My youngest daughter Celina had a fun weekend. On Saturday she got to dress up with her friend Amanda and the two of them went with my wife Traci to musical, Cinderella, at Corban University. They had a great time and my wife sent me the following pictures of CJ at the play -- my five year old absolutely loved it.
She’s my beautiful girl (all three of my girls are!) and I love getting pictures of her like this. She’s happy, she’s all dressed up and I know she’s having a blast. My wife said that a lot of the adults saw her and Amanda and they made a big deal about it, since of course, most adults don’t dress up in the best “princess outfit” to go see Cinderella. But my five year old did, and she was a hit.
While my five year old girl was at a musical, I was debriefing some teens after another night of the Injustice Seminar, put on by our good friends at our Salem YWAM base. Zach, Jacob, Addy, Mike, Phil, Ariel, Danica, Tim and all the rest of our friends out there were challenging us to think about the global problems that have so many nameless victims. They do this amazing hands-on, experiential tour where they give you a real in-your-face look at these problems and force you to decided whether or not you care. This was the fourth time I’d been through it and every time it pushes me to act.
One of the stations that always gets me is the one about human trafficking. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of these women being abused by men. Women who sometimes sell themselves because it’s the only way they know to provide food for their kids, or because their family has totally abandoned them. I’ve heard stories of women kidnapped and forced into the trade and other lured into it because they were promised money or worse yet -- promised true love.
When I left that station I couldn’t help but think of my own daughters. I couldn’t help but think of the anguish and hurt and hatred I’d have to work through with God, that I would feel toward anyone who would dare to treat them like objects. I thought of the movie Taken and I understood a father’s rage because our daughters are so precious to us. In fact, that’s what made me hurt even more thinking about the trafficking problem -- these girls are someone’s daughters!
Somehow, somewhere these young ladies became part of sickness. Whether it was by their own choice or the choice of those around them, they entered into a cycle of sickness that knows no boundaries. These women are daily and nightly victimized for little-to-no money and the physical abuse is nothing compared to the emotional anguish they are in. Many use hardcore drugs to mask the pain so that each day they can “do their duty” and perform for their handlers.
It’s absolutely revolting to think how these women are used. And I can’t help but think that each of them has a father and a mother. Maybe their parents never cared. Maybe their little girl was a princess who made unimaginably painful lifestyle choices. Maybe they were thrilled the day she was born, but soon selfishness, or desperation or fear or sheer stupidity took over and they left them, sold them or abandoned them for a chosen lifestyle -- only they know. But the implications of those choices leaves their priceless little princesses at the mercy of a very sick world and unfortunately, the outcome of their lives is heartbreaking.
I’m thankful for organizations like YWAM (and many others!) who are trying to change the game; groups that are offering hope through job training, education, relocation, family services and more to these women in the sex-trade. These groups bring the love of God where no love exists and they provide hope to those who didn’t know it could belong to them.
To the men who use these girls, they may be nameless bodies used for their own disgusting pleasure, but they are not nameless bodies to their Creator. God loves them with an everlasting love, and an unshakable knowledge that they were created for more. They weren’t created for this type of existence, but rather, created to be partakers of the divine nature and sharers in God’s holy gift of salvation -- God sent His Son to redeem them, their heartache and their loss.
The next time you see a young woman on the street -- maybe homeless, maybe “looking for work”, or maybe just lost -- remember that she is someone’s little girl. Remember that she is priceless to God and that He was willing to sacrifice His One and Only Son in order to redeem her. Remember James 1:27:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Living the Overboard Life means we must be willing to get out of our comfort zone and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom. It means we must love the unloved and serve the broken. We can’t sit idly by while someone’s daughter is abused and do nothing. Join groups like YWAM who are trying to make a difference by bringing the Gospel into the brokenness of human trafficking. Pray for God to open your eyes to hurting people where you live, so that you too, will bring love, hope and the eternal life-changing power of the Gospel to others.
Go ahead and take the plunge -- life is better on the water!