Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Once our eyes have been opened...

This is one of my favorite sayings "Once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do." My life has been changed, and this saying holds true for me. Personally, I can't come home from Africa and NOT change the way I live. Change my spending habits, change my giving, change everything.

A huge opportunity is upon us. Hopechest, who we went to Uganda with, is hopefully on the cusp of partnering with Asha Mission in India. A dear friend, Vince, is in India right now leading a trip whose focus (at least partially) in on sex trafficking there. To say that the people this trip has encountered are bound by the chains of injustice is an understatement. Women there are literally life long sex slaves. Many feel like this is the only thing they are good at, and will not leave for fear of failure.

If you have seen the documentary "Born into Brothels" you know there is another side to this. The children of the sex workers. Who are born into this life. Through no choice of their own, this is now their life. And, sadly, their futures are equally bleak. THIS IS WHERE WE COME IN. The school year in India starts Thursday. Like two days from now. If they don't start then, they cannot go for the entire year. $407 provides a whole years tuition, uniform, supplies EVERYTHING. That's only $1.12 a day. There are 12 precious children that need their tuition paid. Desperately. Education is one of the only ways out of the cycle they were born into.

Education can change the lives of these children. Children like Sanju, who they call the "resident Picasso" because of her eclectic art and clothing combinations. That sounds like my sweet daughter, who insists on dressing herself in "awesome" outfits, and loves the finished product. I cannot imagine not being able to send her to school. So we have to do something!




So, $407x12=$4884. If we all blog, Facebook, Twitter or email about this, it is completely doable. Maybe your small group, or office, or sunday school class can get involved. Let's do it. And do it now. Time really is of the essence. Let's do it. Now. Go to HERE to give. Put "india school" in the notes section, so it goes where it needs to. And THANK YOU for giving these kids life. Education is life everywhere, but especially in third world countries. THANK YOU.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Saving our daughters....















Today, my sweet girl turns 4. She is being showered with all the typical American birthday "things". Gifts, a new outfit, special meals of her choice. On Saturday, she is having a birthday party with over 30 people attending, to celebrate HER.


Today, all around the world, girls just like my daughter are being sold into the sex trade and exploited. Girls, just like my daughter, whose parents want them to have a better life. Who, for a mere $100 think they are doing well by them, not realizing the atrocity their lives are going to turn into.


The domestic statistics are beyond alarming:
  • 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation. -U.S. Department of Justice

  • 600,000 – 800,000 people are bought and sold across international borders each year; 50% are children, most are female. The majority of these victims are forced into the commercial sex trade. – U.S. Department of State, 2004, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, D.C.

  • An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. – U.S Department of Justice Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons

  • An estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry – UNICEF

  • Investigators and researchers estimate the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 a year off one young girl. – NBC Report by Teri Williams



    The difference between my sweet girl, and the sweet girls all over the world? Luck? No. Lack of love? No. What is it? I can't say I honestly know. Latitude and longitude? Maybe. But, no longer will those girls not have a voice. Stand up, shout out. Scream if you have to. Because, if it was my daughter, you'd better believe I'd be screaming. And those girls are someones daughters. Be the voice they don't have.




Monday, May 3, 2010

Scream for the Innocent

Sex trafficking. It's the elephant in the room. Or not. Do you know it's even there? Everyday, ALL around the world, children, and young women are being exploited and sold into the sex trade. And, sadly, you are mistaken if you think it's not happening in your backyard. Even sadder, Craigslist is giving the sick monsters who "sell" these innocent victims a FREE platform** with which to do it. I'd like to ask Jim Buckmaster (CEO of Craigslist) if HE has a daughter.

SCREAM FOR THE INNOCENT. These people are voiceless. They are young, vulnerable. They are blonde, brunette, have freckles. They are just like my children. Just like YOUR children. Think for a nano-second about what you'd do if you thought there was a chance it could be your children sold into this industry. Got it? Ok, now do SOMETHING. Read this open letter to the CEO of Craigslist. Sign the petition. As my sweet friend Lindsey said, "a car manufacturer has problems with production and it incites Congressional hearings. Come on, America!!! Open your eyes!". Here are some articles about the facts.

I am asking you to think about this. Really. Pray. What can you do? I am doing the same. I am giving money every month to help girls in Moldova that are rescued from the sex trade. Here's where you can get more info about what Hopechest is doing in Moldova. I encourage you to look. Please look. Every little bit really DOES help.

support-moldova-1.jpg


"Once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do..."

**Post script edit--The platform isn't free for posting pornographic ads to Craigslist, it's just easy. No, C-list is making MILLIONS on this. Millions on the sale of childrens bodies. Millions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ethiopia...








I'm going there. October of this year.

Check out the Lobsters in the Rough blog for more info... And start praying...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010




















Last week while packing for San Diego, I opened the top zipper of my large suitcase, and found a pair of flip flops. Nothing special. Brown, from Old Navy. I'm sure I got them for next to nothing. I thought about why they were there...I took them out and took a look. It wasn't until I turned them over that I realized they were the shoes I wore the whole time I was in Africa. I knew because of the dirt. The dust. I threw those flip flops in at the last minute. I bought a pair of shoes specifically for the trip (which I never wore, of course), and those were an "in case" pair.

They saw miles of Ugandan dirt paths and roads. Fields where we danced with children, held them, made them laugh. The hut where my life was changed. The bus where countless hours were spent talking and laughing and crying.

I don't know what to do with them. I can't throw them out. I can't wear them. If I wear them the dirt and dust will come off, and the reality that I'm not in Africa, but here, will be that much more real. So, I took them across the country in my suitcase. I brought them back. And they are still there, in the zipper of my big suitcase. Maybe someday I'll do SOMETHING with them, but for now, I want to preserve the memories they hold for just a little longer.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hey Jude...



















Meet Jude.

I met him in the second to last village we went to. We were tired. And hungry. And the things we saw were just plain hard. (I know, woe is me, right??) Then we came to his village, Kabermaido. Anyone (that I know) will tell you that children in Africa are, hands down, the most well-behaved children you will ever see. These were no different. After we got off the bus, they had seats waiting, and the village "director" gave a pretty good speech about what these children need, etc. Then we all introduced ourselves.

Jude sat right in front of me. The whole time, except when he prayed (see above photo), his eyes NEVER left mine. I didn't know what to do. He was older than any child I had connected with on the trip. I waved him over, still unsure what exactly I'd do when he got to me. He stood RIGHT next to me. His tiny leg touching mine.




















So, I did what any momma would do, I lifted him up and sat him on my lap. And he didn't move an inch. When the time came for Amy and I to go back to the bus to get the donations, he stood outside the window of the bus and stared at me. His little eyes never left me.















And they still haven't. I see him everywhere. He comes to me in my sleep. I wonder what he's doing in tiny Kabermaido, Uganda, while my children watch "G-Force" and play in the snow.

I pray that he's provided for. That his belly is full. That he knows love. I miss him, wish to see him again someday.

He'll never leave me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Isaia,63:9

Aponi kiticanai nges kaiticaniokec kere,














Koyu kes koimalaikaneke,














Abu kolaku kes kotoma aminake ka akeitim da,




















Kodakenenei kibwokenenei da kes aparasia kere nukasonya.



(This is the Ateso translation of Isaiah 63:9...our pastor spoke on it Sunday and it was the verse I needed to speak to the feelings I've had since our return from Uganda...
Isaiah 63:9
In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the angel of His presence saved them;
In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them,
And He lifted them and carried them all the days of
old.