Reflecting

When Debbie and I determined to enter the battle of child sex trafficking I had one over-riding fear. An ambivalence to the atrocity because of our daily exposure to it in the context where it is so open and acceptable. As we were showing some new arrivals around the city several weeks ago I saw a man, 60ish, holding tightly to a young Khmer girl in the back of a Tuk Tuk driving down a Main Street in the busyness of the day. It was “normal”.  Except it’s NOT!

TearIt seemed obvious to me that the little girl’s face showed signs of insecurity and even perhaps fear. She shared no glances with the man as though he was a “grandfather” or someone familiar. They were racially dissimilar.  Nothing suggested the situation was comfortable.

The heat is our constant companion as are the smells and dust. We have grown accustomed to these sometimes not even noticing (well, we do notice the dirtiness that seems to cling to us each day).  But we have not grown hard to the plight of slavery and child sex slavery. It is still a repulsive atrocity that continues to gain ground in a world that has not seen the sanctity of a human life and the value of each person to a holy God who formed each one. These are lives! They have futures. They have dreams. But I assure you, that little girl, if my sighting was accurate, has never dreamed of the atrocity she was about to encounter. The future that her perpetrator might bring upon her.

Here, it is open and in public view. In the western world like the US, the Tuk Tuk is replaced with websites and seedy handlers who move people around wherever there is a hot market for young children as sex slaves.

This is a modern day atrocity. This is our generation’s battle to fight. Get in it to end it!

Help enable us here and in the US by engaging with an Awareness Event in your community. Contact Madetwentyseven@gmail.com for scheduling.

Make a personal or business donation to enable us to keep fighting and continue raising the awareness about this battle. Donate Here (Engage).

If you are already a supporter, the victories are your’s too. Tell a friend, share this blog, encourage others to engage as you have. Shops Made27.com for victim made goods that give honorable work and income to those lifting themselves from the world that has surrounded them with hopelessness. Your gift, your purchases, these bring hope.

Yes, we are in it to end it!  How about you?

When the work gets bigger than life!

Life offers few experiences so full, deep and exhilarating that they turn you inside out. We are in the midst of just such an experience as we engage in the battle to fight sex trafficking in the world.

But, darkness can be chased away!  The captives can be set free.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1 ESV)”

Look at these pictures shared by one of the members of a Entrepreneurs Roundtable I get to operate in Cambodia. Do you see the hope that is alive in these faces? These are people who have seen and felt the atrocity of sex trafficking. The have watched family members, sold away into a life where they will be abused and often they saw no way of helping.

But, Hope is alive and growing in them and it is infectious. They are changing the darkness around them to light. Wow!

To our donors, thank you. These are your people too! We really need some renewing and new partners.  Share this blog with friends who might be interested.  Together we can bring this to an end.

To engage and donate please click here.

Join the battle to end modern day slavery.

To host a Human Trafficking Awareness Event contact Made27 (madetwentyseven@gmail.com/www.made27.com). They will provide a speaker to your church, school, community group to help you lead the battle to fight trafficking in your area.

DO IT.  Every 30 Seconds there is a victim, between 27 and 30 million victims world-wide.  You could help save one.

2016 – See what God did through you – Thanks!

As we close the final page of the final month of 2016, those who support us financially and in prayer should know these highlights about the first 9 months of operations as Incurable Fanatics partnering with Cambodia Churches Association.

  1. Thru efforts cooperating with Made27, we held 29 US Human Trafficking Awareness Events raising a resounding alarm about this world wide atrocity reaching even a US military community in Germany.
  2. We initiated 3 Entrepreneur groups covering 9 villages with each operating through local Cambodian communities and churches to bring honorable work to families fighting poverty and the pressures of child trafficking.
  3. We have started and/or supported 10 artisan business units who now derive income that from skills they have natively as we help them sell goods beyond their local village or nearby city.
  4. We have initiated discipleship training to help young leaders grow in wisdom and biblical influence in their local community.
  5. We have worked alongside other orgs to advance education in a village once ravaged by child sex trafficking. Also we work alongside an education org to assist in English language study so that the young people gain education and work opportunities beyond the context of poverty where they live.
  6. We have developed a strong relationship with a Cambodian church planting group giving us continual opportunity to assist in village development.
  7. We have laid the ground work for a teacher training institute that will begin early in 2017 with its first group of trainees.

