1 John 4:19
We love, because he first loved us.
One of the reasons two people fall in love is because of how they feel about themselves when they are with each other. They allow each other to feel accepted and beautiful. They inspire one another to be their best. 1 Corinthians 13 says:
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends;
When we are rejected by someone we love, or that love is not reciprocated , that love takes on a different form. When that happens it can become a blessing. It can be God’s way of showing us how He loves us even when we didn’t love Him. He trusts us enough to have a glimpse of how He loves, to personally experience love incarnate. Instead of feeling disappointed, we should feel delighted and privileged that He wants us to experience that type of love. So, be glad, rejoice and keep loving!
It can seem overwhelming at times as we begin to address the oppressions associated with human trafficking. It is one thing to bring awareness about racism, violence (in all it’s forms), sexual abuse and pornography (just to name a few). But it is another thing to really talk about it (both one on one and in a group). Each of these sensitive issues affect people in so many different ways. There are many life experiences that give each person a different perspective.
Yes, there are facts and statistics that need to be shared. They make us realize the reality of it all. But more importantly, these statistics are actually people whose lives have been affected, carrying deep wounds that need to be healed. And yes, WE are those people. In order for barriers between gender, generation, races, religion etc., we need to learn how to better communicate. Here are just a few prayers with scripture to help us:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing.
As we speak for others (or for ourselves), we can actually do more harm than good. We may think we are protecting some while oppressing others. I have realized that from being on both sides of the spectrum. It is important to speak our opinion, yet in an appropriate way.
Help us to better at communicating our words to others:
Give us wisdom, and discretion
My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding; that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.
A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Teach us to speak words that give life, honor and respect
Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.
to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.
Give us your words, not our own
Take control of what I say, O LORD, and keep my lips sealed.
Please protect our hearts, and teach us to not let our own pain influence our words
Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Help us to let go of all bitterness and anger
but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Speaking from my own experience, I can understand how important it is to be listened to and to listen to others. A good listener is a gift from God
Lord, give us an attentive ear to the needs and emotions of those around us:
Give us patience to listen first
Proverbs 18: 13
If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame
Humble us! Help us receive words of instruction
If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you have turned your back on knowledge.
Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.
Humble us! Heal us from selfishness
Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Heal us, Teach us not to be offended
Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
My last prayer is that through shining light in the darkness, by being courageous enough to discuss painful and difficult things, God gets glorified! I pray that He uses those very things that have seperated us to unite us! I pray that as we learn to communicate about painful things, we learn to hear each other’s deep pain with the love of our Father.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind – Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are – I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me.
Dear Fellow Justice Seekers,
I would like to share a few things that I have been learning about recently. As you know, human trafficking is multifaceted and complicated. There are many root issues, spiritual battles, and related injustices that need to be addressed. The more I try to be a bridge builder connecting all these facets, the more I learn from others involved in helping end it. My prayer is that as I share my observations, you will learn alongside me, and that you will be inspired to action.
Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?
I recently attended a High Risk Youth Network monthly breakfast put on by the Black Ministerial Alliance. The guest speakers were members of the Boston Police Department. According to them, since the Marathon bombing there have been 35+ shootings in Boston. As you know, violence brings on more violence. They explained some of the ways they are working against this violence in the city. It was very encouraging to hear how they are working to end gang violence among other violent acts. I was inspired to hear that they work with the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston TenPoint Coalition, as well as many other clergy members on an initiative called Operation Home Front. The Boston Police Department’s Operation Homefront is a unique program that allows police officials and clergy to work proactively with recognized at-risk youth, beginning with visits to the family in their homes. If you would like to get more involved you can email Superintendent William G. Gross ( Night Commander) at GrossW.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boston TenPoint Coalition gathers together for neighborhood walks. They have trained over 150 church leaders, community leaders. mothers, fathers and concerned citizens how to affectively walk together in their community in order to reach out, share resources, encourage, and support each other. Please contact Rev. Wayne S. Daley at (617) 794-2391 for more information.
Please join me in praying for those police officers and officials working together to end the violence!
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
1 Timothy :1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.
Let us pray for the violence to end
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish thou the righteous, thou who triest the minds and hearts, thou righteous God.
Here are a couple of events this month:
Violence Prevention and Educational Forum “Empowering Our Youth”
Where: Villa Victoria Center For The Arts 85 West Newton St. Boston,MA
When: Saturday, June 8th from 11:30-6:00 pm
For more information please contact Anyenda Inyagwa at (617) 424-78790 x 3
Teen Discussion Dinner Gathering
for teens who have felt confused, lonely, angry, or unsafe
When: Tuesday June 11th from 5:30pm – 7pm
Please contact Steph at 617-492-8306 x 1267 for more information.
I have been recently receiving some phone calls for resources for victims of Domestic Violence/ Dating Violence. Here are some links and resources:
Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc
SafeLink is the Massachusetts statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline operated by Casa Myrna.
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)
24 hour helpline: 800-841-8371
In His Service,
Fellow Justice Seekers:
I realize that many of these emails talk about women and girls. This time I would like to bring some attention to how human trafficking affects boys and men. As most of you know, I visited Senegal in March of 2012. In Senegal, the young boys are sold by their parents. Due to poverty and religious reasons they sell them to the Muslim leaders. They think they are being taught the Quran. The sad reality is that they (the Talibe boys) are forced to beg on the streets. I will never forget them!
