Pain and Presence

If you ever read Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, you know that she writes a devotion-a-day as if Jesus was talking to you.On Sunday, during church, I felt like I was supposed to write this small message down in that style of reflection. I didn’t quite understand it, and didn’t know if it was fully theologically correct, so I didn’t want to share it. However, after praying about it, and trying to wrap my head around the theological concepts, I decided I’m going to post it here. I have never posted something like this before. In truth, I don’t know why I’m sharing it on the blog. But, this is for somebody out there today. I pray that it comforts you.

(read as if Jesus were speaking to you)

“My power and presence are one. On the cross, the two meet so that you would know that I would bring both. When you have both, you understand sacrifice — You understand deep love. The love that would show up and the love that would suffer and endure.

‘I call those who are mine to both: to pain on behalf of others and to being fully present, even when you don’t want to. My spirit is sufficient in both. My power will provide the strength and endurance for both. This is what love is all about.”

May the love of Christ be with you, truly with you, always,

Pam

Warning: People Will Think You’re Weird

I have never pre-ordered a book — well, at least not until Jonathon Martin’s “Prototype.” I received the book yesterday, and oh-my-goodness! This is the writing I’ve been waiting for out of a pastor. He’s not just writing about the gospel. He writes from a place of living out the gospel for many years — in and through his every breath and muscle and fiber of his being. It’s a book I want to scream from the rooftops about. It’s a book I want to hand to pastors and leaders and lay ministry people.  I want to shout…

“THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL!”

Because to know the Gospel deeply is to know just how big God is and just how big His love for you is. Jonathan “gets” that and explains it through his own testimony and through prophetic direction to those who have never seen what it looks like before. He engages his readers in accepting love and living out love.He also acknowledges that when you live it out, it’s not always a “love fest” from the people around us.

At one point early on, Jonathan is talking about what being beloved really means, and how discovering it changes your life. He says that:
“The world is not ready for people like us. The world is not ready for a message like this…. When we begin to live like Jesus, people will perceive our peace as an indictment on their violence; they will see our security as an indictment on their insecurity.”

He has so many great quotes, but that might just be my favorite, because that has been my reality over and over, even within the Christian community. When you get how much you’re loved, you don’t have a spirit of ambition. And you certainly don’t want to be a part of a church that slyly welcomes that spirit in to the operations of the body. When you get that you’ve been given grace, you’re willing to extend it to others, especially to those who least deserve it. When you get how God extends friendship to you, you extend friendship to others easily.

And other people just. don’t. get. you.

They will think you’re weird. They will think you’re strange. They will look at you sideways. They will wonder if they really should accept that cup of coffee with you. They won’t understand why you offer them relationship — open relationship — or why you’re willing to pray for them or give them encouraging words. They might even put a little distance between you and them.

But don’t stop. Don’t give in to the suspicion. Keep loving. Keep encouraging. Keep pursuing. After all, as you know, that’s what God does for you.

And for goodness sake, read Jonathan’s book. There’s more relationship with God to be had, and He’s really good at leading you towards that end.

Love,
Pam

Follow Up re: Trafficking

Yesterday I wrote about practical first steps you can take to actually help to stop trafficking. If you want to end trafficking, please read that post. However,  after posting that blog, many of my friends asked questions via facebook that I realized I should also post here.

One of my friends pointed out that I didn’t address the clothing industry in my last post. I didn’t because the clothing industry is probably one of the hardest changes for people to make and it’s one of the hardest to avoid trafficked products. My advice to her was to download the Free2Work app for her phone and check a product before she buys it.

http://www.free2work.org/

They recently came out with a specific report on clothing. You can find that at http://www.free2work.org/trends/apparel/.

Another friend asked if I had/knew of a list of resources. I don’t. There are certain organizations I receive letters from and keep an eye out for information from, but a lot of the work for trafficking is either hands on or done in political realm. However, my two foavorite organizations to watch and receive information from are IJM (www.ijm.org) and Love146 (www.love146.org).

Also, a book that I highly recommend, Not for Sale by David Batstone, has a list of organizations that may be helpful. While I cannot type all that information for each of these groups, I will list those organizations for you here:

Anti-slavery international www.antislavery.org

Bal Vikas Ashram www.freetheslaves.net/about/partners/bal-vikas-ashram

Campus Coalition against Trafficking www.ccatcoalition.org

Children of the Night www.childrenofthenight.org;

Churches Alert To Sex Trafficking Across Europe www.chaste.org.uk

Church mission society www.cms-uk.org/united/index.htm

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women www.catwinternational.org