2017 is already looking quite full.

2017 Needs and how you can engage from afar and locally:

  • Short term volunteers to assist in the new English Teacher Training program.  Be a part of an active classroom with teachers in training and young Cambodian students in evening classes.  Give two weeks to young people who will adore your gift of teaching.
  • Short term volunteers to assist in both print and media information/infomercials to assist in the promotion and sale of village produced goods to American markets.
  • Short term volunteers to develop video media support for Awareness Events in the US.
  • Financially engaged churches on any level who partner with us to fight human trafficking, especially focused on sex trafficking of children.

For more info or details or to join our support team, visit www.IncurableFanatics.org and IOM-online.com

If you have not engaged in this modern day battle to end slavery in the world, consider that NOW might be the right time.

To offer an Awareness Event in your church, community, school or business, please contact madetwentyseven@gmail.com

Again, to our supporters, we thank God that He has touched your heart to partner with us in this work on a world-wide basis.

Difference makers or not? You decide.

So what is it we, Incurable Fanatics, actually do here?

How do we put our efforts into ending human trafficking by continuing our work in Cambodia and presenting Awareness Events in the US?

To our supporters, is our effort really making a difference? Is it significant enough to warrant your continued interest and support?fishing-village

Consider this.

These are questions we consider literally every day.  We get home dirty, tired and sometimes quite frustrated.  Other times we get home dirty, tired and amazed at the power of God to change the lives of people.

Here is a sample of what we do, an average day looks like this:
Meet with a church planting pastor who has identified a village or community where people have come to Christ and while now saved and eternity settled, they still face poverty and poor education.

  1. Visit the village and its leaders to determine the existing skills resident, sometimes for generations, within the village.
  2. Find a way to capitalize for their benefit on the skills that are already present.
  3. Offer project ideas for the village to develop into commercial products – usually things that we can help them sell beyond their borders and achieve a more western margin. The margin is the key to overcoming poverty and poor education.
  4. Publically assign credit for any project development and success to the local pastor and church to elevate the stature and influence of the church in the village.

So, here is how that plays out.  Saturday I met with the pastor and elders of an almost 10 year planted church.  A church dmending-netseep, very deep, in poverty.  The families are primarily fishermen by trade but when the rivers and ponds are not swollen, human trafficking is common.  Even within the starving families of the church who with great shame, still traffic children believing it is the only means of avoiding starvation and death.  The situations are desperate beyond comprehension.

In a common village like this, we find plentiful skill in making and repairing nets.  They know the right fibers, the right knots and the sources of the materials.  This is a skill set passed down from father to child – they get it.  Their lives depend on good nets made from good materials.

We present the opportunity to make other things. Items we can help them sell like bracelets and necklaces from the very same material and on the very same tables in the very same homes where they prepare nets.  The new items they can make can be sold abroad at significant margins to the workers and the path to overcoming poverty and providing education begins to come into view.

bracelets2And it is the local church-plant that gets the credit.  Not us.  Not the foreigner.  Not incurable Fanatics.  We are careful to make sure the local leaders are seen as the wise helpers and are present ourselves simply as people helping them.  And the church begins to grow in stature and become an integral component of the community.

This is just one example.  This is what we get to do every day.  This is God allowing us to help the movement of His compassion into people groups who feel captive to earthly despair.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor: he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV)

When we are invited to share in a church, community, or school in an Awareness Event with Made27 (Made27.com) we bring goods made in these villages by victims and at risk workers.  We become a voice that they cannot bring to the world themselves.  We become advocates for their freedom and their opportunities.

If you are an individual donor or a church that supports us regularly, please know we are enormously grateful to you for making our work possible.m27-sendhelp-logo-tag

If you are a business and sponsor our work, please use our stories in your business newsletters so that your clients and customers know what you are doing to advance freedom around the world.

