Tag Archives: freedom

The Hope Found in Sex Trafficking

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 1-3

I’m happy that you’re back as we dive right into the second portion of this discussion on slavery: sex trafficking.

May His will be done.

Human Trafficking. Modern Day Slavery. Child Sex Trafficking. Commercial Exploitation of Children. Forced Sex Labor. These terms are all used interchangeably to explain this one issue that undoubtedly crushes the heart of God. I can only imagine thousands upon thousands of voices that are crying out for some type of holy intervention. And the thousands upon thousands of miracles that our God performs on a daily basis that simply go underneath our radar. He is a faithful God that works in very mysterious ways. We must never forget that.

Human trafficking is an injustice that has gripped my heart for years. And it may be one that grips yours as well.

This was how it all started for me….

I was at home one afternoon enjoying an afternoon off from work, drinking coffee and browsing the internet, when I came across a CBS special report covering young Filipino girls that were ‘servicing’ English and American male tourists. As I clicked ‘play’ with a bit of hesitation, I  could not believe what I was seeing.

Here was a young boy of about 10 years old (the age of my nephew) who could barely speak English, conducting a business transaction with a male American tourist (maybe in his late 50’s). He was selling this man a thirty minute “oral fix” performed by a six year old girl (who appeared scared and confused) in a run-down tent with a small twin mattress thrown on the dusty floor. My insides immediately broke out in violent spasms as I gagged at the computer screen. Anger, bewilderment, and sadness overwhelmed my heart as I longed to jump into that scene and rescue that little girl. But, I couldn’t, and I felt helpless.

This is where my story began.

As a missionary years later in Western Australia, the Lord placed me in the red light district of Perth (right next door to a brothel in fact). Every day I  would see the faces of young Southeast Asian girls who had been trafficked (transported by coercion and force) to live lives of sexual servitude for the perverse enjoyment of Australian men. I wanted to march in that brothel with the authority of Jesus Christ and rescue those women, but the Lord only wanted me to observe and pray. Looking back, I’m thankful for His wise leading. It is through prayer that we gain His heart and perspective on an issue. I strongly encourage you beloved, to spend time at His doorsteps before you go reaching out to others.

“Listen to My instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors, waiting at My doorway. For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find Me harms himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:33-36

A few months later I moved to Mexico City. For the first time,  I encountered girls (as young as 12) and women (18-45) publicly lining the streets and advertising themselves as commodities for sale in an area known as La Merced. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just for the locals (including law enforcement and government officials); tourists also knew where to find these victimized souls. We knew we weren’t welcome.  But, Jesus had other plans. Their traffickers would visibly loom around them, watching every move we made from the “window upstairs”. It was in this place that I first looked into the big, brown eyes of a young Mexican girl who shamefully looked away after five seconds of making eye contact. And I held the tender hands of a young woman who desperately wanted to be held and to know that she was worth more than a “good time.” At any moment, we could have been shot. But, Jesus is bigger than man, and more powerful than the enemy. What God willed was going to take place. So, we marched out in the authority of Christ, passing out roses to remind them of their beauty, giving them Bibles as a source of truth and encouragement, hugging their necks to show them they were worthy of love, and praying for the Lord’s mighty intervention. We saw one woman rescued from the hundreds there. But, it was still one life that Jesus died for and that was substantial. I’m thankful for the Lord’s powerful demonstration of faithfulness: we were never once injured, and He taught me that even darkness is light to Him. He has all authority and power.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:12

Allow me encourage you with something, beloved.

Jesus is King. There is nothing in history that can ever undo the powerful choice He made when He willingly hung on the cross. He has overcome all evil. Death has no power over Him. And even darkness is light to our King. And do you know what makes His sacrifice so powerful? As dirty and evil as sex trafficking is, Jesus still chose to die for the souls that choose to engage in this very act. Is there anything more revolutionary than God’s love? This right here shows you that love is more powerful than death.

Now that I have shared with you what the Lord has allowed me to experience on the mission field outside of the United States, I want to encourage you in the truth. He is doing a big work here in this nation. Sex trafficking very much exists in this country, and it’s often not out in the open. And as a missionary in the States with Wellspring Living, I have learned a very valuable lesson that I’d like to share:

Focus on Jesus and not the issue at hand. There is a difference between being educated on this issue and meditating on this issue. The havoc and destruction that sex trafficking causes is derived from the most disgusting, evil one: satan himself. Let’s not focus on his temporary work, but instead on the work of Jesus Christ.

Because there is a lot He is doing to rescue, restore, and redeem these precious souls of women and children today and forevermore. I have seen the faces of girls and women who have been delivered, healed, and made completely new through the all-sustaining and ever-consuming power of Jesus Christ. And women are being rescued daily here in Atlanta. Let’s give God the amazing praise He deserves for what He IS doing! He is making what appears impossible to man, possible through Him. To God be the glory for that!

