that the same’s true for at least a few of you reading this.

So, let’s all take a deep breath and get the hell over it.

Peacekeeping looks like dancing around the hard stuff to keep it cozy. Peacemaking means letting some things get broken and messy before they get put back together.

Some of the hardest conversations I’ve had are the ones where someone calls out my blind spots. None of us want to know we’re blind. One I will always remember took place in an after school program. I was talking to a student about what he wanted to be when he grew up and he was having a hard time thinking of things. I started listing off the things I dreamed of being when I was his age. And then, this 7-year-old precious little one said to me, “Well, that’s because you’re white.” I tried to tell him that it didn’t matter, but he just shook his head and said “Yeah it does.”

From then on, I started trying to listen more purely.

Not listening so that I could form my opinion and share it.
Not listening so that I could argue back.
Not listening where I was just waiting my turn to speak.

Really, honestly, listening and letting it resonate within me.

There’s not much I claim to know, but I do know this: I follow a God who crossed and continues crossing boundaries to show His undying love for His creation, and who asks me to do the same. I follow a God who breaks down walls and creates unity instead of putting them up, and again asks me to do the same.

 I’m still learning. We all are, really.
And while I’m learning, I am grieving with those who are grieving.
I am weeping with those who are weeping.
And I am listening. And I am with you. And I am sorry.

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turning on the light.

I’ve always had a rule about my blog, and it’s that I’d keep it quiet when something happens in the world that sends the Internet into a commentary overload…no matter how I felt on the incident. I’ve never felt like my voice needed to be added to the countless others.

Something’s different this time.

I still don’t feel like my voice needs to be added to the countless voices speaking on the events in Orlando…but, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s in light of some of the responses I’ve seen to Orlando spewed across social media. Maybe it’s in light of the questions I’ve had to answer to precious Thai children who are trying to wrap their heads around evil as much as I am. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the past three years of my life seeing my worldview change and feeling more solidified in my faith and in the Jesus I follow, yet realizing that it’s led to more questions and conflicting views than true solid answers.

Whatever the reason, I’m breaking my own rules today and adding my voice to the Internet.

On Sunday, while a man was opening fire on innocent people in Orlando, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Bangkok, writing and blissfully unaware of the evil on the other side of the globe.

24 hours later, I was sitting in front of a group of teenagers who were asking me why people hate people. Why people can take guns into concerts and nightclubs and churches and hospitals and schools…places where you’re not supposed to worry about your safety. I was choking down emotions to try to offer some kind of answer to kids who shouldn’t have to ask these kinds of questions yet.

There’s a lot of darkness in the world, and I don’t deny it. I feel it deeply, maybe even more deeply than before because it dawns on me more every day that one day, it could be me caught in a crossfire of hatred and fear. Or worse, it could be someone I love.

The world may be dark, but every day we each have a choice to look at that darkness and turn on a light. We have the choice every day to live from a place of love or a place of fear. And hatred, hatred like we’ve seen recently, is an ugly byproduct of living from places of fear.

We can all turn on the light. We can all see fear and stress and pain and choose to sit down next to it with a simple “Hey, I’m here. This is evil. This hurts. I don’t know what to do or say, but I’m here and I’m with you and I support you.”

Hiding in the darkness, not saying something that matters because we’re scared of what happens when it’s finally out there – that does nothing but breed more fear. It perpetuates the darkness that’s already weighing heavy on the world.

So, this is me attempting to turn on a light, and hoping you’re doing the same.

To my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community:

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. My words may fall short and my attempts to show support may seem feeble. But I love you. I’m standing in solidarity with you today and every day. Because human is human. Love is love. And I love you. And regardless of what others may say, I believe the God I follow loves you. Your life matters. Your love matters. Your stories matter. You matter.

I don’t know how to answer the questions some of my students ask or the questions I’m asking myself, but I do know one thing:

Faith, hope and love endure. And the greatest of these is love.

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on being called “brave.”

Brave is not a word I’d use to describe myself, yet it’s one I hear quite often.

Maybe it’s because the past few years of my life have been less than typical and have involved lots of airplanes and foreign countries and eating grasshoppers and running through Dubai alone in the middle of the night because I had an 8 hour layover and I could. Maybe because it’s involved living in places that people tend to assume the worst of. Whatever it is that leads people to stamping that word on my life, I’ve stopped trying to figure it out.

Because I don’t feel brave. I’ve never felt brave.

If I’m being honest, I’ve been afraid more times in my life than I’ve felt brave. Most things I’ve walked into doing, I’ve been trembling. Pictures where I’m laughing hysterically are covering up the fact that my legs were shaking and my mind was racing (especially when those pictures were taken on raised surfaces because my fear of heights is so real).