If you have never been a part of our support team, OK, pray about it and maybe there will come a time when you too can engage and become part of the world-wide battle to end human trafficking.  Because God sent his Son to set ALL the captives free.  Together, we can work to set them free.

IncurableFanatics.org   /   Made27.com

Tax-deductible Donation portal:  IOM-online.com (Missionaries, Asia, Pete &  Debbie Livingston)

I Know A Slave

I Know a Slave.

An indentured slave sat in my apartment today and sobbed her heart out. As Pete and I both encircled her with our arms and prayers, she poured out her grief and fear, not for herself but for her 8 year old brother.

IndntureThis is the story of S (name hidden to protect her – she is in present danger for even approaching us).

Without parents or family, S left her rural province to take a job with a foreign Madam as a cleaner in a Phnom Penh apartment building. For $60 a month she has boarded at the Madam’s house while working 7 days a week – morning to night – cleaning, washing and sweeping day after long day. No days off. S had no family to take care of her or her brother.  Father divorced the mother for a younger wife and mother fled the village to eek out survival for herself.  Children abandoned.  So S came to the city to earn a wage to support her brother and herself.   She was just 12 years old when she took this responsibility.  Brother lives with the monks in a pagoda in their province. Monthly S tries to send money to provide food for her little brother, but she frequently falls short and has to borrow money.

S is smart, hardworking and trustworthy.  She is also illiterate, desperately poor, vulnerable and spiritually lost.

Fast forward 8 years and S now owes $3000 with interest growing faster than payments can be made.  It may as well be $3 million to her. Her life ahead is a long continuous drudge to pay off her debt while still supporting a little brother she never sees and agonizes is okay.

Until today.Tear

For a 20 year old Khmer woman to take this risk to share her story with us is short of miraculous. Her embarrassment, shame, and fear she will be found out by Madam is palpable on her face. In her very limited English and our very limited Khmer, she asks, “You help children?”

She doesn’t want much….nothing for herself. Just a better life for her little brother. A safe place where he won’t be sexually violated, sold into labor trafficking or hooked on meth with rural gangs. A place where he can get an education and learn.

I (Debbie) come from a country with so many choices. But, here S has no choice. She must stay and work until an impossible debt is paid off and which grows bigger each day. She must stay and live in fear the Madame will find out she’s told someone of her struggles. S will never have a day off to enjoy a meal out, go to school, see a movie or hangout with friends. For now, slavery is her only option.

But, God…

“ But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4–5)

Jon Bloom says, “These two words are overflowing with gospel. For sinners like you and me who were lost and completely unable to save ourselves from our dead-set rebellion against God, there may not be two more hopeful words that we could utter. “(Desiring God)

There is hope for S. There is hope for me. And it came in the form of a baby sent to earth to grow, die and be resurrected for my sin. Once a slave, now set free.

There is hope for S and her little brother. It lies in the person of Jesus Christ.

Pray for S and Divine Wisdom as we minister to this precious one.  This is what we do.  Thanks for joining us in support of this work.

If you are a donor, thank you so very much.  If you are not, please consider supporting this work.  Lives are changing.   Give when and if you can.  Click ENGAGE above for info.

Make a difference with what you wear?

Is what you wear more than just a garment?

There is more to what you wear than just how you look.  The garments you wear have a story to tell.  The story of the garments you buy includes the story of the life of those who make them.  Many, are trafficking victims.  We are in a fight to end it.  We see many lives changing.  The garments we sell are the handiwork of victims of human trafficking, often a recovering sex trafficking victim.  Your purchase is a piece of their rescue.

human-trafficking2Debbie and I are engaged in a cause focused effort seeking to provide hope and restoration to those victims of trafficking.  We engage in education initiatives, job training for victims so that they can overcome their past and move into a hopeful future. A future they could not imagine without help.  The garments made in one of our village development enterprises is made by the hands of a victim who is being assisted in ending a life of abuse that surrounds them.  Your garment gives them hope for better tomorrows.  Your garment is a piece of restoration.

