Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Church Can Help Let Freedom Ring for Modern-Day Slaves

Sometimes our hearts yearn for a place where everyone can agree or at least be respectful in our differences.

And there is such a place in today's world--the place most every one really wants to celebrate freedom-- common ground where almost everyone can agree. Despite all the outrage being expressed on social media, there's still one thing almost every person regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation can agree upon and that's the importance of finding solutions to protect our kids--all kids, even those who are LGBT--from modern-day slavery. (Did you know that they are trafficked, too, and by some accounts are considered at especially high risk?)

No individual or group can fight this battle alone. It's a place where the Body of Christ can lead the way by coming together in unity to protect those most vulnerable, young people desperately looking for love. Where better to find it than among Christ-followers? And, that's what makes coalitions like CADE (Christians Actively Demolishing Exploitation) and FIAT (CARE 18's Faith Initiative Against Trafficking) so critically important. Both of these collaborative efforts in Southern California are made up of Christians determined to live lives of significance by loving their neighbors as Jesus loved us--beyond our differences, while dead in our sins. We got to know Him because He first loved us just the way we were.

When we consider young girls or boys being held in bondage: tortured, raped, and believing a trafficker's lies that they are worthless and no one cares--how can we not do something, even if it's just ONE thing? Yet too many churches don't make the time to edudcate their congregations about what's happening in their own community. Some believe they already have too much going on. It's precisely where there's lots happening that college-aged kids, youth volunteers, parents, and family ministries need to be aware of how they can help while doing what they do anyway. What they don't realize is that all it takes is a little education to bring awareness of trafficking into existing programs. (Did you know that health care workers encounter victims and so do teachers? But they know how to identify victims and what to do if they suspect someone being held in bondage, they can't help.) Doesn't the Church have a responsibility to do all they can to help those who can't help themselves. It's right here in the midst of this battle where we can most show respect for each other, hear each other, and learn from one another. By doing that the Church just might become known more for their love than for what they're against.

On July 25th there's a conversation taking place at Purpose Church in Pomona (formerly Pomona First Baptist). It will be an easy opportunity for believers to get up to speed on what's happening in our own neighborhoods. Every one is welcome at this quarterly meeting of the Faith Initiative Against Trafficking, a part of CARE 18. Every ONE Free (formerly Traffick Free Pomona) is even offering a free breakfast along with an HT101 training at 9:00 a.m. for those who need to learn the basics. For those already familiar with modern-day slavery, there will be a continental breakfast and time to network until 10:00 a.m. when three speakers will address how God's already at work in this fight. Then there will be workshops--one of the most exciting will be a focused conversation for men to discuss how men can come together to take a stand, decrease demand, and make a major difference.

Please, if you live in greater Los Angeles, regardless of which county, take time to increase your awareness and participate in fighting something we can all agree on--it's evil. You can register here

Though the official start time is 10:00 a.m., please come at 9:00 and join us for breakfast and either HT 101 or networking.

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