Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 6: Mercy29

My parents met several amazing people while they were in Africa this summer. One of them was Lyle Philips, the founder of Mercy29, a faith-based organization that serves the poor and the needy in Africa and India! One of their desires is to see child slaves set free from bondage, and the Lord is blessing them immensely with that ministry!

Since the topic of human trafficking can be a pretty discouraging and sad deal, I wanted to make sure that I let you all share in the joy of hearing about some fruit from Mercy29's ministry. This video is actually from a while back, but good news never stops being good news! And they are still working to get more of these children out of slavery. Continue praying for Mercy29 and the children they are loving on! Hope you're having a wonderful week!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 5ish: Love146 Overview

Love146 is the organization that I'm raising funds for right now through the Tread On Trafficking campaign. This video just explains a little more about exactly what they do. I'm so in love with their ministry!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 4: You ARE Called

I don't have a lot of time to write a long post, because I'm about to leave for Tulsa to go with my sweet friend Rachel to try on wedding dresses :)!! So excited for her and Jordan! But there's something that has been on my heart recently that I just wanted to share really quickly.

Everyone who I've talked to about my passion for putting an end to human trafficking has been so, so supportive. When I started my Tread On Trafficking campaign for Love146, you all doubled the goal of $500 I had set in less than 48 hours. That blessed me more than you know! And I know it is going to have a huge impact on the children at the Love146 home and those who are still in slavery. For those of you who aren't sure what I'm talking about, here is the link to the Love146 page (please take a look at this if you haven't already) and to my donation page.

In addition to a lot of support and encouragement, the main response I have gotten from people is, "I think it is really neat that the Lord has called you to that. It's not my calling, though." I can definitely appreciate that everyone has different passions and purposes. That's what makes us the body of Christ.
But I have a hard time believing that anyone is not called to this cause in any way at all. One of my favorite passages in scripture is Isaiah 58, mostly because that's the chapter that the Lord used to confirm all three of my younger siblings adoptions. Now it has even more meaning to me, though.

"Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: 
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and remove the chains that bind them?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to give home to the orphan-
when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away fro your own flesh and blood?"
Isaiah 58:6-7

Setting the oppressed free and loosing the chains of injustice is something we have ALL been called to. There are an estimated 27 MILLION people in slavery in our world today, half of whom are children!! Even if you are called to simply support through your finances or you decided to take on the super important role of praying for the organizations who are actively involved in setting these people free, find a way to get involved. You don't have to quit your job and move overseas to be a part of ending human trafficking...but you do have to do something.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 3: Free2Work

We finally have our Mac working again!! I'm so sorry for not posting for the last week. Hopefully I'll be able to be more consistent from here on out. So back to the grind...

A few months ago my mom asked me to go pick out a baby gift for someone. I know that she was secretly hoping that if I spent 30-minutes in the baby department, I would maybe start getting baby totally worked, but only for about 2 minutes until I heard a screaming child at the other end of the store. So. Not. Ready. Anyways, after I called Dan to make sure we were on the same page about not having kids for a long time, I got back to shopping with no sentimental attachment towards anything tiny. (I promise this story has a point). I ended up picking out a couple of cute little sundresses. And as the cashier put those tiny little clothes into a bag and I swiped my debit card, I unconsciously condoned the slave labor of thousands of little children. I don't know about you, but there are few things that bring innocence to mind more than baby clothes...I mean if monkeys in tutus and smiling cupcakes don't scream "care-free," I don't know what does. Maybe that's why no one suspects Carter's to be a company that condones slave labor. And they can get away with it simply because of the ignorance of their consumers, like me.

The Not For Sale campaign has organized a really simple system to inform consumers about the ethics behind the products they are purchasing. Here is a short 1-minute video explaining the issue a little further.

So here's the challenge. Get on your Iphone (unless you're like me and still don't have one, then just go to the website and you can find this here). Go to the App Store, and type in Free2work. You'll find several companies listed. Each one has been given a "grade" based on how well they have addressed forced and child labor. The irony of this challenge is that Apple actually received a "C"...not so great, Steve.

Look around your house and see what companies you've been supporting that maybe you don't want to support anymore. If we took a stand, these companies would have to make a change. There are going to be some that hurt, though. I'm probably going to have to write a whole post about the chocolate companies, because that's one product that I can't do without. Hershey's got a D+...really?? You're killing me!!

