Did You Get What You Wanted for Christmas?

Present

Present (Photo credit: ejorpin)

All I wanted for Christmas this year was to stop doing nothing about the condition of the world, to be more like Jesus in the exact way he calls his followers to be – light.

After calling himself the light of the world, Jesus passed the mantle. WE are now the light of the world and WE are meant to shine like a city on a hill. It’s so simple, but I have sipped countless lattes with my smart, beautiful friends discussing hunger and poverty and slavery and AIDS, fixing our hopes on some opaque redemptive body and wringing our hands.

But Jesus Christ did not ruminate over why the Jewish mental health system failed the demon-possessed man. He just stopped what he was doing and healed him.

So a month ago, I began raising money for The Exodus Road, a coalition of covert investigators rescuing child sex slaves out of SE Asian brothels.

By Christmas day, 18 people, from my parents, to friends, to complete strangers had contributed $1000 of our $1400 goal. That means all of us are engaging the problem of sexual slavery, not just talking about it. We are advancing an army of light, which the darkness cannot suffer. We have done as Proverbs 31:8 says:

Open your mouth for the dumb, for the cause of all who are left desolate.

And yet many people still gaze at all the sticky, black tar fouling the earth and say, “It’s too big, too dark. God can’t possibly be here.”

But He is and here’s how I know:

Careful readers will note we fell short of our $1400 goal. I did the best I could by my deadline and handed the rest over to God.

Yesterday, a couple I don’t know in Minnesota donated the last $400 – our biggest single donation.

candles

candles (Photo credit: rogerglenn)

They gave on behalf of Urban Servant, a blog written by my childhood friend Dorothy, who has adopted nine of her eleven children, many of whom were damaged in utero by booze. If there were no Dorothy, there would be nine more needy, little people dropping through the system like metal balls in a game of mousetrap.

But there is a Dorothy and she is a beacon. This woman has 13 mouths to feed thrice daily, yet she made time to blog about us in such a compelling way, people I don’t know made a sizable gift in her name.

This is how God works. After we agree to serve Him, He uses us like melodies in other people’s songs.

When we get less selfish with our time, our money and our hands, when we accept that we don’t know what we’re doing and may mess things up, when we engage one another in sometimes slow and inefficient ways, that’s when the light shines through us and people can see it. Then the world is a little less dark.

I’m grateful for all of you. Happy New Year.

How To Free A Sex Slave. Part 1

This is the story of a real 15-year-old girl, sold into sexual slavery in SE Asia. Part one, today, is about her. Part two, tomorrow, is about the coalition of investigators, NGO’s, and volunteers working through The Exodus Road to free her and eight others.

We have raised more than 30% of our $1400 goal to fund a brothel raid. Thank you! We have exactly two weeks left. I know every charity in the world is asking for money right now, but if it moves you that there are more slaves now than at any other time in human history, jump in with a ten, twenty or a hundred and become a part of the solution.

We met Sarah in a brothel in Cambodia.

There was a line of prostitutes behind a glass wall, a fishbowl they call it. They were sitting on high bar stools, with heavy make-up and short skirts, numbers pinned to their shoulders, displayed for the customers on the other side of the glass.

And then, they brought in Sarah. She was “fresh,” the pimp had told our lead investigator over the phone. Sarah was dressed in street clothes, head down, hands fiddling nervously with a napkin. She was 15 and had been sold by her mother in a neighboring country several days before to work off a debt which her mother owed. Sarah’s virginity had been sold three days prior for $600 USD.

Sarah could not speak the local language, was kept under close watch daily, and had no access to a cell phone or any communication from the outside world. She had been slipped illegally across borders by a system of traffickers that has become a global highway of modern day slaves.

With covert cameras, our investigators were able to record the sale of Sarah for the night, capturing valuable evidence that could be passed on to the trusted authorities in hopes of the pimp’s prosecution. Later, behind a closed door, our operative was able to call a social worker who spoke Sarah’s language. He explained that he was there to help her, not to hurt her, and that he could aid her escape if she wanted. Unfortunately, Sarah was too scared to run, too scared to trust a stranger, understandably.

The following day, our investigator returned to visit Sarah in the brothel, just blocks away from a crowded local market. She scribbled a note, “Please Rescue Me,” on a bill and slipped it to him.

She wanted out, but didn’t know the way.

Immediately, our investigator gave his testimony and video evidence to the authorities and asked the government to conduct a raid on Sarah’s behalf. It was believed that 10 or more girls were also being held against their wills at the same brothel where we found Sarah.

Want to find out what happened? Donate $20 to the non-profit Exodus Road and tune in tomorrow.