Coalition of Immokalee Workers www.ciw-online.org

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking www.castla.org

Development and education Program for Daughters and Communities www.depdc.org

Free The Slaves www.freetheslaves.net

Generacion Institiute www.notforsalefund.org/projects.html

Hagar www.hagarproject.org

La Strada International www.lastradainternational.org

Nightlight Design www.nightlightbangkok.com

Not For Sale Fund www.notforsalefund.org

Polaris Project www.polarisproject.org

Protection Project www.protectionproject.org

Regina Pacis Fund www.reginapcais.org/en

Rugmark www.rugmark.org

Sankalp www.sankalpindia.net/drupal

Standing Against Global Exploitation www.sagesf.org

Stop the Traffick www.stopthetraffick.org

Tiny Star www.tinystars.org

World Vision www.worldvision.org/worldvision/wvususfo.nst/stable/globalissues.childprotetion_sexexploit

 

Hope this helps for people who want to take further action regarding trafficking. But please, do NOT underestimate those everyday first steps, especially helping out at local organizations. Recovery is just as important as rescue.

peace,

Pam

Are you really in it to end it?

My twitter feed was full of pictures of people’s with red “x” marks on their hands today. Most were pastors and/or leaders in the Christian      church. And it got me really frustrated.

It angers me because people were seemingly try to help end slavery. But the problem of slavery in the world today deserves far more than awareness. Red Xs on hands do little to bring awareness. We live in a culture where everyday is an awareness day for something.

We have to actually lead.

But that offers a little bit of a challenge for most of us, because we feel powerless in a fight like this.

I know because my husband and I have been trying to be a part of the anti-trafficking movement for almost five years now. When we first got involved, we were constantly frustrated with the two ways that we were told we could help:

Give Money and Spread Awareness

While we have given money, and we have spread awareness, THERE ARE SO MANY MORE PRACTICAL FIRST STEPS!

If you were bold enough to put a red X on your hand, may I suggest you being courageous enough to also do the following?*

1) Buy traffick-free products. By the way, that means no more Starbucks. They say that they have relationships with farmers. They really don’t. Talk to someone who actually knows something about the coffee industry, and they’ll educate you. Need another option? Dunkin’ Donuts offers fair trade espresso. Better yet, go to a local coffee shop that has a partnership with farmers and buy your home beans from them, too. (In Chicago, try Conscious Cup in Crystal Lake or Overflow Coffee Bar in the South Loop. They are two of my favorites.) If you’re a moderate to conservative Christian, order your coffee from 29 Coffee.

Coffee is the first thing people think of, but there’s lots of other food products to look out for. The easiest switches? Sugar and Chocolate. Costco offers both fair trade sugar and chocolate chips. Omanhene is another great chocolate company. There’s lots more like it. There’s a list on this page.

It will cost more. Buy it anyway. Put your money where you mouth is. Save kids from getting burned by the fires needed to make those products. (Oh, you didn’t know that kids are being injured for you to sweeten your coffee? Well, you learn something new every day.)

This is just a start, but those are easy, every day switches that won’t hurt you to do.

2) Don’t buy/watch porn. This may seem obvious to some, but for those of you who don’t know, porn fuels the sex industry. You may think that hot chick on your computer screen is “into” preforming. More likely, she’s drugged to all high heaven. Besides killing your soul, you are damaging others’ lives. Cut porn out of your life. You may find that you have an addiction. If so, please seek out help from a group that won’t shame you.

3) Get in touch with local organizations that help trafficking victims or help prevent trafficking. Again, I’m in Chicago, so if you live here, get in touch with the Salvation Army Outreach Services (STOP IT for short), Dreamscatchers or Traffick Free.  Also in Chicago, there is the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

You ask, “what can I possibly do for these organizations?”

You can be donating clothes, offering counseling, taking women to job interviews, help a woman shop for her own clothes for the first time, maybe even offer your home as a half way house, etc. etc. CAASE (link above), in addition to other things, works in high schools to try to prevent trafficking in Chicago and beyond. There is so much to do and not enough hands to do it. If you want to be involved, GET INVOLVED!

And if you are NOT a Christian/don’t want to work with a Christian organization, contact IDHS’s Rescue and Restore. They are fantastic to work with to help victims rehabilitate themselves.

5) Most importantly, have the trafficking tip line phone number memorized…or at the very least, have it in your phone. If you see anything suspicious, call that number. Even if a police officer suspects something, he/she is not allowed to enter a place of business or a home. If you call, that gives him/her the legal right to go and search a bit.

The number is  (888) 373-7888.

*People are trafficked both for sexual reasons and for labor. I tried to give options for helping both kinds of victims.

Peace,

Pam

P.S. This is what all the X’s were about http://enditmovement.com/

P.S.S. This blog was previously titled: “Why all the red x’s pissed. me. off.” I changed it because I realized that the vulgarity of the term wasn’t needed. I was acting out of spite. Please forgive my spite and vulgarity and thank you for reading.