For a long time, I took everything fear said as truth.

Fear told me to stay inside. It told me to hide my heart. Not to trust other people. Not to let too much of myself be seen or known. Fear told me the world was a dangerous place and people were going to let me down. It told me I was a risk that wasn’t worth taking, so I shouldn’t even put myself out there.

And you know what, maybe some things fear told me were true. Maybe there’s a gift hiding in fear that protects us. But at what cost?

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be brave. I just stopped letting the fear tell me what to do.

And I don’t know, maybe that’s what actually makes us brave.

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I started writing. I started telling my life’s story to people who became fortresses of safety and peace in my life, and it made me braver. I decided that, while the world may be dangerous and full of darkness, there’s also light that exists that will always overcome the dark.

I realized that no matter what happens to me on this earth, my soul has found the safest resting place in the God that created it. Fear tends to pale in comparison to that.

I’ll never stop being afraid of things.

I’ll never stop my legs from shaking when I’m standing on the edge of something risky and beautiful.

I’ll never stop my heart from racing when I’m about to expose part of it to another person.

But I’ll never again let it keep me from doing it anyway.

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To be continued.

if i’m a missionary, you are too.

I’d love to sit down and write you a blog about witnessing miracles and feeding starving people and all of the other things I assume others assume my life should look like since I’m a believer who lives in a foreign country now.

But I won’t… because I can’t. Other than the miracle of continuing to learn Thai and remembering my students’ names, I’m not doing any of those things. Truthfully, my life is not that different than it was in America.

IMG_8100[1]I have a bed. And a closet and a refrigerator, both full of things. I have a real flushing toilet, and I have real running water so I can take real showers (who cares that they’re cold?). I live in an apartment building…not the bush, not the slums, not a hut on the side of the road. I have access to wifi about 100% of the time, and I can find pretty much any and everything I want or need to buy.

I wake up every morning and drink coffee. Some days I make my own, other days I run down the street and buy some. I go to work everyday. I eat dinner with friends and coworkers every night. I go to sleep and wake up to do it all again in the morning.

IMG_7798[1]I’m not holding orphans, or feeding strangers, or preaching.

In America, “missionary” would hardly be on the list of words to describe my life…but here, living in a foreign place, people find it easy to slap that descriptor on to me.

But let’s get real – I’m not doing anything that’s drastically different than what I used to do and what most of you do in America.

Why don’t we call you missionaries too?

You have neighbors. You have coworkers. You have spheres of influence that desperately need to hear the Gospel.

You walk past people everyday that need to hear of the hope you hold inside.

You drive past places full of darkness that desperately need the light of Christ within you.

The lady you buy coffee from everyday is the lady that needs to hear of the saving love of Jesus.

Our lives are not that different, friends. We are separated by miles and oceans, but those miles and oceans do not make me any more or less of a missionary than you are.

The power of God is just as present in your life, in your church, in your small groups and in your faith as it is here. The presence of God is just as accessible – whether you are in small-town, USA or the African bush or a district of Bangkok.

You don’t have to go halfway around the world to call yourself a missionary. You don’t have to pack everything you own in a backpack and country-hop to serve Jesus. For a lot of people, you don’t even have to leave your own home to find a “mission field” to call your own.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my faith and my heart in the past couple of years of running around the world with Jesus is this: you just have to be willing to say yes.

The “where” is not the answer. The “Who” is.

Sometimes that looks like it did for me – saying yes to packing up a backpack and setting off around the world for a year, or saying yes to teaching English in a foreign country.

But most of the time, I’ve found that it really looks like saying yes to conversations. It looks like saying yes to the awkward small talk that leads to building relationships. Saying yes to being the only one and risking looking silly. Saying yes to the possibility of failing miserably. Saying yes to making different choices, and saying yes to rearranging your schedules and priorities. Saying yes to taking the long way, saying yes to that Bible study you’re not sure about, and saying yes to forgiveness and redemption.

There’s a man who runs a coffee bar next door to the school I work at. I stopped in before work one morning to grab an iced milk tea, and decided I’d try my hand at a conversation in Thai. It was awkward and it took a ridiculous amount of effort just to ask a couple of questions.

I sat down and was pretty thrilled with myself and then I realized that at home, that would have been a simple task in my own language…yet, other than speaking my coffee order, I usually choose not to engage with the people making my coffee.

And I drive myself crazy to asking why.

Why does my life look so different when I’m not in the states? Why does it take being on foreign soil to cause something to shift in my heart and push me to action?

