Reading Acts

In June 2004, I moved to the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts from the South West coast of California. I knew one person who was living there at the time and I did not know her well. Jamie had been in the area less than a year herself. We had met at a mutual friend’s house only 6 months earlier. As is the case with any move, I was feeling a bit homesick those first few months in my new state.  

I remember whining to Jamie about my feelings of loneliness and about how I didn’t know what to do with so much time on my hands. And I did have a lot of free time. I went from socialite, party hopper in California to loner in a state where the people had quirky accents and who frowned upon SUV’s, which of course I drove. I was feeling like an outsider for the first time in my life.  
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Slavery in America: Prostitutes or Slaves?

When I first began writing about slavery in America, I identified the different types of slavery that exist today. In posts past, I have talked a bit about domestic slavery, bonded labor slavery, I've brought attention to some organizations who are combating slavery today and I have mentioned just briefly what the Bible has to say about injustice and slavery. There is however, a component to modern day slavery that I have been somewhat hesitant to write on. Hesitant because I am really unqualified to speak about it intelligently and because it's an area where there remains in debate.

By the title of this blog you know I am talking about the sexual exploitation of children happening in America that unfortunately makes up a vast majority of the prostitution in our city streets. 

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Not For Sale: A Book Review

I am not for sale
You are not for sale
No one should be for sale

These are the final words found in the book Not For Sale. Author David Batstone takes the readers on a journey around the world as he unveils the reality of slavery on 5 continents.

Batstone successfully communicated the massive and global crisis of the modern day slave trade while at the same time, narrowing it down into the lives of individuals; both those who are slavery survivors and those who have dedicated their lives to the rescue of slaves.

Batstone tells the story of Srey Neang, a Cambodian girl who was sold into sex slavery and eventually rescued by Swiss born Pierre Tami. And then there is Maya and her husband Ajay, one of five couples who were deceived into forced bondage labor in Southeast Asia. Batstone continues with stories of children solders under the wicked power of rebel leader Joseph Kony. He also tells the stories of a World Vision refugee camp that is home to thousands of ex-child solders and sex slaves. He then moves on to South America where he unearths the problem of thousands of children who find themselves on the streets of Lima, Peru and in the most vulnerable state, making it far too easy for perpetrators to snatch them up.
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The Importance of the Rule of Law

The May/June 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs – one of the world’s most respected and widely read international policy journals – features an article co-authored by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros, an IJM-friend and Federal Prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The article, entitled “And Justice for All: Enforcing Human Rights for the World’s Poor,” is dedicated to discussing IJM’s “collaborative casework” model – working with local law enforcement to enhance public justice systems – and is supported by powerful casework examples.

The article is available for purchase on the Foreign Affairs website and is really helpful in understanding the importance of the rule of law when it comes to ending slavery. Here is a summary of the article:

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Beautiful Slave: Free Music Download by Take No Glory

One of my most favorite aspects to knowing God is the realization that each and every person he created is designed with unique gifts and passions. As I've met people along my journey to abolish slavery today, I've heard the stories of those who are also combating slavery and those who are survivors of it. Every person has responded differently to hearing about this massive issue. Some have started organizations and businesses to help. Others have writen books. Still, others have spoken out at forums or conferences on the issue. Take No Glory responded with song. Take No Glory calls themselves Muscianaries. Their desire is to bless people with their music, all of which is free for download on their website. 

They have a number of great songs. The song, Beautiful Slave was written after one of the musicians read an IJM article about the modern day issues with sex trafficking in our world today.  Check out this video to hear the lyricist talk about why she wrote the song. 

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Catalyst Comes to a Close

What do you get when you bring together gum walls, skinny jeans, confetti, creepy mustache's on twenty-something’s, poetry, comedy, rock music, hipsters, rap music, any and all music really, Tenley from last seasons The Bachelor, time travel, 6 roach coaches and powerful speakers like Eugene Cho, Kay Warren, Mark Driscoll, Wes Stafford and Donald Miller, just to name a few?

Catalyst West Coast.

The two-day leadership conference came to a close yesterday afternoon as Andy Stanley taught leadership to the 3400 leaders present. He made comment like, "As leaders, you should be making as few decisions as possible" and "Only do what you can do." He also said "Leadership is about getting things done through other people."

Earlier in the day, Wess Stafford of Compassion International said, "I'm convinced the prayer of a child in poverty or in abuse is the most powerful force." Just before making that statement, he said something that really struck me. He said, "We may not be committing the sin of endangering a child, but we are committing the sin of omission by allowing a child to be endangered."

Erwin McManus talked about how Solomon got it wrong when he said "there is nothing new under the sun." Erwin said "God created us for originality; not just effectiveness. Everything God does is new. He is constantly creating the new. Only in the new do we find the beautiful. Live lives of story and meaning and create new beauty."

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What motivates Gary Haugen?

Friday morning at Catalyst West, and Donald Miller is interviewing Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I recently interviewed Lauren Johnson at the IJM headquarters in Washington, DC human trafficking.

Anyway, here at Catalyst West, Miller had just said, "What you do dictates the way people live," and then he asked Haugen what motivates him. Here's what he said:

if I don't get up and do what I do, a little girl will be forced into prostitution.

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From Catalyst: God Wants Your Effort

Awesome quotes to motivate God's people as they work as part of the body of Christ in the world.

Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, and the co-founder of Catalyst, said:

If you've been at this church for more than a year, and you're not serving, then you need to leave.

Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, a leader in the spiritual formation movement, said:

The Kingdom of God is God in action. Grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning.

 

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, said: Love God, don't use Him. 

Slavery in America: Some Helpful Websites

When I first began writing about human trafficking and modern day slavery back in January, I expected to be done with the series after about a month, maybe two. Yet here we are a few months later and I am still uncovering more information from this multi-layered, international issue. Although I've provided links to a number of organizations throughout the series, I thought it might be helpful to list some of them here in one blog. These are not in any particular order and I've simply included the mission or vision statement of each site.

Just One is a non-profit organization that was formed to stimulate greater global awareness about extreme poverty, and to provoke compassionate ideas and intelligent giving in order to provide sustainable relief. We are a collective voice for the victims of social injustice––the one(s) living in geographical and situational poverty; the one(s) orphaned through death, disease and desertion; the one(s) trafficked into slavery throughout the world.

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Kevin Bales: A Modern Day Slavery Expert

They call him an expert. He’s considered to be the most knowledgeable person on modern day slavery. His name is Kevin Bales. Kevin is a professor, an author, a speaker and President of the anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves. I had the privilege of hearing Kevin speak briefly at an Award Ceremony last fall that Free the Slaves hosted. The awards were given to survivors of modern day slavery. It was an unforgettable celebration of life and freedom.

Modern day slavery, or human trafficking, is such a disturbing issue of our day. I’ve found it helpful to really learn from those who have dedicated their lives to making it end. England had William Wilberforce. Today we have people like Kevin Bales, Gary Haugen and the countless others whose names we will probably never know who are working on the front lines to combat this evil.  
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About
I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.


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