Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nothing to Give? - Real Rescue for Modern Slavery

It seems to me as though "Stop Human Trafficking" has become the most passionate cause for a lot of Christians. One of the biggest challenges is discovering what we can do (besides increase awareness). There are a couple people who I know who have been making a difference long before the cause became known. One is Ted Olbrich with Warm Blankets Orphan Care. The other is Emma who works in Athens with Nea Zoi. Here is her latest report.

Ten years ago, I landed at the Athens airport, pushed my way through the throng smoking around baggage claim, dodged the stray dogs sleeping in the airport, and anxiously waited to meet the Helping Hands people who would meet me. I remember being impressed by all the orange trees, the crazy traffic, and the noise of the city. Tasting my first chicken souvlaki at Pita Pan. Sunshine every day (almost!) My first Sunday dinner with no space on the dinner table for any more food, and fish with their heads on. I remember sitting on the balcony of our first apartment, watching all the people bustle by, and wishing I had something/someone to be busy with. Now, life is full. Barely any time to process all that has happened. But it's beautiful. I've met so many women and men with such suffering - but also people of faith reaching past their comfort zone for justice and compassion. God has pushed me past the limits of what I thought I could do with my life. I haven't reached the aspirations I once had, but I've seen even more amazing things than I could ever have planned. Discouragement and disappointment have been constant... but so have the sparks of hope that arise from small conversations with women like Anna. She's Nigerian, 22, met in an increasingly aggressive neighborhood in central Athens as we handed out cups of tea. She bounced up to me and demanded, "Pray for me!" When I asked what do you want me to pray for, she said, Ä helper! I asked her to explain what she meant, and she said she wanted someone to save her with lots of money. I told her I couldn't pray for that but I would like to pray that God would give her an opportunity to use the gifts and talents He gave her instead. She said that she came from a poor family and had nothing to give except her body. I told her that I could see she was a strong, brave woman, and for a moment, she was honest, told me that it costs her so much pain to be in this job. I prayed for her to be freed from the trafficker, and whatever else kept her from the life God intended for her. And we encouraged her to come learn computers on Thursdays. I am hopeful that women like Anna can discover their gifts and talents. After all, God has uncovered gifts and talents that I didn't think I had 10 years ago. My hope is that our vocational program Eisodos can contribute to that process in their life. Thank you for being part of this story. God shows His faithfulness through us to Anna and others. Emma


Anonymous said...

Matt, Thank you for posting this issue about Modern Slavery. One of things I wanted to point out coming from an environment where selling yourself seems like the only option in life for survival, that God's intervention is so critical. Only God can change the mind of the individual like he did with me. I personally had to tell God that if he provided my financial needs that I would not participate in that - that was so hard for me to keep that promise. But God was faithful and still is faithful to his promise of keeping me away from that lifestyle. I encourage you to pray that God would make himself so real to these souls who are in these predictments. They don't want to do this but they don't know what else to do. As for the organization who promote these terrible acts, you also need to pray that God would get a hold of their lives and convict them in what they are doing. This vile activity does more psychological and spiritual corruption than we realize and it impacts people for life. But I know that God is more than able to deliver and heal and tear down demonic strongholds!!!!!

Matt said...

Anonymous: Thank-you for sharing some of your story and perspective. You make some great insights and your testimony provides hope and direction. God is a rescuer and I'm thankful to hear what He did for you. I'm praying for you today and for those that Emma and others are reaching out to.

Warren Baldwin said...

Touching story. It grieves me that our country, the U.S., has a high rate of trafficking itself. I'm thankful there are organizations today not only promoting awareness of the problem, but also providing care.
Family Fountain: