Welcome to our weekly service Thursday! This week’s challenge is a little different than our usual service challenges. Rather than serving on our own communities, this week we’re going to look into our hearts. We’re going to think about things that hurt. And then together, we’re going to do something big…

Slavery.

There aren’t many words that pain me more deeply than this one.

From the time I was very young, the idea of slavery hurt my heart (as I’m sure it did yours). As a child, the idea of a complete lack of liberty was beyond what I could comprehend, but the more obvious horrors of slavery – the idea that someone could whip you, let their dogs attack you, even kill you – were almost more than my child heart could bear.

And as I grew older, other things horrified me even more. Stories of husbands and wives being ripped apart. Children taken from their homes and sold, never to be heard of again. People being raped (or bred) with no recourse. People denied freedom, and rights, and an education, and property, and paychecks, and a future.

As a teenager I would read historical fiction novels, and a tiny part of my heart wished that I could go back in time so I could help, and fight, and serve. I wanted to be a part of the Underground Railroad. I wanted to teach freed slaves to read. I wanted to help mothers to find their lost children.

But then I would think about the cruelties of slavery and I would change my mind. I realized that even if I could, I wasn’t brave enough to travel back in time – it would be too heartbreaking. I would put the book down, look around my peaceful home, and count my blessings. I was SO grateful to be living in this day and age, where there is no more slavery.

Guess what?

I WAS WRONG.

It’s so easy to forget, and frankly, I WANT to forget. Oh, I desperately want to forget that there are families that are being ripped apart. I want to forget that there are people whose liberties have been taken from them. And a part of me would love to go back to the time when I didn’t realize that all over the world, children are being taken and sold as sex slaves. Parents are crying themselves to sleep, wondering if they’ll see their children again. Children are waking up every morning to a living hell.

I just did what was perhaps the most painful internet search I’ve ever done. “How many children are sold into slavery”. Oh, how my heart broke even typing those words. And the answer, from Force for Compassion … “Are you aware that 3,287 people are sold or kidnapped and forced into slavery every day? Not many people are. That’s 136 an hour and that’s just the reported cases. Are you aware that most of these are children and most of them are sold repeatedly for sex? Again, it’s a little known fact but it’s real and it’s happening all around us — even here in the US.”

I don’t want to think about it.

I don’t want to think about it!

But guess what? Whether I think about it or not, IT IS HAPPENING.

Ignoring it might make us feel better. But IT IS STILL HAPPENING.

So I’ve made a choice. I’m not going to ignore it any more.

I’m going to fight.

And I want you to fight with me.

There is a group called Operation Underground Railroad. These brave men and women are fighting, and they’re doing what few have the courage to do. They’re going in and rescuing children who are caught up in sex trafficking rings. These rescuers are putting their lives on the line and they’re going to hell on earth. And they’re succeeding. They’re saving children.

And I’m going to help.

Will you help, too?

As I’m sure you can imagine, these rescue operations are incredibly expensive. It costs $20,000 on average. A mission can end up rescuing anywhere from 1-50 children.

$20,000, and only one child might be rescued. That seems like a lot of money.

Unless it was my child.

So what if it was my child? What if it was YOUR child?

$20,000 would mean absolutely nothing to you. You would empty your bank account and sell everything you owned. You would work until your fingers bled. You would beg and plead and grovel and do whatever you needed to do to rescue your child.

No, it’s not your child, and it’s not my child. My children are safe. As I write this, they’re at school, playing and learning. They’ll come home, get a snack, do homework. We’ll play a game, we’ll eat dinner, they’ll take a bath. I’ll cuddle and kiss them, I’ll read them a bedtime story, I’ll pray with them and, later, I’ll pray over their little sleeping bodies. Tomorrow morning they’ll put on their clean clothes, eat a filling breakfast, hop into my safe car, and we’ll go to school.

My children are not lost. My children have not been taken.

But these child sex slaves … they are somene’s children.

And … they are CHILDREN.

We are Abolitionists

Today, I am starting a fundraiser. I do so with hesitancy – I know that for many people, money is tight. I know that there are many opportunities to do good in the world, and for the most part, I want to encourage you to do small acts of service in your own communities. I don’t want you to feel like this is a website that is always asking for money or making you feel guilty.

But this is different.

These are children. And I’m ready to fight for them.

So here’s my goal … as a “Let’s Do Some Good Today” community, I’d like us to come up with $2000. This might seem like a lot of money to you, or it might seem like nothing. But whatever your financial situation is, I ask you to look in your heart and see if you have anything you can give. Because your $5 might not make a huge difference, and mine might not. But yours and mine together … that’s $10. And if you invite a friend, or if your employer matches your donation … that makes $15. And maybe your kids can earn a dollar, and maybe mine can. Perhaps you can do a bake sale or work some overtime or skip a fast food lunch. And suddenly … our dollars become a big deal.