I’ve got a whole list of things now that I’ve realized I do much more intentionally when I’m away.

And I don’t really like it.

Because there is no more or less of Jesus’s sweet presence in foreign lands. 
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Maybe I’m speaking for myself, or maybe I’m speaking for more of us, but it’s like we decide that we have to wait until we’re overseas to live missionally. We have to wait until that special outreach event. We have to wait  until that scheduled service project to meet needs. We have to wait  until the clothes don’t fit anymore to donate them.

But really, where does Scripture say “Wait until disaster strikes and then go into all nations,” or “Go and make disciples of all nations that aren’t the nation you live in,” or “Go and make disciples only when your church has an outreach event”??

We must be going every time our feet hit the floor in the morning. Every interaction you have with another person, you are “going therefore.”

Go therefore to Target and make disciples.
Go therefore to Starbucks and make disciples.
Go therefore to that delicious pizza joint you love and make disciples.
Go therefore to your biology class and make disciples.
Go therefore to the gym and make disciples.
Go.

I’m learning to lean into this mindset, and though I hope to be one day, right now I’m not so good at it. But it’s okay, because “going therefore” doesn’t have to be pretty and perfect.

So whether in Thailand or the states, scattered through Europe or in whatever corner of the world, go therefore. Say yes to conversations and relationships and discomfort and taking the long way home to make disciples.

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learning to swim.

Okay look, this week I’m cheating…a little bit, at least.

I’ve been going through my journals from the Race lately, which has been a really great process. I tend to fill journals really quickly and then shelve them for a few years before I ever go back to them, so it’s been nice to walk through some of my writing while it still seems fresh (even though it’s not exactly fresh).

I realized there were a lot of stories from the year, ones that made a serious impact on my heart, that I chose to confine to those pages. And that’s great for some things, but sometimes I don’t know, I think we need to share the way God uses people and situations and the silliest of metaphors to teach us. I learned a long time ago that lessons of God’s character aren’t meant to be hoarded, they’re meant to be shared.

And so for today’s edition of “Words for a Wednesday,” I’m sharing a lesson of God’s character (and also a gut check lesson of my own) that a precious angel named Cassandra helped to teach me in the Philippines. Congratulations, your very first unedited, unfiltered glimpse at my journals from around the world….

Day 10 – September 20, 2013
(part one of the day has been omitted, but I have a feeling it won’t stay hidden forever).

After lunch, we had some time to sit and just be, and it was so nice and so needed. My emotions exhausted me this morning and I was just not ready to jump directly back into something.

Lucky for us, jumping into ministry for the afternoon meant literally jumping in the pool with the Community Angel girls. I fall more and more in love with them every time I get to hang out with them, whether it’s actual “ministry time” or just outside in the streets after our day is over.

One of the leading causes of death among children in the Philippines is drowning. I was honestly surprised to hear it and I guess I shouldn’t have been considering how common flooding is here, but the blissfully ignorant American in me assumed that kids just knew how to swim, because I can’t remember NOT knowing how to swim. But that’s simply not the case here, where something like 8 people drown every day.

So yeah, swim lessons quickly became part of KIM’s ministry to the community. I’m pretty comfortable in the water, I guess, but knowing just how important these lessons were for these kids’ lives made me really not want to give swim lessons.

Most of the girls gathered in the kiddie pool because they could stand with their heads well above the water, and when they practiced their floating and swimming, finding safety meant only having to reach their foot down to solid ground.

A girl named Cassandra swam/walked over to me and said “Tita, Tita help.”

Tita means aunt, a term of endearment, and it’s absolutely the best thing to hear a precious Filipino kid call you.

 

I held Cassandra as she practiced floating, but every time I moved my hands away she got scared and put her feet back down. We worked slowly, but eventually she realized how easily she could float on her own if she didn’t let her fear get in the way. In her words –

I am scared, it is no good. I am not scared, it is good.

She watched her friends who were in the big pool next to us and told me of her dream to one day swim with them. I smiled and simply said,

How about today?

I told her I’d be right beside her and she didn’t have to worry or be scared of the big pool, because I was here to help. I switched pools and she stood on the edge unsure. Jump! I told her, Jump and I will catch you!

After lots of cheering, Cassandra finally jumped. And she freaked out, until she realized that I really did catch her and that I was still holding her.

She practiced her swimming across the width of the pool with me in front of her, holding out my arms. She’d swim a little way and get scared, grabbing for my arms. Each time I’d walk backwards a little more, making her swim a little bit further and each time she’d reach out for my arms in fear.