SilversmithWe are now working with village craftsmen making garments, beautiful hand crafted jewelry, and items native to their community.  We then work to develop export opportunities so that the profit they make provides a sustainable, non-weather dependent income.   Your garment is a piece of reintegration.

Parents who once trafficked a child into brothels and KTVs (night clubs with “girls available”) in order to feed a family now have hope and KTV signmeans to feed, educate and care for their children without the atrocity of sex-trafficking.  The wage they earn, the opportunities we offer, fill the void that once seemed impossible without engaging in the tragedy of trafficking.  Your garments are a piece of prevention.

What you wear is really much more than just how it makes you look.  You are changing lives when you purchase fair trade items for yourself and as gifts.  The story spreads with each item purchased.  Your garments are a part of a cause to end this atrocity.

To purchase limited edition fair trade items from our enterprises, visit www.made27.com or on Facebook, @made27.

For more information our visit website, aim.radicallymarried.com or on Facebook: @sendhelpincurablefanatics.  We are Incurable Fanatics in this cause.  We are a donor supported operation.  You can support our work directly by going to the website and selecting ENGAGE to make your tax deductible donation. Donate if and when you can.

Thank you for being a part of changing lives.  We hope to hear what you are wearing.

Joy Unimaginable

Sometimes in this battle for lives trapped in modern day slavery, it seems as hopeless as painting over termite infested walls and patching Spacklinga few holes; like we are only making things look better. But then it happens, someone sees there is hope and a future in Christ and there is joy unimaginable.  Truly, we are seeing enormous progress and new life directions are becoming more common. So is the end to the filth of treacherous perpetrators. Every rescue uncovers more victims deeper within the travesty of human trafficking. More opportunities to set captives free with an understanding of the work of the Gospel.

Recently, a young, very young girl just 7 years old, was caught in the trap of a brothel and efforts to find her have not been fruitful and this brings frustration. But knowing that the helpless need help and that Christ sent help for me when I was helpless, I know we are right in the middle of what is right to do. These are thoughts I have at the end of a long week when I must remind myself that we are working with and seeing change one life at a time. Freedom is slow but it is happening.

When one child is imagedelivered from a trafficked life, or one family gains enough work so that their children are not for sale, then we know it is a very worthy work. Even just one life is worth all the effort. As the Word of God says, when Christ enters in, “all things are new”. When a generation or two fail to understand the Gospel, they fall into natural choices and that leads quickly and deeply into horrendous sin. That is Cambodia, that is much of the world where the Gospel has not yet penetrated the lives and living of people. Following Christ is so much more than just saying a prayer and being baptized or growing up in a Christian family or going to church. Following Christ is actually about letting him lead your daily life. Not some decisions but all decisions. And that following, as these victims and high risk families are learning, takes them to a joy unimaginable. This is our work. This is our joy. To our supporters, this is your joy too!

Engage Now if you can. Pray always. Share this blog with a friend.

Visit Made27.com for victim produced items and help them earn an honorable living.

One Life, One Village at a time.

There is a certain glitter and sparkle in the eyes of child when they look up to their mommy’s eyes. This gaze acts like a magnet drawing them together for the great celebrations of joy in life and through the most tragic of circumstances. Moms and their kids can connect without words. It only takes a look, a meeting of the eyes and all that needs to be said is said.

traffickedOr, so it should be. Increasingly in the world today it does not work that way.

Slavery is outlawed in every country in the world, and yet it exists widely. There remain enormous, almost unbelievable, numbers of individuals trapped in slavery. The most commonly accepted estimate is 27 million people worldwide RIGHT NOW serving in some capacity by threat of force, drugs, starvation, harm to family and other means of coercion. This figure is staggering.

80% of all slaves are sex slaves, 50% are children, many not even yet teenagers. It is possible to get lost in the magnitude of the atrocity and wonder if fighting back can make a difference. Not only can it make a difference, it is!

We have engaged in work where the sparkle is gone from the eyes of many. We have emersed ourselves in a place where mommy has frequently been a dangerous person. Where mom and dad are sometimes the most vile people in a child’s life.