Learn more about the Talibe boys here
picture taken by one of my fellow missionaries
The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan
In The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi (Behind Taliban Lines) returns to his native land to expose an ancient practice that has been brought back by powerful warlords, former military commanders and wealthy businessmen. Known as “bacha bazi” (literal translation: “boy play”), this illegal practice exploits street orphans and poor boys, some as young as 11, whose parents are paid to give over their sons to their new “masters.” The men dress the boys in women’s clothes and train them to sing and dance for the entertainment of themselves and their friends. According to experts, the dancing boys are used sexually by these powerful men.
(Taken form FRONTLINE/PBS)
Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. These boys and girls, some as as young as 8-years-old, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups. They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts
Learn more about Child Soldiers here
What About MA?
Find out at:
May’s Gathering Empowering Action
Steven Procopio from Surviving Our Struggle at Boston GLASS will be sharing about his new program to provide resources to support youth caught up in this far too often ignored or under represented reality.
Boston GLASS provides counseling, advocacy and referrals for health care services and housing to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) teens and young adults, many of whom are youth of color.
What is the community’s response? How can we better equip our service providers, first responders, parents, teachers, and every member of the community to help prevent and identify exploitation of boys, and support our youth.
Read here for more information about Steven Procopio and his work with Boston Glass
How can we as Christians look at the reality of our culture without judging? How can we bring love and hope to those we don’t understand or maybe even disagree with?
We can start by being courageous enough to learn about the darkness. How can we bring forth light if we don’t take the time to listen. To listen does not mean we have to approve or agree.
I encourage you to be bold enough to take time to listen and learn.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Thank you for reading this!
For Their Freedom,
April Anti-Human Trafficking Conference Call
Sunday, April 28th from 8-9pm
Conference Dial-in-Number (949) 812-4500
City in Focus: Hong Kong
A War of Numbers
written by: Bret Maverich
This email is an attempt to shine some light in the darkness. This particular darkness is called pornography. I realize that it is a sensitive subject. It is one of the “root issues” associated with trafficking for sexual exploitation. This is just a small representation of what is available. If interested, I encourage you to do some of your own research. This email is also another attempt to see if there is interest in an upcoming training of a curriculum put on by Aware for parents and teachers and youth pastors/workers. If you are interested please email me.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.Luke 11:33-35
No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, it is put on a lampstand to give light to all who enter the room. Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness.Did you know??
- There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily search engine requests.
- More than 11 million teens regular view porn online
- The largest group viewing online pornography is ages 12 to 17
- Average age of first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old
- 8- to 16-year-olds having viewed pornography online: 90% (most while doing homework).
- Children’s character names linked to thousands of pornography links: 26 (Including Pokemon and Action Man)
For sources see here
USA Today, CNET, internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com
Christians and Pornography
- According to pastors, the 8 top sexual issues damaging to their congregation are: 57% pornography addiction, 34% sexually active never-married adults, 30% adultery of married adults, 28% sexually active teenagers, 16% sexual dissatisfaction, 14% unwed pregnancy, 13% sexually active previously married adults, and 9% sexual abuse.
(More Sex, Please, Christianity Today International, Winter 2005)
- 53% of Promise Keeper men viewed pornography in last week (http://familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html#anchor5)
- 47% of Christians say Internet pornography is a problem in the home (http://familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html#anchor5)
- 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. (Market Wire. August 7, 2006. ChristiaNet.com. December 7, 2006http://www.marketwire.com/mw/r…e_html_b1?release_id=151336)
- 51% of pastors say cyberporn is a possible temptation. 37% say it is a current struggle (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001).
- 4 in 10 pastors have visited a porn site (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001).
Here are only a few (of many) ministries and resources:
Local ministry to women in the sex industry:
Route One Ministry
Thank you for your attention on such a difficult but important subject! The next step now is to take actions of prevention and intervention. My prayer is that conversations are started and strategies are invented. I pray that as we are being lead by the Holy Spirit to face these realities, unity is birthed, healing happens.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
In His Service,
What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
One thing I enjoy doing is to take pictures of nature. You can see God’s beauty in all of it! Lately, I have been realizing that more and more. He created ALL things. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (The Message) says True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time – but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. Even the things (or people for that matter) may not look beautiful, but God created it all. We must wait for the time of His completion. Sometimes that may seem easier with nature than people. But God is always transforming us.
As I bring awareness of injustice to the Church, and work with others on the front lines seeing beauty sometimes can be difficult. God is stirring up his people to shine His light. Before that happens, the darkness surfaces. A friend of mine compared the Church to a plant. As you know, plants have deep delicate roots. God has to first expose the roots of the plant (representing His church) before He can transplant it to a bigger pot. We must be extra careful with the roots when transplanting. Too much light can destroy it. We must be extra sensitive to the roots.
When we talk about sexual abuse, domestic violence, addictions or all the other oppressions associated with human trafficking, sometimes people want to run back into the darkness to protect their roots (or root issues). We know that the plant can not grow if it is not transplanted. It cannot be transplanted, or grow without exposing the roots. We (the church) must also expose the roots. We must talk about difficult sensitive things in order for the church to grow and blossom. We must be sensitive to the roots in the process. God WILL make ALL things beautiful in it’s time. We may not understand the whole process. We just have to trust Him who does.