Monday, March 30, 2009

A Way to Help Without Giving More Money

Sometimes the whole human trafficking thing gets to be a little overwhelming. The toll this evil takes on victims is so heavy. And it’s easy to feel like “what’s the use?” We can’t all jump on planes and go off to foreign countries to help out. And even if we could, how much good can we really do in just a couple weeks? So we give to worthy causes like Rapha House. But times are tight, and… Well, we’d like to do more but can’t.

But we can. Let me explain.

Recently, we’ve launched the Victims Impact Project. You can read more about it on our blog.

This is an attempt at open-source activism benefiting victims of trafficking and abuse and their caregivers. Here’s how it works. Anyone wishing to contribute time and talent can join us in a virtual community as we develop tools, resources, programs and services that directly impact victims of trafficking and abuse and their caregivers.

There are plenty of talented persons—you might be one or know one—who can help us develop digital tools and resources in the native languages of victims. Products may include DVDs, web-based videos, podcasts, digital print resources, websites, blogs, and more. We already have four projects in development: 1) We’re creating a grief recovery curriculum to aid those who have suffered trauma and loss. (We’re creating simple animated videos that will be narrated in different languages and delivered via the web, along with support materials.) 2) We’re inviting survivors of abuse to write their own stories and submit them for possible posting on the Victims Impact Project website. (See details on our blog.) 3) We’re seeking to translate, format and distribute electronically for free our “Healing for the Wounded Heart” curriculum in as many languages as possible. And 4) we’re seeking to translate, format and distribute electronically for free our “Healing for the Wounded Heart” devotions in as many languages as possible. Our goal is to continually develop more and more projects that will directly benefit survivors of trafficking and abuse and their caregivers and deliver these programs for free. We call it open-source activism.

Take a moment to check out our blog. Pass the word along to your friends and family who might want to get involved. Request a copy of one of our free resources. And pray for our efforts.

Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Power of Survivors

During my life, I’ve met some truly impressive people. People with superior intellect. People with exceptional talent. And people possessing enormous power and influence. But none have had a greater impact on my life than a group of young women and little girls who have survived trafficking and sexual abuse. Why is that?

Survivors don’t necessarily possess superior intellect or remarkable talent. And certainly they don’t possess enormous power and influence. Or do they?

Survivors possess the power to mobilize us like few can. I didn’t get involved in this cause after hearing a persuasive speech by a passionate and intelligent communicator. Nobody with remarkable talent enlisted my support. It was the power of one survivor’s story that captivated me. She first caught my attention and then my heart. And it’s the remarkable power of survivors that hold me firmly in this ministry’s grasp.

Survivors possess the power to teach us. Recently, I threw out my back. And I spent days moaning and complaining to my wife about how miserable I was. She was very patient and understanding, but I’m sure that she tired of my whining. Every time I visit Rapha House, I’m impressed with how cheerful and loving these girls are, despite what they have experienced. Without words, they are teaching me important lessons about life.

Survivors inspire. For most of my life, I’ve struggled deeply with religious questions, including wondering if tragedy can defeat faith in God. I’ve seen it happen in others. Yet I’ve witnessed something odd at Rapha House: Girls who have found God through horrible tragedy. And that inspires me.

Whether they know it or not, survivors posses incredible real power, even more than what I’ve mentioned. And I am privileged to know and serve them.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." —2 Corinthians 12:9