Ministry: Kids

Does Sensationalism Sell?

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


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!


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.


_D2X0049 The volcano is Iceland impacted our lives in Moldova as well as in western Europe.  We were supposed to have a huge team from Rockford, Illinois come for a week, serving in the village of Cornesti.  Because of the airport shutdowns, they were forced to cancel.

The church in Cornesti decided to go ahead and do Saturday's outreach anyway, a fun day with lots of guests and lots of fun.  Probably 400-500 people came out to the site, where they heard the Good News of Christ's love, listened to some great music, and received a gift a food from the Church (and Convoy of Hope Europe).

_D2X0233The kids had a blast at the carnival-style games area.  Donna donned her clown costume, and I think she was the most popular person there.  Even adults wanted a photo with her!  She was dreaming about going to Clown College after that, just to add some skills to her clowning!

 But we need to pray for Cornesti and the church there.  There are some heavy things going on with the newly purchased building, and one woman caught in a crossfire.  We need to pray for God's miracle in that situation, with threats of violence.  We need God to change some hearts of some bad people, and open a safe door for the church and the one individual.

A Lucky Father of 3 Girls, but with many additional "daughters."

God blessed Nancy and I with three beautiful girls.  We are incredibly proud of each of them, their uniqueness.  But now our family gets to be "parents" or uncle, aunt, and sisters to a bunch of other kids.  This is Veronica, the daughter of one of the gals at the the Home of Hope.  She is almost two, a total stinker with a cute smile.  Not bad at all, just inquisitive.  I can't leave anything within her reach!


I'm a pretty lucky uncle.


I never forget a face.  I know that is no doubt exaggerated, but faces seem to stick in my mind.  Sometimes that is good, when I need to remember a colleague or friend.

But other times, I remember the faces and hurt for them.

Waukesha_1023Moldova is very poor, and some villages and families are even worse.  As I work with the churches here, I realize that it always the kids that have it the hardest.  They are they ones at the greatest risk.

They don't have enough to eat, or proper medical care.
They don't have a parent sober enough to care for them.
They barely have clothes to wear or shoes to protect their feet.

I see the situation of much of humanity and wonder why any would even exalt the concept of humanism, that mankind is "god" and that we can solve the world's problems.  Mankind hasn't done a very good job so far! 

Some would point that same finger back at God, and wonder how He could allow such pain to happen to this world.

But God has done something.  He came.  And suffered.  And bled.  And died.

Jesus cares for little anonymous girls like the one above.
And He calls us to do the same.