Sunday, April 27, 2008


Recidivism. It's such an ugly word that describes an even uglier reality.

According to one statistic that I recently heard, sixty percent of sex-trafficked girls return to prostitution. Recidivism is so ugly not because it’s a big, fancy word but because it describes the life of a girl—a girl who was offered more but settled for less.

Why would someone do that? I suppose the experts have their answers. And I have my opinions. But what frightens me most about recidivism is that it threatens girls that I know, girls that I love.

I wish that every girl’s story would have a happy ending. But that happens only in fairy tales, not in real life. I have known girls who have chosen less. And there will be others.

Our ministry is too young to offer longitudinal reports on recidivism. But I can tell you something about my heart. I am personally going to do all within my power to help each girl to succeed. I am going to do all that I can to enlist the support of every person who will accept the challenge to join us in this fight. I will mourn the loss of every girl who chooses less and do what I can to offer her another chance. But I will not let the failure of one life rob me of the joy of sharing in the success of another. I cannot.

Even if six out of ten girls fail, I will work for the four who’ll succeed. I do this work not because it’s always rewarding. I do this not because it’s easy. Sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes it’s heartbreaking. But I do this because it is necessary; because it is right; and because it is what God wants.

Recidivism has always been a part of any important work to redeem others but so is success. I am praying and working for success. Precious lives hang in the balance.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Love of Money

Probably one of the most frequently misquoted passages in the Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10. It says: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” It doesn’t say that the root of evil is money but rather the “love of money.”

The United States Embassy to the Vatican says that human trafficking “rivals drug and arms trafficking as one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world.” The love of money is why children are trafficked. Children pay with their freedom and innocence when adults love money.

Let’s face it. We will not rid the world of greed. There will always be those who love money over the welfare of children. But what about us?

Nowadays, there is plenty of talk of economic slowdown and recession. As a result, fear sets in. Fear intimidates good people but emboldens evildoers. So when difficult economic times come, those who love money determine that they will not be deprived of whatever their heart desires even at the expense of children. And so lovers of money act.

In times like this, we cannot afford to surrender bold action to evildoers. Good men and women must be courageous. Good men and women must be generous. We must show our faith and dare to act with boldness. Now is the time to open our hearts and our pocketbooks to demonstrate our love for God and the world’s children. “Keep your lives free from the love of money” (Hebrews 13:5).

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. —Proverbs 11:24

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gone In 26 Seconds

I googled “seconds in a year” and came up with 31,556,926. Then I found a UNICEF statistic that I’ve been looking for. UNICEF reports that an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked throughout the world each year. Each year. I’m no math whiz. But that means every 26 seconds another child is trafficked somewhere. Gone in 26 seconds. That’s about the time it took for you to read this paragraph.

Honestly, when I hear statistics like this, they overwhelm me. I can’t imagine that every year the same number of children is trafficked as there are people living in Dallas, Texas. I can’t imagine what life has become for these children. I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to think about their hunger, abuse and despair. It sickens me.

Sometimes when I’m confronted with a monumental problem like this, I’m tempted to pull back. I figure that this is a problem for governments to fix…or the mega-charities…or maybe the foundations with deep pockets. What can I do about it? I’m just one person.

When I start feeling like this, I leaf through my photos of the girls of Rapha House. I can still hear their laughter and recount the times when their beautiful brown eyes filled with tears. I can still feel their hope and the touch of their soft hands in mine. Then I realize: I don’t have to solve this problem for every child in the world. But with your help, we can make a real difference to some of the world’s children who have been trafficked.

Let’s put this problem into perspective. For the girls at Rapha House there is no more important ministry on earth. They’ve survived a nightmare and are starting to dream dreams.

I do not know what it will take to mobilize Christ’s church or even the good people of the world to respond decisively to this wholly unnecessary evil. But I do know this: In one corner of the globe there are girls who are finding hope. And you’re playing your part. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” (Micah 6:8)