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

If you feel that the Lord is calling you into this area of ministry, or you simply want to learn more about what He’s doing, then check out these incredible organizations (all of which I know personally) that are doing big things through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Wellspring Living  – An organization that works hands-on with women and girls (through the aid of Christ) to restore their broken hearts and empower them for a second chance of living through Jesus. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Wellspring Living

Out of Darkness – An organization that runs a 24/7 hotline with volunteers trained to answer rescue calls along with a  dedicated team searching the internet to identify the sites where underage children are being sold for sex, the exploiters who are selling them, and the johns who are buying them. This is a great ministry for men that are seeking a place to serve. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Out of Darkness

Love Made Claim, Inc – An organization committed to building trust and relationships with women in the sex-for-sale industry, including women enslaved in the porn industry.  Located in Denver, CO (but attends national porn conventions).

Check out their website here: Love Made Claim

Photo provided by momslupusmagic.com

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A Survey of Modern-Day Slavery

The great emancipator Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

Slavery. For generations this topic has gripped the hearts of mankind.

Why? Because it goes against the grain of our innate desire for freedom. It resonates in our hearts by contrasting with the freedoms we enjoy as Americans today.

As a missionary, I have seen the faces  of women and children sold as commodities in a multi-billion dollar industry known as the global slave trade. And it’s not just happening in the third world countries; it’s taking place right in our own backyard. Children are sold for sex and forced labor everyday in this country.  Instead of enslaving an entire race as America did once before (those of African descent who were forced to toil in the land of the South), this spirit of oppression is now enslaving our women and children (who are sources of life and wonder in this world).

But, I’m thankful that Jesus conquers oppression. He stands in victory as the epitome of freedom.

While sitting with the Lord, I was honestly surprised when He told me that He wanted today’s blog to be about slavery. Maybe there are some of you who are hungry for justice in this world and are not yet sure how to go about serving? Or perhaps there are some of you that already know about slavery but need to be refreshed in refocusing your eyes on the true Rescuer and Redeemer?

He alone knows. And because this site serves as a platform for the Lord to speak, I am praying that His will be done in the name of Jesus.

What is slavery? Slavery can be defined as submission to a dominating force; drudgery; severe toil; and the state of one bound in servitude as the property of another. All of these definitions are derived from one spiritual force – oppression by the enemy.

Oppression directly counteracts freedom, which is the very purpose for which Jesus died and rose again. Freedom over darkness, freedom for us from sin, and freedom to enjoy our lives to the fullest through His grace.

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

A great example of this can be seen today in the People’s Republic of China. As Christian missionaries are sent to this nation, thousands of Chinese are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are being freed from the yolk of communist oppression and embracing a life filled with joy and peace from the Lord. I would not be surprised if one day China becomes a land overflowing with milk and honey; a source of encouragement for the world to see. Nor would I be surprised to see Chinese missionaries preaching the gospel to our own American youth who’ve been led astray.

What are ways that slavery exists today?

This really is a loaded question because enslavement (bondage) appears on a very broad spectrum. We as human beings can be enslaved by our past, our emotions, our job, and our circumstances. However, in today’s post we are going to focus on modern day slavery in the form of forced labor.

Modern day slavery represents the rawest form of evil produced by the heart of man. Yet we can find powerful demonstrations of His redemption, made possible only by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds like the entire theme of the Bible to me.

Let’s get educated.

What is forced labor? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), it is defined as all involuntary work or service that is exacted from one person under the threat of penalty by another. The U.S. State Department estimates that 27 million people (of all nationalities, and on all continents) are enslaved today. The ILO further estimates the following:

    • 90 percent of victims are exploited by individuals or enterprises, while 10 percent are forced to work by a state, rebel military groups, or in prisons
    • Forced labor exploitation alone makes up 80 percent of all victims, while 20 percent accounts for victims of forced sexual exploitation
    • 55 percent of all victims are women and girls, and 45 percent are men and boys. Children make up around one quarter of all victims

What can you do? Conduct your own online research, and you may be very surprised at which household names are knowingly exploiting the lives of innocent people, all for a small profit gain. The link below is a copy of the report conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2009 titled:  ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor‘.

http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/PDF/2009TVPRA.pdf

Keep this in mind: often when we come across something that is dirt cheap here (clothing or food commodity), it’s likely costing someone else in another part of the world a very dear price. Forced labor requires the person to  work in harsh conditions,  endure extremely long hours, and are give a very limited food, water, and sunlight. This is abuse, beloved, and it should not be acceptable.

Also, if you feel led by the Holy Spirit to get involved in a deeper way, please check out and support the following organization (which I have worked with in the past) as they campaign against forced labor around the globe.

Not For SaleInternational Organization

http://www.free2work.org/

Due to the length of this post, we’ll continue this discussion on slavery (specifically sex-trafficking) with the aid of the Holy Spirit tomorrow morning. And remember that even darkness is light to Jesus since He has overcome it all!

“Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

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The Value of Surrender: Saying Goodbye to Worry

***After spending time with the Lord this morning, I strongly believe there are readers who need to be reminded of this message today. He will be faithful to provide for you. To God alone be the glory!

