“I am not your boss your banker or your ‘boy” but I am your brother and I am here to help you change your world; to make a safe place for your family, gain an education for your children and an honorable income from your work. Together, we will change this world.”
This is how I begin each of my sessions with the wonderful people I get to work with in Asia who desire to change the circumstances of poverty and illiteracy that hinder their ability to provide for themselves and in the process we uncover what the Gospel teaches about the sanctity of life so that with the education and with the honorable job they stop trafficking of children into sex slavery. They begin to make freedom choices in their own communities. Acknowledging that man is made in the image of God is a major step and perhaps the most permanent step for a trafficking culture to recognize and accept.
Now going on three years engaged in the work in Asia, we find some very distinct expectations from the people we are called to engage:
- They expect that Americans (and any foreigners) will come in and insist on being the boss. After all, they are bringing the money and “expertise” and call it “their work”. The people have come to expect that we will be their boss and they will just be workers or at best middle managers with very little authority.
- They expect we will become the bankroll to do whatever work is undertaken. Foreigners are wealthy (by comparison this is correct) and if they come all this way they must be rich and willing to pay for whatever needs to be done.
- If a national can find a patron, someone who will bankroll the native persons own ideas, they often expect that we will just do as they wish and send short-term teams who drop goods, money and take lots of pictures but really have low expectations and very little accountability.
- There is a however a growing group of national young leaders who desire something much different. They desire responsibility and accountability. They also want someone to walk with them as an equal, not a boss, not a banker, not a “boy” but a brother. This is what we find so engaging, effective and powerful. This is what our supporters empower us to do.
The longer I am engaged in the battle to end modern day slavery, the more I see exactly the same pressures in our American culture and exactly the same tragic child trafficking results. Weak families, poor education, very limited job opportunities and a disregard for the sanctity of life lead to the same end results in first world countries as we see in third world countries. It is real. It is real bad. It is really wrong and it is really changeable.
We are stateside right now selling goods made in our village work programs. Villages where planted churches, previously marginalized in Buddhist communities are now gaining influence as they assist their own friends and family in education, economic opportunity and knowing the Good News of the Gospel.
If you are a supporter, we cannot express to you the depth of our appreciation and the significance of your support. If you are a supporter, our effort is your effort; we are teamed together in this work. Share the stories. Create awareness. When you hear the tragic stories, cry for a moment then fightback for a lifetime.
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