Once I kept my arms at a distance she couldn’t quite reach, and she kept swimming for them. When I finally did lift her, she looked at me in disbelief – “Titat you did not help! I was scared! I couldn’t find your arms – why did you help me?”

All I could do was smile when I said “Cassandra, look where you are. You made it to the other side of the pool!”

She grabbed the side of the pool and laughed, thrilled that she had done it.

Truth is, Cassandra could swim all along. I watched her kick and paddle in the kiddie pool and she could definitely swim – it was her fear of deeper water that got in the way.

We celebrated and played for the rest of the afternoon and the little girl scared to leave the kiddie pool became the little girl who loved the deep pool.

A lot of times we go on mission trips thinking about all the things we’re bring to a place, all that we’re doing for them…but we forget that they’re bringing things to us, too. It would have been really easy to walk away from Cassandra patting myself on the back for giving her successful swimming lessons, thinking what a gift I had given her.

In reality though, Cassandra had given me something much greater: she had given me a picture of myself, a deep reality check as to where I was with the Lord and how I interact with him.

There’s a lot of times when I remain content in the kiddie pool of my faith – it’s safe there, no point in taking a risk when I’m totally fine being here, right? But God calls us to risk, to put our lives, our reputations and our security on the line for him and His name. Being able to stand up in a kiddie pool isn’t going to do me any good when the water rises. And so he calls me into the deeper pool, the one that exposes my fears and insecurities and my desperate need of him to keep me afloat…and He teaches me to swim there.

Every time he pushes he a little bit further, teaches me a little bit more, draws me a little bit deeper out. When I get overwhelmed with fear or insecurity, he is quick to open his arms to me, to show me there is nothing to fear. And when I respond in anger or doubt, blaming him for letting me fail, falter or for not being there for me, he gently smiles and with patience and joy says “yes, but look where you are now.. look where it has drawn you. Look at the fear you’ve pushed through. Look at how I came this way with you. Look at what you have now learned.”

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(Lindy Hickman Photography)

 

on remembering to jump

Writing every week is hard.

I mean, I guess it’s not the writing that’s hard because once I just make myself do it, it gets done. It’s the coming up with something to write. The decision of “what do I want to talk about” and “how do I want to write about it” and the tempting thought of “how much does this not matter to everyone but me” gets a little overwhelming when a new week shows up.

I’m always in conflict when it comes to this blog because I want it to be real. So in some senses, I want to just hand over a journal page to you and say “here’s some words that happened to spill out of my heart this morning.” But in a lot of senses, that feels wrong, because I should edit and then there’s the whole idea of “boundaries” that I’m continually learning about and exactly where does blogging fall into the range of boundaries? Because some of you reading this are my closest friends and some of you, well some of you may be sitting across from me in a coffee shop and I’d never know it.

I want to tell stories, but lately it’s hard to find a story that’s worth getting excited about. I wake up, work, come home and sleep. Nowadays there’s some homework thrown in there (the horror) because I’m getting my TESOL certification (more on that to come).

I work with an autistic boy all day who is completely nonverbal so we don’t even have funny conversations I can tell you about. He’s only just recently decided that I’m a person to interact with instead of just someone to give him food & water when he’s hungry and change the TV channel when he’s bored, which is really nice. So we do a lot of jumping together. Yeah, jumping, the kid just loves it. Jumping on the couch, jumping on the floor, jumping on the bed, jumping on a mini trampoline, jumping up and down the stairs – we jump a lot. He’ll also pretty much jump off of anything if you let him. I set him on the counter to try and put his shoes on and he jumped right down. He’ll stand up on the arm of the couch like he just stepped foot on the moon and then jump right off without caring that he’s about to land in a pile of Legos. He recently learned how to jump out of his crib, so that’s been fun too, especially at nap time.

Today while we jumped and jumped and laughed and screamed, the fact that it was Wednesday weighed heavy on my mind. Wednesdays mean writing now, and this being the first Wednesday of a new month, I’m supposed to have some new word to be inspired by. Mostly I just wondered why I thought this was such a good idea in the first place. My inner dialogue grew louder and louder until my sweet kiddo stopped jumping and put his hands on my face. He looked at me (eye contact is a big, big deal), laughed and then started jumping again like nothing had happened.

Something did happen though, because somehow that autistic three year old knew I needed to refocus. And he knew that sometimes refocusing looks like learning how to jump again. That little nugget was right.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: sometimes we just have to remember how to jump. We have to silence the voices inside telling us why we shouldn’t, why we can’t, why we’re not good enough, and we just have to jump. And we just have to keep jumping. 