SilversmithTogether we are doing more than rescue kids and more than prosecute traffickers. Together we are entering villages and educating the children for the future. We are establishing micro-businesses that provide positive economic opportunities. We train the next generation of teachers and community leaders. We work alongside the local church to see that the Gospel permeates village life.

Together, we are seeing change. Together, we are making a difference. Together, we are ending the atrocity of sex trafficking one community at a time. You may have a part in all of this.

We want you to pray for this endeavor and if you can, support the work through the SENDHELP! Funding Campaign. Also, by purchasing survivor/ at-risk worker created products at www.Made27.com

For more information on the work, corporate sponsorship or tax-deductible donations please visit aim.radicallymarried.com Or contact us: Pete.livingston@gmail.com or debbieglivingston@gmail.com

We can help you prepare your community, school, business and church be a positive impact for fighting back where you live. Contact www.Made27.com to begin an Awareness Campaign in your area.

Connect – change lives

 

imageOur job is to do all things we can to end the trafficking of humans.  This is a crime we can all find a way to fight but we must fight it together.  Jobs change economic conditions, education changes opportunities but it is the Gospel that changes hearts.  These three need to be brought together to bring lasting change.  That is what we endeavor to do – in Asia, in America.  Through Awareness events and the sale of victim-made goods. Through on the field work with families at risk.

We hope you will read below and see how lives are joining in the battle. We pray you find your role in fighting in this cause. We hope you will consider supporting our work and sharing our partnership with your friends.

As awareness of child trafficking grows and as the Lord sets people free wherever and however they connect.  We share notes of our work enabled through your support.  This is from a person who attended a recent event.  Blessings abound!

“Hi Debbie, I heard you & Pete speak on Friday night and I wanted to send you this picture & a message to pass along. I love this beautiful bracelet, but more importantly, what a blessing to pray for the beautiful lady that made it. Her name is known not only to our Father, but also halfway around the world to another woman whose shame has been undone & redeemed in His presence. Thank you again for sharing! Enjoy your time with family.”

imageJoin us in Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio and California as we continue to share the stories of freedom that come from the work of the Gospel in the lives of people who have been abused and trafficked but are now being restored.  (Contact us for dates and locations)

What joy will fill your soul as you become a part of new beginnings in lives of otherwise forgotten people.

Please engage with us.  If you are a donor, thank you so much.  If you are not yet, please prayerfully consider joining as supporters in the battle.

And please, share this post.

Donate here when you can.

Sok’s new life.

What is the life situation that results in someone being sold by their own family into slavery?  Are modern day slaves people who have chosen a fringe life and then get stuck there?  Have you thought much about modern day slavery? How does someone get trapped?  What does it take to get out?  How does someone in a sex slave environment climb out and reach a point where they can reach back and help others?  It’s happening and we are engaged in the battle to see that it happens more. Let me introduce you to my friend Sok (not actual name).

As an orphan child, he was cared for by his already impoverished aunt who had children of her own – two girls slightly older than Sok.  Poverty and no education were circumstances his aunty could not overcome by usual means.  She was poor, very poor.  In their village the schools required students to pay each day they entered the classroom.  No money – very harsh treatment from the teacher and no school that day.  There was never money for school.  The waters were low in the rivers and fish ponds and the heat was intense so there were no fish too eat.  The same drought conditions caused rice paddies to go dry and there were no rice planting jobs to earn a meager living. So there would be no harvest – no food. They would go hungry.  The animals were starving and could find no water either.  Conditions were bleak.  But this was what every year’s dry season was like.  Always, six sometimes seven months there was no rain.

In order to survive, Sok went to a pagoda and began training to be a monk.  He was there more than 10 years.  Monks could go door to door and even the most starving household would have to give them food even if onKTV signly a morsel.  But it was more than what was at home and it reduced the burden on his aunty.

Remember the two girls, Sok’s cousins?  Things finally got very desperate and without food aunty encouraged the girls to go to a local KTV (local karaoke/night club) where they could earn some money if they sold themselves to men who for a few dollars could touch them at will, for a few more dollars could hold them and touch them any way they desired and for a few dollars more…………  Every day. Continue reading