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Posts Tagged ‘rescue’

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Photo from Compassion

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My whole being will exclaim,
    “Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
    the poor and needy from those who rob them.” – Psalms 35:10

A huge hotbed for child slavery is at Lake Volta in Ghana. The Volta reservoir is one of the largest made-made lakes in the world and where many children are forced into hard labor by the local fishermen there. Fishing is the main economy of many of the communities in the surrounding area. Children (as young as 5 years old) are usually deceived into long hours of very dangerous work with no pay. Many are subjected to intense violence from their “masters” if they don’t keep up with the work. They are either abducted by the fishermen or sold by their families to them for little money out of desperation because they are poor. Many are deceived because they are promised a good wage and meals upfront by the men who recruit them. The work is hard because the fishing nets get caught in the dead trees that are all over the lake. These children struggle to bring up the nets or they drown trying to free the nets from the trees. In the Lake Volta region, 1 in 3 children are labourers and more than 20,000 are considered in slavery today.

Prayer IS the work!

Organizations like IJM (International Justice Mission) seek to rescue these children out of slavery. They work in the communities and with the local authorities to detain and arrest the fishermen responsible for taking these children as slaves. They work with the local lawyers to prosecute these men. They provide a safe house for the children that are rescued so they can heal and rehabilitate and eventually be reconnected with their families.

Ways to pray:

  • Pray for peace rehabilitation, healing, hope, strength, and good health for the rescued children of Ghana.
  • Pray that God would lead the right people to apply for the positions available and that those doing the recruiting and hiring would bring the right people on board.
  • Pray for the upcoming conferences that they would lead to changed hearts and repentance with the local fishermen.
  • Pray for IJM and their offices on the lake. Pray for new satellite offices and their presence in the area. Pray that they reach out to regions where children are still trapped in slavery.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – Hebrews 13:3

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CNN Freedom Project recently did a documentary called “Troubled Waters” about the situation at Lake Volta. You can watch it below. (Note – I know there are other reporters out there that say not all the children that work on the lake are in slavery. The point of my post is to raise awareness to the situation and pray about it. Only God knows the details of the situation and will bring justice to where it is needed).

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WE ARE ALL IN IT TO END IT!

Today is Shine a Light on Slavery Day. This is the target day for End it Movement to reach the masses about the 27 million people being held in modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. This movement started in January at Passion 2013 and has made a lot of noise since. Everywhere college students and young adults are finding creative ways to talk about this issue. Many celebrities have jumped on board to use their star status to raise awareness. Awareness is doing the work and End It exists to help educate us about this injustice. We are the generation that can be a voice for those without one and put an end to slavery. Indifference is not an option. Draw a red X on your hand and talk to people about this. Go to EnditMovement.com and sign the pledge that says you are in it to END IT!

 

 

 

 

 

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END IT Sunday!

END IT Sunday!

Times Square IS IN IT TO END IT!

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The campus of Arizona State University is IN IT TO END IT!

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“Awareness is doing the work” – Gary Haugen

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Justice Panel

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Taking Notes

I was pretty stoked for this panel at Passion. This is the part where we learn about what God is doing in the world with all these amazing organizations that are standing up to injustice. Louie Giglio hosted a round-table discussion with several members from ministries out there that are actively raising awareness and rescuing people out of slavery and sex trafficking. The money that is given during Passion 2013 to the Freedom causes will help fund nineteen different organizations that have partnered with Passion.

First up was a mother from Houston, TX with three children who had her world rocked. She went on a van tour with Elijah Rising and saw brothels and other places where sex trafficking goes on in her own backyard. Elijah Rising is an organization that uses a holistic approach to training warriors to stand up for injustice with an emphasis on sex trafficking. After seeing this, she felt the call to stand up to this injustice and is actively involved with a ministry called As Our Own that rescues children out of slavery in India.

Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission – Greg reminded us that this is God’s fight, not ours. We need to pray and talk with Him first before we go out and do His work. If we try to take this evil on ourselves, we will be crushed. He also reminded us of Stand for Freedom on March 5-15, 2013. This is a movement that started on college campuses that is asking us to stand for 27 hours for the 27 million held in modern-day slavery.

Steve Martin of Love146 – It’s all about the Kingdom. All these wonderful organizations are just pieces of the Kingdom. We serve a Big God and there is no end to His resources. Love146 recently opened the Round Home in the Philippines – a safe haven for girls rescued out of sex trafficking where they receive therapy and are eventually reintegrated back into their local communities.

Brad Myles of Polaris Project – Only ten states have “safe harbor” laws (laws that protect people who are victims). We need to write the representatives of the states that don’t have this law. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

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Justin Dillon of Slavery Footprint – How many slaves work for you? There is child and forced labor everywhere. We have to change the marketplace. It’s the supply chain that has enslaved more people than at any time in human history.  Self-discovery and knowledge is so you can raise awareness. Go to the website and find out how many slaves have worked to get you that t-shirt or the beans that make up your cup of joe.

Beth Redman of The A21 Campaign – The A21 Campaign prevents trafficking through awareness and education. Beth represented A21 and talked about a song that her husband Matt Redman wrote to raise awareness for the 27 million people being held in slavery.

Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living – Mary talked about the The White Umbrella Campaign. The White Umbrella tells stories of survivors as well as those who came alongside to help them to recovery. You can also download a 40 Days of Prayer devotion book to pray the names of God over the survivors of sex trafficking.

Bryson Vogeltanz is in charge of the Freedom Causes at Passion. He makes sure that the money that is given at Passion gets to the organizations and that it is used wisely. John Richmond is a federal prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice. He has investigated and prosecuted numerous victim centered labor and sex trafficking cases throughout the United States. He mentioned that evil is real and it is powerful. But light is stronger than darkness.

Mark Wexler of Not for Sale – We need to wake up and the church needs to step up. Why are there 27 million in slavery? Why is human trafficking generating 32 billion in profits? The information is there. He talked about REBBL tonic. REBBL is a tea company started with a vision to end slavery in the Peruvian Amazon. The company employs freed slaves in the Amazon and reinvests proceeds into projects that combat human trafficking. It’s about the way you purchase. If you change the way you purchase, it will change the way they sell. Purchasers will eventually listen.

Leif Coorlim of The CNN Freedom Project – Leif is an editorial director for CNN Freedom Project and produced the documentary that covered Passion 2012 last year. He is currently putting together a film he filmed in the Philippines about sex trafficking called “The Fighters”. Here is the premise:

The Philippines has a problem. Whether for profit or pleasure, many of the young and poor in Asia’s largest English-speaking nation are being exploited in alarming numbers. It’s estimated more than 100,000 children work in the sex trade. For 20 years, Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has fought to protect children from ending up in brothels. And for 20 years, she’s fought an uphill battle to convince others to join her. Recently, Oebanda found new hope in the form of world-champion boxer, Manny Pacquiao. Oebanda believes if Pacquiao, who is also an elected congressman in the Philippines, speaks publicly about human trafficking, it could be the turning point in the battle. It may seem like a simple wish, but for those fighting for a better world, nothing in life comes easy.

72,000 NAMES FOR FREEDOM

Between Passion and International Justice Mission, 72,000 signatures for a sign-on letter were collected and delivered to the White House last year to urge them to end slavery. On the anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation, President Obama gave the longest speech since Abraham Lincoln on the fight to end modern-day slavery.

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END IT MOVEMENT

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Francis Chan

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Before Francis Chan came on, they showed us a powerful video of a girl from the Philippines who was sex trafficked at a very young age and then rescued by Love 146. It was very graphic but very real. But despite the what she went through, it was a message of hope. It was the hope of our redeeming Savior and how He came to rescue us. That girl is doing very well now. And you know what the cool thing was, she was here at Passion with us! It was so awesome to see her smiling face among all of us. What an amazing God story!

Here are my notes from Francis Chan’s talk:

God rescued us and puts that same Spirit and desire in us to rescue others

If you want to experience God, go make disciples. Francis and his team are now in San Francisco going door to door telling people about Jesus. We need to let go of our fears and go on the mission He has us on. He gives us the power we need to do so.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations

Deuteronomy 7:9

God’s promises can be trusted. We can trust the Word of God. What we have a tendency to do is let our lack of trust for people spill into our relationship with God. We like to prepare ourselves for the worse and keep our hearts guarded. We see in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 that Timothy is experiencing fear because his mentor (Paul) is about to die. But Paul writes to him and tells him not to be fearful. Paul isn’t afraid of death because he knows of the joy of living with Christ. Even when we are fearful, God will remain faithful. He can’t deny who He is.

We will always have pressure to the end (Rev 2:10). But if we endure, we will reign with Him (Hebrews 3:14). God fights for us so we don’t have to endure this life on our own (Jeremiah 32:40). But at the same time, if we deny Him, He will deny us (Matthew 10:32-33). We like to trust in the promises of God’s blessings, but not in His promises of His wrath and consequences because of our disobedience (Deuteronomy 7:10). An example of this is Pharoah of Egypt in which God promises His wrath of plagues if he didn’t let His people go.

In Hosea, we see how God asks him to marry a whore as a demonstration to Israel how unfaithful they have been to Him. Hosea ends up buying his wife back even though she leaves him. God wants us back despite our unfaithfulness to Him. He wants to cleanse us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Be like a child and get excited – we can trust His promises! (Revelations 21:1-5)

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Greg Haugen and Louie Giglio

If there is an organization making a difference in the world with the issue of slavery and sex trafficking, it is International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Their vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible. IJM was founded in 1997 and works all over the world. I have been looking forward to this part of Passion all week as they had President Greg Haugen come and speak to us.

Greg spoke to us about how his heart was turned onto justice. In 1994, Rwanda experienced their genocide in which millions of people were murdered in a matter of weeks. The world watched and did nothing. People were asking the question “where was God?” Greg asked the question “where were God’s people?” Here are some key notes from his talk:

The World will know we are His followers if we have outward love for each other

Some facts: 27 million people in the world are being held in slavery. These people are being forced to work all day. In sex trafficking, abused and raped children are being sold. And it is in our own backyard…

We can be the generation that ends slavery. Not because we are awesome, but because we have an awesome God. We need to make the 27 million people in slavery a priority. The world needs to see that God is present and those in slavery need to know that our God is a God that saves.

