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December 2010
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February 2011

Creative Partners

I think it is always amazing how can brings people together utilizing their gifts to build His body.  I know it is a biblical principle, something you can read about in the Apostle Paul's letters.  But it still amazes me.

I am amazed at the way that God brought Aaron and Gina into contact with us.  Aaron is an incredible web designer, and he is working on helping us create the website for the Freedom Home.  He has the skills and the heart to reach women who have been trafficked.  He is using his skills to accomplish a part of it.

Or a friend in Montana who has a degree in design and photography.  She volunteered to give us a hand with design and layout.  She is using a logo designed by another friend, tweaking it and working with it to help us get printed materials.

We each have something to offer to God.  Giving is not just about money.  It is about offering yourself, all of you--your talents, your skills, your spiritual gifts, your time.

I cannot wait to see what our friends come up with in regards to each of these areas.  But what is important is that we have an ever-expanding team of people that has a part of this work.

Glad to be a part of the body of Christ.


Does Sensationalism Sell?

I have a small pet peeve, something that really gets my blood pressure slightly elevated.

Sensationalism.

This whole post comes about some thoughts I have about a recent email letter I received. The headlines were “Stop Human Trafficking!”. Of course, the letter ended by “send us money,” but perhaps that is the answer to my heading above.

Obviously, one of our main ministries relates to the anti-trafficking world directly. The Freedom Home is a long-term restoration home for girls who have been trafficked. The staff there have huge hearts, laboring to help these girls find healing from wounds the depth of which most of us have no comprehension.

When we learn the stories of what girls have faced and experienced, it IS very shocking to the senses; which probably means it is “sensational.” But my disgust of “sensational” is more towards people that scream the “issue of the day” in order to gain funds.

Human trafficking IS a hot-button topic of today, but is everyone doing “anti-trafficking?”

If I put up a playground at a church, I’m doing anti-trafficking, because I’m making a place for kids to come and have fun, safer than at home.
If I do development work, or micro-credit loans to start businesses, I’m doing anti-trafficking. A job will keep a young girl in Moldova rather than tempting her abroad.
If I work with orphans, I guess I’m preventing trafficking, but 98% would never have been trafficked anyway. And there is still trafficking, even from the orphanages where the organizations work.

But what really is this all about? What is my gripe? Remember when HIV/AIDS in Africa was the Big Thing. (Yes, it still is an issue to be addressed, but it isn’t the media’s darling anymore). Everyone was doing HIV/AIDS work. It didn’t matter if they did wells or built community centers, fed kids or did mass evangelism. The topic of HIV/AIDS would come up in their headline.It was a SHOUT because everyone was concerned about that issue.

So does sensationalism sell? And what should we be doing about it?

I have a couple of quick thoughts, but I’d love to hear your comments.

First, there ARE a lot of sensational stories in the world. The tragedies and horrors that abound, make moving copy. Our first question should always be, “Why am I sharing this sensational story (or what am I reading)? If the motivation is self-benefit (and that can be twisted in a lot of different ways), then we should resist. If it is to say, “Look at me!”, then we obviously need to stop.

Second, is the sensational story exploitive? Do I have permission to share something so horrific? Am I using this to challenge and provoke people from apathy?

I am not sure of all my thoughts on this issue, but I sure wish we could quit having Christian organizations sound like a sensational mainline news outlet.   And let’s have a little discernment done by all of us as we listen to the sensationalistic garbage!

Thoughts?

PS: Side note, but my first question I ask all works is: What church do you work with in that country? Do you work with the national church? If the answer is muddy or not given, distrust.


Story All Too Common

I had a friend forward an all-too-familiar story to me last week.  (Click here for the link to read the article).  The author shares the story again of victims of trafficking, something we are well aware of.

Freedom Home was started with a vision to restore women who had already faced the horror of trafficking.  We've always believed that each woman is still immeasurably valuable, and even if her past is horrendous, she is still a human being.

She is valuable.
She is redeemable.
She is to have a future.

Of course, our perspective also includes the spiritual.  We know that only Christ can do the ultimate miracle of restoration.  God is the one that can once again lift up her head to see how loved and valued she is.  Jesus is the only one that can resurrect the emotional dead.

And it is fun to see those miracles happening before our eyes.  Every day at the Freedom Home is a day to witness a miracle.  Yes, there are lots of crises and headaches, but there are also miracles.  God is slowly changing and transforming lives.

And I pray that there will be many more in 2011 that can be restored.