Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet the Rescued

Take a moment to pray for Ecuador and the girls and boys who are trapped in the sex trafficking here. This last semester my small group got a chance to serve those who have not known what true love is. One of the verses we studied is the following. Now WAIT> I know the tendency is to skip the verse and move on- (why do i know that? because I tend to do that. yes. and I want to make a commitment with you now NOT to skip over the most important Word we could hear today!) I encourage you to read every word of it... SLOWLY. What is God trying to tell you through a part of his word Today? James 1:22-27 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." The point of my small group is not just to learn about oppression and injustice but to actually DO something about it in the immediate world around us. Action locally: We did a cookout for the girls who are rescued from the brothels here in Quito. My small group girls served like crazy and loved on these girls who many of them were younger than them or their same age. There were 2 new babies born from girls who were around 16 years old. My small group girls held their babies so the moms could play a game. Action globally: We spoke to our school during chapel about Human trafficking facts around the world and here in Ecuador. Out of that we promoted an action for our whole school to join us in. We did the "loose change to loosen chains" campaign that International Justice Mission puts on. We raised $250 in coins which covers the cost of six days of aftercare for a victim. I was very proud of our students who stepped out and gave beyond cents to dollar amounts from their heart. Ecuador is a source, transit, and destination of sex trafficking. Over Half the women in Latin America are Victims. 33% of sexual exploited girls have it happen to them by the time they reach 16. It is most prevalent along the coast but girls and boys are taken from various cities to the coast. If YOU are interested in learning more about sex trafficking read the following book and go to the following websites: “Not For Sale” book by David Batstone. The most recent website I have come across is: • International Justice Mission (IJM) • Anti-Slavery international • Bal Vikas Ashram • Children of the Night • Churches Alert to sex trafficking Across Europe (CHASTE) • Coalition Against Trafficking in Women • Coalition of Immokalee Workers • Coalition to abolish slavery and trafficking • Development and education program for Daughters and communities • Florida coalition against Human Trafficking (FCAHT) • La Strada International • Polaris Project • Protection Project • Rugmark • Salvation Army • Sojourners • Standing Against Global Exploitation • Stop the Traffik • Tiny Stars • World Vision The mission Organization Loren and I are apart of is called International Teams. One of IT's many focuses is about human trafficking. Go to their website for more information: The IT End Slavery in TN has put together this website: If you live in TN this would be a great place to volunteer! My friend Julie is the coordinator of End Slavery Ministries with IT in Michigan. If you are near that area to volunteer or want to pray for what they are doing visit: Our friends Jonathan and Juliet Stuck, End Slavery Thailand team members, are raising support so they may return to Thailand and do important prevention work in rural villages. Pray for them that they can raise all their funds. IT has two other End Slavery locations: Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where they are currently recruiting for team leaders to develop an End Slavery team focused on prevention and education. If you or someone you know is interested in this team, you can fill out a 5 minute interview for them at this website: May God give you a heart to heal those oppressed around you. May you have a holy passion that makes you want to get out and make a difference.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is God enough?

I would like to share with you guys a piece of my journal that displays some of what I have been learning (how slowly I learn! Forgive me God!). "We make Gods' gifts to us our gods. -Husband, child, family- Many times I 'worship' these way more than my God who gave these gifts to me. -Brains, Talent, Work, Ministry- We view these things as 'ours!' How twisted our minds are- they are gifts from the ultimate brainiac & talented One! -Food, home, time- We take advantage and for granted the fact that we have food, a house, and are living. We think those are things we need. All we truly need is God Almighty- the giver of these unlimited gifts." Do we have a yearning for God? What is the one thing you long for with all your heart? Is it God? Or is it simply a gift given by God? "Give me a man in love; he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in the desert. who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the eternal country. Give me that sort of man; he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just does not know what I am talking about." -Augustine 1,500+ years ago. Do we long for God like a man in love or deeply thirsty or extremely hungry? God has blessed us with a great home. Look at the great view we have of the city! We are amazed at his provision. Late Merry Christmas!! We made red and green pancakes for breakfast!! Loren started putting on his stockings after he got all the goodies out of them! Christmas break was a great time for us to spend quality time with each other and our Lord. For New Years Loren and I went to the beach!! It was beautiful and a very relaxing time to re-focus. Hollands new years: Imagine sitting on the beach at night with a giant fire in front of you, not to keep warm, just to make smores and for some light. In the background you see the ocean and hear the waves crashing in. Look up and down the beach and you watch the display of many fireworks. And the not so pleasant part: Loud techno music blasting from next door. When I say loud I don't know if you understand... I'm talking about so loud it is hard to hear the waves of the ocean although your sitting right by it... so loud that you have to lean in to hear the person next to you talking if they are using a normal voice volume. And did I mention repetitive? It is not only the same beat but when the music has lyrics it is the same line over and over and over again... That is how Ecuador likes their new years. Loud music and lots of fireworks. We stayed at this house right on the beach where other missionary families joined us. One night we had a Cajun Shrimp Broil. We ate it right on the table on top of newspaper!! It was so good! Once the clock hit 12 we celebrated then went to bed. Let me re-phrase that... tried to go to bed. The music did not die down 'till 3 in the morning!! We wished we had ear plugs! We had a time of reflection when we were by the fire and Loren and I realized it was a hard year. It was hard loosing our baby. Thankfully God is in the business of restoration and He is enough for us through the trials. God is teaching us many things through these last few months. We have learned to focus our attention on the Giver of the good gifts we have here on this earth and not on the gifts themselves! The gifts are momentary but our Lord is eternal!!!