Lately, HOPE61 in Australia…
1. I spoke about the opportunity for HOPE61 in South Korea at the first ever Dynamic Women Australia meeting. Dynamic Women is a ministry of OMS, mobilizing women to go on short term trips. It just launched here in Australia.
2. A small group from the Bongers’s church invited me to speak. We had a great discussion on human trafficking, the implication of legalizing prostitution, and how God calls us to do new things. (For me it was missions.)
3. HOPE61’s awareness campaign, “What’s in a Name?” launches in just 2 weeks at the start of the Unshackled music festival!
I spent this past weekend on “the other side of town,” “over the Yarra,” etc. In other words I was in Tullamarine, privileged to be a part of the first Dynamic Women meeting in Australia. I met Colleen, the new and first coordinator of Dynamic Women Australia. God allowed me to speak on HOPE61 and what we’re looking forward to in South Korea. On Sunday Ian, Josie, & the kids came up so Ian could preach at Living Hope church and commission Colleen for missionary service.
One of the best parts of the weekend was on Saturday, when someone challenged me. We were talking about human trafficking in general. The gruesome statistics that are more than stats, but a slight representation of real people and real souls. I said something about HOPE61 which didn’t get much response. Then I referenced the hands-on work Bethany, HOPE61 trainer funding to go to Thailand, did in Asia before joining OMS. Then this person was brought to life.
“That’s doing something!” they said. “I don’t understand how someone can know about human trafficking and not do anything about it.”
I thought I knew what they were referring to but I wanted to make sure. They clarified that yes, they meant HOPE61. They couldn’t see how HOPE61 is really doing anything to fight human trafficking. I gave an answer that I hope brought some understanding, but I bring this up now because I really did appreciate that as a highlight of my weekend. Why? I crave the honesty from people like this who don’t agree with HOPE61 or don’t get it. When someone tells me what they really think, I’m excited. (And seriously, this person is awesome. If you’re reading right now, you know who you are, I think you’re pretty cool.)
For another thing, it gave me the chance to think about why I’m a part of HOPE61. What do I believe is actually happening? How can we “justify” speaking about human trafficking when we know the reality? Why aren’t we out there “getting our hands dirty?” I wonder if some of you who regularly read this blog disagree with HOPE61 or are frustrated by it but haven’t said anything. Considering that, I thought it was time to be a bit more clear. Let’s tell the truth.
When it comes to the 27 million slaves today, HOPE61 exists to raise awareness and equip the Church. But are”prevention,” “awareness,” and “equipping” just nice ways of saying “I’m into social justice without the inconvenience of doing anything?”
There are three reasons why human trafficking PREVENTION is vital to the fight for the abolition of the slave trade. There are three reasons why we can’t do without “raising awareness” and “equipping the Church.”
1. As a ministry of a Christian missions organization we believe Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to freedom. No, we really believe this. I do believe Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. This doesn’t make me narrow minded. I have liberty in this. I am so in love with Jesus, so joyful at all the ways He’s pulled me from the miry clay, that I really want others to know about Him too. I would be selfish if I soaked up God’s love and sat around chewing gum or something. All to say, HOPE61’s emphasis on evangelism is key because spiritual freedom is the only thing that lasts. Physical release doesn’t equal freedom, but Jesus gives us a hope that is with us in all kinds of vulnerable situations. Justice is a natural result of the Gospel. If we’re really following Christ, really seeking Him and following His example for us, then our actions should oppose those things that aid and abet human trafficking. ( i.e. pornography, gender inequality, sexualization of our culture, objectification of man or woman.) Christians are called to justice. If you’re following Jesus Christ but you don’t think you’re called to this issue, contact me! Let’s talk.
2. Let’s use Bethany as an example since I mentioned her before (and she’s not here to stop me). Bethany‘s love for the Thai people and especially for those exploited or vulnerable is beautiful and admirable. Alone, with the Holy Spirit in her, Bethany can do a lot…but even Bethany would say she can’t do it all. Instead of settling for one “Bethany” why don’t we create more by sharing our passion with the Church? Equipping them to address injustice? Mobilization is a must. If more people aren’t moved to action by those already passionately speaking out, this movement is going nowhere fast. By increasing the number of “Bethanys” in this world, we strengthen the hand of justice.
3. Reality: human trafficking is spreading. There are more slaves today than at any other time in history. Slavery has not weakened with time or the approach of modernity. Instead, it has increased. Without prevention we’ll continue putting out a fire on our right as fire springs up to the left and in front of us. HOPE61 is committed to doing our part to prevent the spread of modern day slavery.
…In our finite reasoning I think prevention can be hard to grasp because it’s not visible. This is slow work. Even after I’ve worked with OMS & HOPE61 for 30 years, I may not be able to show you the girls who never experienced the filth of a brothel floor because of the PREVENTION work God led us to do. But I believe those girls will exist, Jesus knowing their names, angels rejoicing in their safety and whole, complete freedom.
Rescued slaves are precious and their stories catch our ears.
But isn’t that sweet one (that man, woman, boy, girl) who because of prevention lived their life safely out of the grasp of slavery — isn’t that one precious, too?
Questions I didn’t answer? Things you want to say?
Comment or email me at catchcolorjustice @gmail.com
You’re rad, thanks for reading!