Among the slim list of books I've recently read, however, is a gem. An easy yet impassioned read. It's a book called Orphanology
by Tony Merida and Rick Morton. Consider it recommended. This book found it's way into my life in a very timely manner because John and I have just started meeting with two other couples in an effort to form an orphan care ministry at our church (just recently named "Embrace"- you read it here first, folks).
When John and I were discerning John's call to full time ministry at our church, we actually had this conversation:
Me: "You know I heard a radio broadcast a while ago about a church in the States that adopted something like 10 boys from the same country. One family adopted and nine others followed suit."
John: "I have a feeling that Providence is the kind of church that could really get on board with something like that."
Me: "I think if you take the call one of our goals could be to start some sort of an adoption or orphan care ministry."
And well look where we are now! God had already planted this ministry idea in the hearts of at least two other couples and we are now staring our third meeting right in the face. Making progress and moving forward!
As a team/group/coalition/callusanythingbuta"committee," we've been discerning our purpose and our goals. "Orphan Care" includes a huge spectrum of issues, from domestic and international adoption and foster-care, to birth parent support, to care for the unborn, etc. And this is where the Orphanology book really gave me (and us) some vision for an issue that might not be one of the first you'd think of when considering orphan care:
"Orphan ministry means being engaged in the fight against slavery and human trafficking."
"According to the US Department of State, somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, and approximately 50% of those trafficked are children."
"As ambassadors of Christ we must stand in the gap for these helpless children. They are our concern because they are God's handiwork, and they are being treated unjustly. The presence of this kind of injustice is dishonoring to God."
We MUST stand in the gap.
If you bear the name of Christ, human trafficking is your concern.
I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I have been blind to this problem- to this vile and shocking problem- for so long. I want you to know that I am praying that God will point out the gaps and show me how to stand in them.
Now I want to introduce you to one of my friends from college who has undoubtedly been praying this pray for longer than I have. Laurel and I worked in our college's writing center together and I wish you could meet her in person. She is a gentle and kind soul with an infectious laugh and the spirit of Christ himself. And she's on a mission. Laurel is on a mission to raise enough money to fund one sex trafficking rescue operation. I've asked Laurel to guest blog for me and share about her mission:
"Thanks, Jill, for opening up your heart (and blog!) to fight against the horrific problem of human trafficking. My name is Laurel. I’m 25 years old, and I love kids. I am eagerly following Jill and John’s journey to adoption!
A couple of years ago, I saw the 2008 movie “Taken.” In it, a teenage girl was kidnapped to be sold into prostitution. Her father, a retired CIA agent, tracked her down and rescued her. But—as I snapped off the TV that night—I wondered, “What happens to all the kids who don’t have a dad like that to step in and rescue them?”
The answer hit me like a bullet: They have me.
I began to read up on human trafficking statistics. What I found shocked me.
“Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 32 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry” (http://www.ijm.org/our-work/injustice-today
Almost 2 million KIDS are trapped in sex trafficking. Right now.
I knew I had to do something. Jumping online, I researched organizations that fight human trafficking. One stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest: International Justice Mission (IJM).
Here are a few reasons why I choose to support IJM:
1. I am impressed by their system of care—it helps victims get back on their feet and puts perpetrators behind bars (http://www.ijm.org/our-work/what-we-do
2. IJM is honest about how they use donations. They’re held accountable by an outside accounting firm that conducts an annual audit, and they’re a member of the ECFA—the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (http://www.ijm.org/faqs
3. IJM is a faith-based organization. “IJM's work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. IJM's staff members are Christians from a variety of traditions who are motivated by this call to seek justice for the oppressed" (http://www.ijm.org/faqs)
As I began giving to IJM, I realized that my gifts were just a “drop in the bucket.” I knew I was making a difference, but I longed to do something more. Then, IJM launched a new opportunity for supporters…a way to link people together to make a greater impact.
Thus, “Help Laurel Make a Difference” was born.
On October 16, 2012, I’ll be 26 years old. The best birthday gift I can imagine is to see the “Help Laurel Make a Difference” page raise enough to cover the cost of one sex trafficking rescue operation—$4,500 (or 100 gifts of $45).
Things you can do:
1. Give—whatever amount you can here: https://ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/252/Help-Laurel-Make-a-Difference
2. Share this link with your friends and family: https://ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/252/Help-Laurel-Make-a-Difference
3. Pray for IJM and the kids waiting for rescue.
I'll ask you to pray with me tonight, about which gaps God wants you to stand in. I pray that for those of us to whom God points out this
gap in particular, we'll have the faith to obey. And if I know anything about fundraising, it's that every gift matters. If you have $2 , $10, or $45- it all matters.
As a way of saying thank you: a GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on this post
for an entry to win one of my necklaces
! And for every $2 donation to Laurel's mission, receive an additional entry! If you make a donation, after your comment include " [your donation divided by 2] additional entries please!"
Winner will be randomly selected by electronic means. Check back Friday March 30th to see if you won. Happy commenting!