It’s called a lot of things: modern-day slavery, contemporary slavery, human trafficking, child slaves… and sometimes it’s just disguised as something that sounds a lot nicer – escorts, domestic servants… But however you put it, go beneath the words and you open yourself up to a world of incredible pain and injustice.
There’s somewhere around 27 million slaves in the world today. They’re people trafficked for sex, drugs and bound in generational debt bondage. (Source) They’re abused, degraded and humiliated – many of them living and dying in this world. It’s a tragedy that no human should ever have to face.
Amhet’s mother left every night…
She was supposed to be asleep, but sometimes she woke up and found her mother gone. Scared, Amhet would shut her eyes tight as she waited for dawn when her mother would quietly come back. Though they never talked of it, her mother would look at her with soulful eyes and she knew what was coming. Soon, she’d join her mother in the night.
Imagine this: you and your spouse have been married for a few years. You can’t have kids, but you have a real heart to raise children to follow Jesus. You see so many children around you that don’t have a mom and dad and who are often in some pretty desperate situations. And then you hear from your pastor that there’s an organization that wants to help you care for 12 orphaned or exploited girls or boys. They’ll provide funding and support for you, but they’re asking for a family led by God to stand up and parent these kids as their own.
Samantha was seven when her world crumbled around her. Her mom died, and her paralyzed father just couldn’t take care of his family. It was that simple. No food, no more school, no mom. At seven years old, Sam didn’t really understand that her dad couldn’t care for her. All she knew is that she was leaving.
Samantha and her siblings were shipped off to their aunt’s house – complete with a leaky steel roof and crumbling cement walls – which was already filled to brimming with her own eight children. Her aunt had a small sewing business, but as the sole provider in her own family, that was hardly enough. I’d imagine the wear of that responsibility just continued to drown her aunt, but later, LSM staff asked the aunt if we provided money, if she’d want to keep Samantha. She said no.
Bathelmy’s father died first, and this his mother followed, leaving 8 children as orphans. His aunt tried valiantly to care for all of the kids, but her husband was a poor farmer, and they struggled to provide for all the new mouths to feed. Something would have to change.
Diemchile was one of nine children. His father lived with them when he found work, but was often gone, looking for jobs to provide. His mother was left alone, caring for her children and a nephew she had taken in many years before. From little on up, Diemchile knew what crippling poverty was, and his thin frame showed the effects that it was having. His family needed a miracle.
A reporter once told Mother Teresa that he couldn’t do what she did if he was paid a million dollars. She answered, “Yes, for a million dollars, I wouldn’t do it either.”
Jesus is showing us that there is a pearl, a prize, worth leaving everything for. It’s not about what you’ve left, but it’s about what you’ve found. Giving to the poor, caring for the orphan, bringing justice to women in prostitution – creating disciples who change their cultures and spread the love of Jesus… those are NOT easy tasks, and they WILL require sacrifice on all of our parts. But that’s what we want to do. Not for a million dollars, not for fame or recognition. All for Jesus, because we’ve found a prize worth sharing and worth giving ourselves up for.
“Whoa! There’s a lot of information out there!”
That’s the reaction most families have who are considering adoption. Where do we even start? Since starting our free adoption resources program in 2003, we’ve helped over 5,500 find the answers to those questions.
In 2012 alone, with 400 assessments, 150 families went through the entire process and are ready to adopt. Those families came from 136 different church families and 101 various churches. We’re thrilled with the reach our resources have been able to have in bringing vulnerable children into loving families around the world.
But for all of that progress, the world of adoption continues to change. Part of our goal is to keep families up to date with developments in the adoption world.
Congrats to Bonnie Wesselnoff who’s the winner of a free copy of the book The Global Orphan Crisis. Thanks to everyone else who participated in the blog series too. You can find more information on the book, and order your own copy here.
If you’re looking for ways to get involved with LSM in caring for orphans, head over to our website. We’d love to have you partner with us to care for vulnerable children in Haiti and Ethiopia. Here’s just a few of the things you can do right now:
We mourn for the loss of lives at Sandy Hook Elementary school last week, where a gunman raged against innocent children and teachers. The world looks pretty evil sometimes. As I’ve processed my own thoughts regarding Friday’s tragedy, I have also read countless responses from others. I’d like to share one article I read that seemed to me to be a beautiful response to what happened, especially in light of the Christmas season.
[Christmas reminds us] just how dire things had to get for God to send His only Son to earth. The Nativity—inflated in front yards, cartooned into coloring books and fought over so fiercely in courthouses—likely bears very little resemblance to the reason for the season. Christ’s birth was, as the angels announced, “Glad tidings for all people” but it was also a testament to just how desperately far things had gone off track. Prophets and priests were no longer enough. Or, rather, it was time to send in The Prophet. The Priest.
Here’s just a few things we’re thankful for at LSM as we step into Thanksgiving.