In the United States we will be celebrating the 4th of July. Freedom.
My Grandfather often told us the story of his big brother who died in World War II. Clem was a gentle young man who shared candy bars with the family dog Lady. His payed a deep price for my freedom and my children’s freedom. There are many who have done the same.
I blog for The Exodus Road. An organizations that provides rescue for global girls trapped in modern-day slavery through sex trafficking. We can’t travel to these places and snatch these girls to freedom ourselves. There are trained people who can. People who often work for free, tirelessly to save innocent lives and we can make a difference.
The search fuels the rescue. And by investing in our teams, you would be putting boots on the ground, sending eyes to search for the enslaved.
Here is the link to learn more. For the Search and Rescue FAQ page click here. To join a search and rescue team you commit to sponsoring $35 a month. This funds one night of search and rescue a month. You can choice which team you join Alpha, Bravo, Charlie or Delta. Being a part of the team, you will receive up-dates, specific ways to encourage volunteers on the field and a welcome packet.
I’m excited to share this opportunity. It is a way to dig deeper into a cause that needs our voices.
Joining a search and rescue team is a tangible way to bring the freedom we ourselves have to girls that are enslaved.
“Tell me how many kids you want to rescue, and if I have the resources, I think our team could make that happen.” – Exodus Road Coalition Partner
You have been gone for 365 days. I have watched the seasons pass over the River Neva. The waters are ice-covered again and all around lies in winter drab. This is how my heart feels, dear Anna. We ate a tula gingerbread on your sixteenth birthday.
I stand on the water’s edge at sunset and sunrise and pray that you might return to us. Pray is not the right word, I plead.
You left for me, for Pavel, for Pyotr, for Petya to help us have a better life.
There are whispers on the streets that the people you left with were dishonest. That you may be in great hurt and danger. It’s like the ice cracking across the river through me. You were only trying to bring us hope.
I did not know. I am so sorry I did not know.
Pavel has began telling the story of the Firebird and the Grey Wolf to his brothers as you used to each night. In the end when Prince Ivan regained all he had lost. This is what I plead, that you might regain all you have lost.
If you could read my heart, you would know I would come for you if I knew where you were. I would trade spaces the very second I could. I would give everything to go back and not allow you to board that bus. I hope you are not cold. I hope you are not alone.
So I will continue to plead as the river changes. I will keep telling mothers, to hold their daughters close. No matter how bad it becomes, we cannot let this happen anymore.
Love, Your Matushka
Sometimes a family can lose their daughter to human trafficking under the veil of the promise of work.
Other times family’s find themselves in the position of selling their daughters into slavery. This seems beyond our imaginations.
We hoped for you. We prayed for you. Then you were there with us. All amazing hope and grace flooded our hearts. You looked up at us like we had known one another forever. A new life and suddenly our lives had the most amazing purpose. All you were and would become was wrapped up in that single moment. Our hearts cracked open because we knew we could never love anything like we loved you.
Love, Mom and Dad.
I remember feeling so scared. The weight of the responsibility of bringing a life into the world did not fall short on me. But, the moment I looked at my daughter and then my son all my fear faded away. They looked at me like they knew I was their Mom. All my insecurities and inadequacies seemed small in that moment.
I am so thankful we had good health care to guide us in those first moments. I was completely awkward that first day (and honestly, the awkward parenting moments keep coming.) Neither birth was without its challenges, but I knew we had the assurance of amazing health care to guide us through.
We received a chance to make it into the world together.
That was a blessing I don’t take for granted.
It is a blessing many Mom’s in this world do not receive.
The Global Team of 200 is working with Save the Children to bring awareness to maternal and newborn health care.
Watch this touching video about celebrity Moms and their love at first sight moments and our global needs. Video
The State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM) report is Save the Children’s signature annual publication, which compiles global statistics on the health of mothers and children. Here is the infographic for the report. I’ll be pinning it on my Pinterest Causes board.
Maternal and Newborn Health is a cause we can get behind. We have all been mothers, or daughters, or aunts.
A big welcome to our guest writer, Diane Harvey. She’s a super woman at placing herself in the proximity of renewal. She’s also our steady friend from Australia full of insight and encouragement.
I saw the movie,Trade of Innocents last night, starring Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, which focuses on the worldwide problem of human trafficking. It was powerful and distressing just like I thought it would be. It was a thriller. I felt my heart beating in some places, and spent most of the time with my hands gripping my tissue packet.
The movie is set in one community in South East Asia. The American husband and wife were played by Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino. He was a detective and they were both trying to come to terms with the kidnapping and loss of their own young daughter in an idyllic American suburb.
There was resistance to the investigative operation. The police chief argued that the problem was too big to fix and that they were only after one man, that it was better to agree with the community who see and remain silent. We later found out that he was being paid off and was himself part of the problem as he was gaining financially by tipping the trafficker onto raids and turning a blind eye.
The disturbing trade is highlighted in the interaction between the American tourist, who appeared to be a married businessman and family man, but who wanted to use really young girls, and the brutal trafficker who agreed to supply ‘freshly picked flowers’ for him through kidnapping.
We got a glimpse into the lives of the women and girls who were already captive, in one scene we saw one lady physically, verbally and emotionally abused by the trafficker who later died of her injuries. The dialogue transitioned to unsubtitled Thai in this scene, which added to the viewer’s feeling of powerlessness, horror and fright.
In the quiet moments we were taken with the sweet American lady (Sorvino) who shared about her story of loss, and helped escaped victims tell their story and begin to heal as they woke up each day in a safe environment. When she began her work, they were wary of her. A local had said to her, “they don’t trust Americans. They come, take their photos and leave nothing (good) behind.”
I have been thinking about this topic for a while so I wasn’t being presented with this grimy reality for the first time. The thing that did shock me was the reference to the practice of sewing girls back up to make them appear as virgins. I knew that women sometimes do this before marriage in some cultures to appear virginal, but it didn’t occur to me that this was being done as part of this evil trade.
At the end of the movie we had various non-profit partners speak to us about what they do in prevention, rescue and rehabilitation and heard some stories of hope. We were encouraged to pray about what part we could play and encouraged that we can act both individually and corporately to fight this trade (which is larger than the arms trade and the drug trade). I signed a petition for our country to have a minister for human trafficking, gathered some brochures, a fridge magnet on a “Walk for Freedom” fundraiser and left with the determination to fight this evil trade.
Will you join with me in my fight to abolish modern day slavery?
Diane Harvey resides in Perth, Australia. She is 36, has been happily married for 6 years, and has two beautiful children. She has studied education and theology. Currently, she is on maternity leave and serving in her church in the areas of women’s discipleship and social justice.
New life emerges vulnerable. The loss of a new life is devastating. We can work together to ensure that more families do not have to endure such grief.
I am a Mom to two kids and one life lost through miscarriage. We all have a story to tell. Woman who give life through childbirth find themselves in a very vulnerable space, good maternal health care ensures the best possible outcome.
When we make maternal health a priority, Mom’s around the world receive a gift of hope.
Millennium Development Goal #5 is to improve maternal health. The MDG’s were designed to be reached by 2015.
The Global Newborn Health Conference will be taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa April 15-18. The world is joining together to reduce infant mortality around the world. The conference will be streaming live here.
These are simple ways that maternal health can be improved globally:
Helping Maternal Health through training programs that identify risks of pre-term birth such as high blood pressure and infection.
Sometimes I go through moments of serious doubt about myself. Confidence is not something I’m able to gather and hold onto for any extended period of time. Many times that occurs on the heels of comparing myself to someone else. This is not honoring the person God made us uniquely to be.
I also love the way The Message puts this, we have far more interesting things to do with our lives.