This weekend, we will celebrate our country’s independence and freedom. We will gather with friends and family and thank God for the freedoms we have been blessed with in this land – mostly things we have never lived without.
But we don’t begin to understand the magnitude of what we celebrate if we don’t know the power of what freedom really is. Today, there are people around the world who have never known this kind of freedom. They are men, women and children who do not know what it means to dream of a better future. They do not know what it is to celebrate freedom, either individually or as a nation. They are the world’s most vulnerable.
Ella* is one of them. When her father died unexpectedly in a motor accident, her mother was suddenly faced with tragic decisions. With no one to provide, she made decisions that no mother wants to ever make. She sent her daughter to live with another family in the city. Perhaps there, she thought, Ella would have the hope of a different future. Perhaps there, she would find freedom from the economic poverty she had always known.
But as is too often the case, when young Ella reached the city, she was not sent to school, but rather became a domestic slave (or restavek). For the next six years, Ella worked for 14 hours a day carrying water, cleaning, cooking, caring for children, and even caring for the needs of the man in the house… She faced daily abuse, sexual exploitation and severe malnutrition. And in those fearful years, Ella forgot the dream her mother had for her… she no longer knew what freedom looked like.
Ella’s story is the story of 300,000 children in Haiti. It is the story of hopelessness that so many vulnerable children around the world face. And yet to find freedom for these children, it will cost us something. It will cost us the time, the resources, the voice and the energy to actually make dent in tragic situations like hers. But we can do it.
Remember the cost of freedom as you celebrate this weekend. Remember too that with great blessings comes great responsibility. Remember… and commit to do something for those who do not yet know what freedom looks like.
Here’s some things you can do this weekend:
2. Collect donations to help us rescue a vulnerable child in Haiti or Ethiopia this weekend at your gathering as you tell Ella’s story.
*name changed for privacy