Surrender. It’s an art that requires practice. A lot of practice.

Unfortunately, I’m still a novice in the art. Instead of releasing my grip and fully entrusting my cares to the King, I’d rather hang on to my dreams, my anxieties, and my need to perform, all through the white-knuckles of my small, clenched fist.  It’s not until I’m broken and left with nowhere to turn that I realize surrender is the only ticket for my relief. For my freedom.

He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30

I don’t want to wait until I’m broken anymore before I decide to give it all to Him. I want to practice this art of surrender every single day. What about you?

Surrender enables us to walk in complete freedom. And it severs the bonds of worry deep within our hearts. It contrasts with the self-reliance and the need to control our lives that choke our ability to let go and to trust God.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body,  I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

No one said it would be easy. In fact, it’s scary at times. But, it is the Lord Jesus who commands us to do this very thing if we are genuinely interested in pursuing a deep relationship with Him.

Let’s take a look into what Jesus says: “If anyone would come (to get to one point from another) after Me, he must (obligation, something necessary) deny (refuse to grant, reject, decline) himself and take up his cross (affliction, trial, troubles, faultfinding) and follow (to come after in time, to pursue, chase) Me. For whoever wants (covets, wishes, aspires) to save (redeem, defend, deliver, reclaim) his life will lose (to be defeated, fail to keep to or hold) it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

Whoa. Just think about this passage for a second. Jesus is telling us that as we approach Him, we are required to reject ourselves (our own rationale in fixing life), to take these exact troubles (what is going to happen?, how is it going to happen?, when is it going to happen?, why hasn’t it happened yet?, or why did it happen that way?), and to pursue Jesus.

If we, in any form or fashion, attempt to believe that we can save our own lives and repair our own hearts then we will be absolutely defeated. But, if we aspire to freely give up our afflictions, then He will be faithful to redeem our lives and deliver us from our situations. Very powerful. 

Despite what it may seem, beloved, surrender is the victor’s stance. And we are victors in Christ Jesus. Surrender must be a way of life for us as His children.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25

No matter what the situation is, we all want to know the answers to questions only He can answer. Here are just a few:

  • How will the house note be paid this month?
  • Will the Lord send me a helpmate?
  • Will I be healed from this sickness?
  • How do I parent my disabled child?
  • Am I going to have a job next month?

These are some serious questions, and as I was typing this segment of the blog, I felt a strong sense that the Lord wanted to speak directly to someone reading this today. Maybe several people reading this today. Please take this message directly back to the Lord as I am only a messenger (refer to 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). He will be faithful to confirm or to thwart that which is for (or not for) you. May He receive all the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

This is what I felt He wanted to say:

Deny yourself and follow Me. Give up your struggling in self-sufficiency and seek My heart, says the Lord. I am faithful, beloved. I see where you are today and I will comfort you if you will come after Me. I will not let you down. I am a wonderful Provider that owns cattle on a thousand hills. I am for you and not against you, My beloved. Trust in Me. Let it all go. I am for you. Always and forever, I am for you. I am a loving and faithful God. Seek Me while I may be found. Call upon Me and I will tell you many unsearchable things. I am the Great I AM. Look to Me always. Always, beloved. I know the way that is before you. And I will take hold of your hand and tell you ‘this is the way, walk ye in it.’Trust in Me, beloved. I am trustworthy and I am just. I am faithful beyond your understanding of faithfulness. Look to Me. I will not disappoint you. I will guide you along this path I have set before you. But, you must look to Me. I alone know what is ahead of you and I will not disappoint you. I will prepare you along the way. Do not be troubled, My sweet child. Do not be anxious, My beloved. I died so you may have freedom. Please do not be ensnared by hopelessness and empty troubles. Anxiety will cause you to waste away. It consumes enormous amounts of energy required for the day ahead of you. Trust in Me. I am a good God. A heavenly God. I know no evil. I know no sin. I am for you, beloved. I am for you. Look to Me. I invite you to look to Me. You will never regret where I lead you, My child. Never. If you will allow Me, I will bless you beyond measure. It’s okay if your heart hurts and you feel uncomfortable. I promise that I will lead you to restoration and redemption. I am faithful beyond faithful. Trust in Me for all your days and you will enjoy the best that life offers. I will grant you favor and success, My sweet child. I intend to do good to you, not to harm you. I intend for you to prosper and to succeed. These are the motives of My holy heart. I encourage you, beloved, to look to Me. Seek Me while I may be found. I am with you wherever you may go. I love you, dear one. You are My beloved. And I am Your God. Praise and glory be to My name alone.”

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” Psalm 91:1-2 

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’.'” Exodus 3:14

For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ‘Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the LORD, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off’.” Isaiah 55:12-13

My hope and prayer is that you may be encouraged by the simple fact that God loves you. He is for you. As His children, we must allow Him to work in our lives. We must give up our burdens and lay them at His feet. We must choose to surrender our cares to the Great I AM. If you know of anyone that can benefit from this message, please share it through our many social outlets below. Thank you!

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