Well, here I am with Part 2. Happily my stomachache never amounted to anything & I slept soundly until 5:45 AM, when I awoke without explanation!
There are ministries and individuals and groups that rescue women, men, and children out of slavery. This is incredibly brave and important to the fight against human trafficking; but these rescuers would tell you that for every person rescued, there are many more still oppressed. It’s because of that uneven ratio that HOPE61 sends trainers to do human trafficking education & prevention.
In Ireland Lauren & I will put this into practice in a few ways. Perhaps one of the main avenues is by living within an Irish community & being involved in an Irish church; rather than living apart. If you’re into terms, this is “incarnational ministry.” Sure, most missions organizations claim it as a way of life…and for good reason. By providing education on this subject with our friends & neighbors, we hope to see not only Christians inspired to root slavery out of their own country, but also see prevention among the Irish themselves – who are also at risk for prostitution and human trafficking in its many forms.
In Part 1 I briefly mentioned the law and levels of enforcement. Realistically, I don’t know that Lauren and I – foreigners living in Dublin for only 2 years – can or should go political and lead protests insisting that the Irish government do a better job enforcing their laws. But we can point out the success that has come through tight enforcement of anti-trafficking laws. (For example, Sweden.) While not our focus, this could be a positive inspiration we give to the Irish Christians we’ll be working with.
Then there’s the topic of revival among the Church in the country. Want to know a little dream and hope of mine? As I learned about trafficking and injustice in the world today, I became more compassionate & my relationship with God grew in incredible ways as He changed my heart. I have been given passion that I never would have had before! I want to see Irish Christians revitalized with compassion for others that will also translate into a new passion and love for Jesus Christ. Somehow, seeking to follow Him makes everything different.
More Practical Action Specifics:
Bible studies in the church on issues of justice, compassion, spiritual fervor.
Perhaps lectures/seminars at a Bible school the Odens are connected with.
Discussions & brain-storming with Christians & people within our “home” church there to decide how to put this information into practice.
Connecting that home church with other churches that might be interested in similar programs.
There are also a few anti-trafficking groups in Ireland & Dublin specifically, that work more in rescue & restoration; it would be neat to connect with them as well.
Taking action steps ourselves & begin meeting the men, women, & children are vulnerable to being trafficked, becoming traffickers, or fueling demand – getting to know them, ministering to them by providing for their needs & showing love, and, we hope, being able to tell them about Jesus.
*Note here: part of Lauren & my intensive 3-month-training before Ireland will involve this. We won’t just be jumping out on the street!
And we want to meet & get to know people in our community…not only for purposes of prevention, but because we genuinely want to see them grow closer to Jesus…to see families strengthened & hearts made whole.
Lauren and I have both had our hearts broken and we’ve had them restored. We’ve been given compassion and a second chance from a righteous God, even though we are unrighteous human beings. We’ve never been enslaved in human trafficking – but we’ve been enslaved by our own sin and personal injustices. Then we’ve been set free & filled with joy!
And as HOPE61’s first representation in Europe & second set of trainers to go out (the others going to the Philippines in early ’12 will be the first!), despite being the youngest trainers & fresh out of college, we want to live with love and see others choosing freedom.
If you have any more questions about what HOPE61 aims to do in Ireland, please ask away! : )