Do you know what those dollars can mean?

They can mean freedom.

They can mean that we are abolitionists.

Please join me.

If you’d like to learn more about the work of Operation Underground Railroad, you can visit their website here. And to join in the Let’s Do Some Good Today fundraiser, you can click here. You can donate as little as a dollar, or as much as you feel led to give. All donations are tax deductible. Thank you so much for joining with me. We are abolitionists!

24 Comments on Operation Underground Railroad

  1. I recently read Sue Monk Kidd’s book “The Invention of Wings” and I felt the same upset and shame over that part of our history- slavery. And then I pushed it aside but the goosebumps and tears returned as I read your thoughts – I can’t call it a blog. I made a promise to stay away from politics, causes, stands, etc in social media and if this had come in my mail, I would respond. So I tweeted this, & posted to Pinterest & G+ & will add my $18, which is life in Judaism to your campaign. God bless you for taking this action. You pulled me out of my comfort zone and reminded me of all the times I wanted to do something and didn’t.

    • Roslyn, I can’t tell you how much your words have touched my heart. Thank you SO much for your support, for sharing, and for your $18. I am so grateful for your encouragement.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Kathryn! So many people don’t even realize that this is such an issue – or more importantly, that there’s anything that can be done. By advocating, you’re allowing others to help! Keep praying – these brave rescuers need all of the help they can get. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  2. You and I have such similar sensibilities and I imagine you too are a highly sensitive person. Any injustice weighs heavy on my heart and only through speaking up and refusing to accept it as the norm, or impossible to change, can we actually make a change. A dear friend of mine has worked with a wonderful organization called the Ratanak International who rescue young Cambodian girls from a life of prostitution and “slavery”. And to think my hero Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery so many years ago, yet it still exists in new forms in new ways.

    • Thanks for telling me about Ratanak International! I “liked” them on Facebook and I’m excited to read about the work they’re doing. And I agree – it’s hard to speak up sometimes, but we HAVE to speak up if we want to make a change!

  3. What an intriguing article… I had no idea that so many people were still being sold into slavery. Thank you so much for sharing and bringing this to light!

      • It is a sad part of life that even today, slavery exists in the form of human trafficking and there is a need for us at the grass root level to raise awareness. I was wondering, have you considered participating in the Blog Action Day global blogging? It is held every year on October 16th and there is a theme each year. You would find much support and an opportunity to raise awareness of your initiative to a wider audience and who knows, more support for your efforts.

        I participate with a post every year and have met some amazing individuals. Here is the link http://blogactionday.org

  4. A very thought provoking article. Sadly slavery is present across the world in many forms. It is often a discussion here in Kuwait because of the employment and working conditions of many maids. There are often upsetting stories reported of the desperate lengths women have gone to in their attempts to escape their employers.
    I shall keep your endeavour in my thoughts and prayers. I sincerely hope you reach your target. With the passion you have I am sure you will not only reach it but exceed it.

  5. I think about this blog often since coming across it. You inspire me. There is an expression I like: Are you on the court or in the stands?” Yu are helping us get up out of the stands and onto the court.

    • That compliment has made my day, Roslyn. Thank you so much! I have had a challenging few years with a lot of health problems. There’s been a lot of time in the stands. It’s hard to get onto the court – but I am much, much happier here. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Glad to be on your team. 🙂

  6. This is amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to educate and inform us about Operation Underground Railroad! Thank you for stepping out on faith to start your fundraiser – I’m clicking over to give now : )

  7. Kimber, this breaks my heart and for years I’ve tried to turn away and not think about it. Then, on Friday my 13-year old daughter came home from school devastated because she learned about human trafficking for the first time. She couldn’t believe that such evil acts occurred in our world. I cried for her loss of innocence, but it pales in comparison to the loss of innocence experienced by thousands of children each day. While we were still processing all of this, our church prayed diligently on Sunday for an organization that was trying to rescue 104 girls during the Super Bowl. They had specifically identified 104 girls who would be sold for sex during the Super Bowl. And this is just one organization. How many others were working towards the same cause? It made me sick to my stomach. Now, two days later I’m reading your post and I just can’t keep turning away. I can’t give much, but I’ll give what I can and I won’t let it stop there. I won’t look for a moment and then shut my eyes again. Thank you for taking a stand, Kimber, and for giving us a way to stand with you.

    • Your comment brought tears to my eyes, Tarissa. Thank you for echoing the feelings of my heart! It is HARD to choose not to close our eyes any more, but it’s easier to know that others are taking a stand with us. My little bit of help and your little bit of help, together, can make a huge difference.