DO JUSTICE, LOVE MERCY, WALK HUMBLY – MICAH 6:8

What is God’s plan? – WE are the plan (God’s people). He gives us the power.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis – The Four Loves

Christ offers five things to us (because we don’t have a chance to change this on our own)

1. Extravagant compassion – God opens our heart to a hurting world. We wants to transform our hearts of stone to a heart of flesh

2. Moral clarity – Evil is confusing. God gives us His Word to tell right from wrong

3. Sacrificial courage – We will have to see and tell hard things. Jesus grows the courage in our hearts

4. Tenacious hope – We will see more defeats than mercy. God is the ultimate Lord of this world and justice will prevail

5. Refreshing joy – Joy is the oxygen to do hard things. He gives us good things to refresh us to do the hard things

Greg showed this video from the civil rights movement of 1961. I was very moved by it. Jim Zwerg (a white man) and John Lewis (an African-American man) rode these Freedom Ride buses together to fight against segregation. Jim was beaten up for his stance. This video of him in the hospital was recorded right after the attacks. Jim would also go on to say that he meditated on Psalms 27 the night before and that he gained his strength to stand up for justice from his faith. Hundreds would later join the Freedom Ride after this video was shown.

God can do immeasurably more in us

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There are times it feels God isn’t around… yet I know he is there. He is always working in all of us. I guess I can’t expect to see miracles or amazing things everyday. I’m really trying hard these days to look at the big picture. I know I can’t concentrate on just one day and think I can figure out what God is doing. I just go through these times where life is amazing and I see God working. Then I go through times where I wonder where God is. But in the end, the trials I go through seem to always make sense. And he is still working…

I feel pretty focused on God these days. Yet life is a little up and down for me. The past 6 months have been a little crazy for me. Especially with broken  relationships and temptations. But I keep looking to the cross for strength. I especially have spent some quality time reflection on what Christ did for us with Easter being here. I see God doing some cool stuff in my life, yet I still struggle as well. Especially this past couple of weeks with stress. I have been asking God to help me get through this rough period.

Just when I wonder where he is….

God goes and does something amazing and makes me remember that through Him all things are possible….

I work graveyards at a hospital in a laboratory. I usually work with the same four people everynight in my part of the lab. A male and a female in their late 40’s and a female my age. I’ve worked with them for over four years. Just over two years ago I knew nothing of their Chistianity. None of them were going to church. That is when I surrendered my life to Chirst after going through divorce. They were all very supportive and caring during that time for me. And I was open to what God was doing in my life and how he rescued me from that situation. But I didn’t want to overdue it and just tried to be an example in Christ by showing love to them.

The lady in her late 40’s went through her third divorce at the same time I went through mine. She inquired time to time about going to church, but hadn’t gone since a child. Her brother had died suddenly. She was at a point where she was trying to find peace in her life. One day I found out that she had attended my church. She drove by one day and decided to check it out. She fell in love with it. She know goes on a regular basis and even brings her ex-husband. We have many wonderful conversations about God at work.

I have known the girl my age for almost seven years. She spent the first five of those years in an abusive controlling relationship. She had a child with her boyfriend. He never worked. She supported him. There were too many nights she came to work crying. I prayed hard for this girl for years. I would occassionally give her a devotional book or a Christian book. But most of all, the other lady we work with and myself just tried to be there for her. Last year, her boyfriend up and left. At the same time, she started to go to Central Christian church with her sister. God caught her. I just went out with her this week and she is doing great. She has started to get very involved with her church and God is working in her. I truly feel someday God will use her testimony for other women that struggle from abuse. Its so awesome when you pray for someone that long and see God do amazing things in their life.

So this leads me to the last person… the guy in his late 40’s. Single guy, never been married. Pretty much lived the bachelor lifestyle his whole life. Smokes, drinks, sleeps around, lives alone. I pretty much felt there was no hope for this guy. Over the years he always poked fun at me for bringing my Bible to work and listening to church sermons on my IPod. Yet he saw what Chirst did in all three of us. Last year he ask me to pray for his sick aunt. Then he came to me about his anger issues last month. He told me his struggles with self control and was in tears. He asked me about my life.

This morning he called me and ask me if he could go to church with me….

Wow! I was on cloud nine all day! I just saw God do something amazing. I just saw him completely take a person that I felt had no shot of stepping foot in church and do a complete turnaround in his life. And he loved the church and wants to come back! I’m in awe of God! I can’t wait to go back to work (can’t believe I’m saying that).

I was unsure of how Easter would be for me this year. I read the gospels on the crucifixion and watched the ’Passion of Christ’ movie. Maybe I was hoping for something spectacular to happen. Something to me get past the down times of life. I don’t know. But I did see God at work. He is always at work. It doesn’t always make sense. But God used me to play a small part in a bigger story. And I have nothing to be down about. I trust God and know he is there. Easter is about rescue. Even though it was all in His timing, God rescued our little night shift… one by one. Its how He works. Its how He uses us. And its all for His glory!

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