Overview | Project Rescue

•May 13, 2008 • 1 Comment

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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…” – Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

One of the first stories I ever heard about human trafficking was at a meeting where I learned about Project Rescue. The stories I heard were about young girls being sold into slavery, knowingly or unknowingly, by their parents. Their average age? Thirteen years old. These first stories I heard took place in parts of Asia; it wasn’t until later that I learned what a widespread problem human trafficking really is.

Several years have passed since I first started hearing these stories, but my emotional reaction has not changed – a mix of grief, anger, and hope. It may seem strange that hope would be a part of my reaction, but I can’t help but feel hopeful when I know that there are people out there like those who started Project Rescue.

Project Rescue was started in 1997 when K.K. Devaraj and some of his co-workers from Bombay Teen Challenge (a rehab program) discovered what was going on in their midst. Their desire to help addicts had opened the door to a new mission: rescue and restore children who had been sold into sexual slavery.

Today Project Rescue operates full-time in 9 cities across Southern Asia, with plans to expand into the former Soviet Union.

Without getting into the details of how the program operates, what it comes down to is this: Project Rescue rescues children from sexual slavery, builds safe houses for them to live, and provides them with education, food, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the One who truly sets us free.

If you would like to partner with Project Rescue, contact them at ProjectRescue.com.

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Issue | Human Trafficking

•May 2, 2008 • 1 Comment

“Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'” – Matthew 25:40 (MSG)

If asked to name the three most profitable industries in the world, which ones would come to mind? Oil? Diamonds? Hollywood? Nope. The three most profitable industries in the world are illegal narcotics, arms dealing, and slavery.

Wait, what? Slavery? Didn’t we get past that over a hundred years ago?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders world wide. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.”

Those numbers include nations across every inhabited continent on the Earth. And yes, it also includes the United States, Canada, and other Western nations.

Slavery is not a thing of the past. It is a reality for millions of men, women, and children who are living as slaves today. Surely, if anyone in the world is “overlooked or ignored,” it is them.

The good news is that this issue is coming more and more into the light. There are organizations, both private and government-run, that are working to combat it. Some of them are international, like Project Rescue, whereas others work here in the U.S. In the next few days I will be posting some overviews of various organizations that are trying to rescue and restore the victims of human trafficking. My challenge to you is to partner with one of them. If you would like to find more information about organizations in your area, check out the resources at HumanTrafficking.org – in the U.S. and around the world.

What? Why?

•April 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“Taking it wherever it goes.” – Delirious?

One cold Winter night in 2005 (I believe it was New Year’s Eve, as a matter of fact) I was meandering through a large convention center in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. I was there for an event called the World Missions Summit, and the convention center was tightly packed with missions organizations and missionaries, all of whom were practically begging all of the 4,000 students in attendance to come and work with them. That in itself was quite an experience. The words of Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” (Matthew 9:37) was constantly at the forefront of my mind.

At the Summit I committed to giving a year to missions, along with about 700 other students. I went to Asia. I did my year. Then I came home. That’s a whole other story, but one of the things I realized when I got back was that my job was not over.

I had always heard in church that “missions” is not just something missionaries do, that we’re all supposed to be missionaries, wherever we are – at work, at school, wherever. That finally hit home for me when I returned from having lived the life of a missionary. What I did in Asia was not something separate from the rest of my life. Rather, it was one more step in the lifelong journey that God is bringing me on.

I don’t know where this site will go, but I know God will lead me there.

The Beginning

•April 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The quote for the tagline is from the book of Matthew, chapter 4, verses 19 and 20. Jesus had just spent 40 days fasting and resisting all of the temptations that the devil could throw at him, and he overcame. He has just begun his ministry, preaching the Kingdom of God, and he finds himself walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There he sees two brothers, Peter and Andrew, fishing from their boat. He calls to them, and they become the first of the twelve disciples.

What happens at this historic moment is twofold: Jesus calls them, and they respond. They had a choice – they could have said to themselves, “This Jesus guy is famous, he could be special, but we don’t need to get involved, it’s too dangerous.” But that’s not how they responded. They answered Jesus’ call, and the rest is history.

Jesus is still calling, and we have a choice. We can sit idly by and watch the world go ’round the sun, affecting nothing, or we can answer the call and become ἁλιεύς ἄνθρωπος – halieus anthrōpos – fishers of men.