I used to think that the more I just jumped, the more I took risks, the more I shed my comfort zone, the easier it’d all become. I was wrong. Jumping is hard, every single time. No matter how exciting it is. No matter how much promise there is on the other side of jumping. No matter how many people are jumping with you. It’s hard.
The point is not the fear we may feel.
The point is that we jump anyway.
Because where we end up is far, far greater than we could ever imagine.

More Than a Hashtag #EndItMovement

Today my Instagram feed and Facebook scroll was filled with pictures of red x’s on hands. The captions  all said something along these lines: “Shine a light on slavery. Raise your voice for the 27 million enslaved today. #EndItMovement”

I’m all about it, I am. Human trafficking is a heartbreaking, despicable thing that we can’t ignore. We should raise awareness everyday because EVERY DAY human beings (just like you, me, your best friend and your little brother) are trafficked for all kinds of reasons: sex, forced labor, forced marriage, child labor, international adoption (yes, really), organ harvesting, and more.

But today, perhaps for the very first time since this whole #EndItMovement began, today I wept as I scrolled past all the marked hands on Instagram and Facebook. Because it’s not that easy anymore. It used to be easy to do my part, to post my picture and to tell people about it who asked…but everything has changed.

Because it’s not just a red X on my hand anymore. That red X was given a face this year, the hashtag replaced by names and stories of harsh realities my red X used to make so easy.

I can’t look at a red X without seeing Geralyn on the streets in Dublin.

I can’t see “#EndItMovement” without hearing the voices of the Jaz home girls.

I can’t scroll through my feed today without scrolling through the memories of girls being sold to Western tourists for the night right in front of my eyes.

I can’t watch video montages of statistics without remembering the pain & desperation in the eyes of the children we sent away from our tables multiple times a night without money to take back to their boss.

And they are why this has to be more than writing on your hand, more than a hashtag.

A hashtag in itself is not a movement. A movement has to move, to live & breathe outside of your instagram and twitter posts. A hashtag promotes a movement, a hashtag gets people talking, but that talking HAS to get us moving. For Geralyn. For the girls in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. For the children in Cambodia and Vietnam. For the coffee bean harvesters “working off a loan” that has plagued their family for generations. For the men and women in sweatshops making the clothing you’re currently lounging around the house in.

So how do you make it more than a hashtag? How do you make that red X on your hand sink into a permanent red X on your heart? Not everyone can go and stare it in the face to confront it. So what do we do? How are we to live? Here’s a few ideas.

1. Educate yourself.

Most of you who posted pictures today have at least a general idea of the issue of modern day slavery. That’s super & it’s important to keep sharing it. Skip down a few lines if you’d like. For those of you reading this who are saying “modern day slavery, say what?” here are just a few resources.

The A21 Campaign Website
Not For Sale
Nefarious Documentary

Those of you who know stats, educate yourself more. 
Go here to find out how many slaves work for you. The survey takes you through your home, your food consumption, your jewelry and your clothing to come up with the number.

45 is my number by the way. It makes me want to throw up.

2. Change the way you shop.

Check out free2work.org to see how your favorite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. You might be surprised. Do some research into fair trade & ethical shopping – here’s a great blog to get you started. Commit to a lifestyle of less. Every time you buy something, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. “If we continue to spend money on things that are produced by forced labor, we are devaluing our brothers and sisters and saying that our saved pennies are more important than their spent lives.” ~ Elizabeth Bricknell

3. Put your money where your hashtag is.

There are organizations who literally rescue people every day from trafficking, counsel and rehabilitate them. There are organizations who provide a way out to girls who see no way out, giving them a job and a safe place to live. You know what they need on top of your hashtag? Your dollars. Rescue operations and rehabilitation programs are expensive. Here are just a few organizations I love. Check these out or do some searching on your own to find something you connect with.

Lighthouse in Action- Thailand
Wellspring Living – Atlanta, GA
A21 Campaign – Worldwide

Modern day slavery isn’t something you can remember for a day and then choose to be ignorant of for the other 364 days of your life. Scripture compels us to educate ourselves and to do something. God’s heart is breaking at the thought of His children, those he made in His image, living in bondage.

And last but certainly, certainly not least – 100,000 years from now it will not matter if a woman running a sewing machine in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is rescued if she is not offered the spiritual freedom only Jesus can give. Jesus is the only one who can set them truly free, and He has set us apart to deliver this message of hope.

So as you shine a light on slavery, don’t forget that what these precious souls – from your neighbor enslaved to her insecurity to the teenager in a foreign country enslaved to a pimp – need deepest is the light of Jesus, the light that you carry inside of you.