I know that it is unrealistic to ask everyone to completely stop purchasing anything from any of these companies (or is it?), but if we could even just make ourselves more aware of where our products are coming from we might be able to make a difference. Next time you're at the store, pull this app up and make sure you aren't supporting slave labor. Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wah Wah

Sorry, our comp is down! That's why I haven't been posting the last few days. It's too hard to write a long post with the Itouch, but once I get the Mac back I'll catch up! Hope you're having a joyful weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 2: Human Trafficking in the US

This is an interview with David Batstone, the author of Not For Sale, a book about the reality of human trafficking. It's only like 10 minutes long, so if you get a chance, watch it real quick. Not For Sale is one of the organizations I will mention on here probably pretty frequently, because they have found some simple ways for people to play a role in ensuring that slavery does not keep happening in our country. You'll be surprised exactly which companies we all support that are willingly selling products made from slave labor. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 1: All Things New

I thought it would be appropriate to start the first day off talking about a ministry that is near and dear to my heart right here in OKC.

I mentioned that it was last summer when the Lord really starting tugging at my heart about the issue of sex trafficking. For the first few months that I researched it, I felt completely helpless and really discouraged. I had spent hours reading statistics and looking up areas in the world that were most affected...turns out there isn't anywhere that's not affected by human trafficking, in case you were wondering.

At the time, Dan and I were living in Arkansas, and, even though I was so determined to play a role in ministering to these women and children, I was convinced that it was a ministry that Lord was preparing me to do several years down the road when we hopefully move overseas to work with my parents. I  didn't think that I would be able to get involved any time soon. That all changed when we moved to Oklahoma City.

I don't think it's coincidence that God moved us to a city with one of the highest rates of sex trafficking in the country. Because so many major highways merge in OKC, there is an extremely high rate of trafficking just miles from our home. Some people refer to OKC as the "crossroads for sex-trafficking" in the US. Dan and I have even been at a gas station/ truck stop where we've seen some of it going on's completely devastating.

Not too long after we moved here, I found out about an organization called All Things New in OKC. All Things New is a faith-based organization that "offers an unprecedented safe haven and rehabilitation for women and children who are victims of sex trafficking." I sent in my application thinking that I could maybe serve on the prayer team or do a couple hours of office work for them each week. As usual, God's plans were much bigger than mine!

A couple weeks after becoming an official volunteer, I emailed one of the directors to let her know that I was available to help any morning they might need me. Still thinking she would have me organize files or just shoot me a list of prayer requests, I was completely shocked when she asked me if I would be interested in doing one-on-one ministry with the women at the safe house! I had only been to one meeting, had zero actual experience, and no naturally I said "Sure, I'd love to!".

Let me reiterate that I am as unqualified as they come for this job when I'm standing in my own power. The first time I walked up to the door my hands were literally shaking, because I had no idea what to expect. If I hadn't been bathed in prayer by other women volunteering with All Things New and my friends and family, and if the Lord hadn't showered me with grace and mercy the entire I was there, I would have probably run out in the first 10 minutes. I obviously can't share a lot about my experience for privacy purposes. The main reason I shared this, though, is because:

1) I live in OKLAHOMA, not India, not Africa...Oklahoma. And there isn't a safe house big enough to hold the women and children in this state who have been victims of sex trafficking and need ministry. It is so much closer to you than you probably realize. In fact, "In 2009 the State Department reportat that the US is now the #1 destination for child sex trafficking in the world." Yes, you read that right!! And one of the main reasons it continues to happen is because most of us are completely unaware that it is even a problem. Tomorrow I'm going to post a video on here that shares some tips on identifying trafficking situations in your neighborhood.

2). I know a lot of you are prayer warriors, and I have witnessed first-hand the unmeasurable power that prayer has had on this ministry. Please pray for continued favor on All Things New and the men and women that the Lord has called to be a part of this organization. God has given everyone a lot of vision for what is to come with ATN, but like every ministry, it's only as effective as the prayers behind it.

Here is a link to their website. You should check it out if you have time. It is such a wonderful ministry!

3). When I started sharing with some of you about my passion to help these women and children, I was so encouraged by the number of people who have felt a similar calling. I just wanted to encourage you to look into some of the ministries that might be right in your are that you could get involved in. I was amazed at how many options there were to get involved with once I started doing a little research. I'll try to post some more ministry options in OK and TX in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you all again! I have been overwhelmed by all of the support I have received for the Love146 campaign!! You guys are amazing!! Have a wonderful night!