Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Silence is Deadly

      As I sit here enjoying my second cup of mind fuel, I am pouring over the events of this first half of this year. Did that scare you a little? July is coming quick and 1/2 of the year is already lived. Well, it's either lived or simply existed...

    My heart longs for my friends in Chisinau and is excited for those I have yet to meet. At the beginning of July I will embark on an adventure with my 14 year old son to Addis Ababa and Awasa, Ethiopia. And the trips show no sign of stopping there as plans for Uganda, South Africa, Burundi, and Italy are all taking shape. My how life can change in the blink of an eye.

    Just 2 short years ago I was living a contented life. I worked in a field where praise was the daily norm and money was abundant no matter the economy. I had time to simply sit and read or head out for a run. My boat was floating undisturbed along the boring waters of a life lacking challenge. Then, the dark and disturbing truths began to sink in.

     I remember very clearly the first time I heard about sex trafficking. It was also the first time I promptly changed the dial on the stereo. The subject of sex trafficking itself just made me want to vomit. My life was easy and happy...hearing about this ongoing, daily tragedy was throwing me off my groove. There was something there though. Something that words cannot aptly describe. I began to long for justice. Moreso than that, I began to think that even I could possibly do something.

     I have lived my life in deadly silence. I have been content to simply turn away and carry on. That's what life is ultimately about right? The comfort of my family? I have hidden behind my family and my station for far too long. I have used my husband, children and even my career as bunkers for respite from the burning passion in my heart that shouts "DO SOMETHING!". Instead, I have sat in silence. Silence became a way of life. I never stood against wrongs in school and I certainly did not feel like a justice-seeker in life. Over the course of the past few years, life has changed.

     As I sat with the whirling thoughts in my mind (get to know me and you'll realize I always have whirling thoughts), I couldn't stop thinking of the injustice that was allowed every day. I looked at my children who were reading library books and living a contented life when the thought that seized my heart and filled my throat came: "Why not my kids? What stayed God's hands and placed us where we are with all we have?" The answer to that is simple: I have been given much, and much is required of me.

     The world does not lack evil. It is in every nook and cranny. Some of us take it on as pets, reading literature that is ripe with sex, lust and violence. It comes through our computers, televisions and even phone conversation. Evil is palpable. You can touch it, taste it, breathe it in with every seemingly free breath, but we try to "avoid" it as best we can. Christians will spend energy picking fights with other Christians instead of fighting for what we are called to, but that's another post altogether. We are both drawn to evil and silenced by it. We like the evil that serves our selfish desires, but fear the evil that seems to close in on us day by day. This is the problem we face.

     I have learned in the brief time I have been fighting trafficking that this evil lacks in appeal. Sex trafficking and human slavery are not pretty topics. They do not pull at the soft strings of the heart like orphans and natural disasters do. Instead, the thought of trafficking and enslavement is like nails on a chalk board or the very fingers of Satan pulling a rusty bow over an ill tuned violin...there is nothing in this talk that makes us "feel good". We can feel dirty just hearing about it, and we should. Trafficking has evolved because it has been allowed to evolve. Traffickers are highly educated philanthropists, thriving on our silence. There is nothing pretty involved in slavery. There is no quick fix, nor is there an easy button. We do not see the change we desperately want to be tied to, and the truth is we may never see it in our lifetime. And so we choose...we choose other areas to offer help. We choose to give to other callings. We choose to turn the radio off so our children won't hear it. We knowingly choose our own silence while victims bang on the door of our hearts knowing that for them, all hope is lost.

     It's hard to swallow I know. The first few times I tried to study trafficking, the first time I tried to speak with somebody involved, I choked. I couldn't read the statistics or allow myself to be fully present because it hurt on a level I had never experienced. I knew sickness, I knew death, I even knew the loss of a child.....but this, slavery, was a beast that I had no dealings with nor did I desire them.

     There are now more human souls enslaved than there were in the time of Abraham Lincoln. There are young men forced to work heavy labor, dying from malnutrition and sleep deprived accidents. There are young girls forced to be sexually objectified more than 20 times per day. There is no love here, and most are taught to believe they do not deserve any better. These things are happening all around us, yet we stay blinded like a horse drawing a buggy of contentment and comfort. Chisinau, Moldova is one of the largest exporters of human slaves, though it is also one of the smallest countries in Europe. In Ethiopia, girls as young as 8 are sold for sex for as little as 20 cents, American money. DAILY, this disaster is allowed to go on. Those of us who hold our silence have become comfortable with the pain of biting our own tongues.

     There is something I have been given that trafficking victims have had thoughtlessly stripped from them: my voice. I have the choice to not remain silent, no matter how big the enemy may seem. My continued silence does more to keep young women enslaved than their captors. My silence fortifies the thought that they really aren't worth anything. My silence has had its time. My voice must now take a stand. It's not a pretty calling, or a glamorous calling. I certainly don't get free swag or book deals and endorsements...but what I do receive is far greater. Existing in silence is not living. If we choose silence, we choose the same captivity as those who suffer slavery. The choice is ultimately yours. Will you stand? Or will you allow the world around you to simply happen? The choices we make now have no other option but to affect the waters around us. We can empower or we can impede...the choice is yours.


To find out more about Chisinau and the Safe Place we are funding, click HERE.

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