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…
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.
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.
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!