make a difference

Anna’s Story Part 2

street-scene

Read Anna’s Story Part 1 here. 

Anna’s Story Part 2 of 4

Through Anna’s drooping eyelids, the bus interior faded in and out. Nightmares disturbed her sleep of the bus never stopping and the bus stopping where it should not.

Valentina shook her shoulder one dawn morning. The landscape had turned to a green she had not known before. A flicker of hope warmed her, but faded just as quickly. They continued into a city. In the glow of the rising sun, grew buildings and neon lights flickering off after illuminating the night. The bus stopped on a narrow, un-swept street. Anna stood up, disoriented. Valentina locked their elbows together.

The two girls who had sat in the back of the bus exited first, and took off running. Three large men followed after them. Anna heard the screams, the sounds of heavy dropping onto pavement.

 

“Be still,” whispered Valentina into her ear. Anna was led into a dim building and up a narrow flight of stairs. A middle aged man pushed her toward a closet-sized room. Anna held onto Valentina with both her hands, frantic. The man shoved her so hard she skidded across the cement floor into the wall. Click and she was locked in: no windows, dark.

Anna quit counting the minutes pass. She thought of the smell of warm bread in the morning. Matushka used come home tired, and yet still brushed her long hair and helped braid it away from her face for the ovens. They would be waiting, her brothers and Matushka. They were waiting on her. She thought of the money never arriving. Her heart constricted and she felt warm tears slide down her cheeks.

 

Hours passed before the door clicked open and a three people entered the room. One walked to the center and pulled on a chain. All that time there had been a bare light bulb and she had laid there in darkness. A small sleeping pallet lay in one corner.

She stood up tall. “I want my passport back. I want to go home.”

The woman laughed bitterly. She moved her fingers against her palm indicating money and pointed at Anna. Then, she moved closer and cupped her hands around Anna’s narrow waist, nodding her head in approval. Anna darted for the open slit of the door. The young man to struck her across the face. Rising up she tried again only to be struck back. This went on until she could not summon strength to stand again.

Lying on her stomach, she could hear voices in the hallway through a small gap between the door and the floor. The words spoken tangled into rhythms and sounds she did not understand. Sometimes she could make out names. The people that came to her space were Meka, Analu and Ipo.

 

She lay crumpled on the pallet and whispered the story of the Firebird and the Grey Wolf into the darkness as she did to her brothers each night.

And Prince Ivan lay dead. His brothers took all that he had; the firebird, the horse and Helen. Then the crow brought the water of death and the water of life to the grey wolf. The grey wolf revived Ivan with the water. He regained all he had lost.

 

Days passed where she refused to rise despite their yelling and the kicking of her body. One day they brought a fourth person into the room with them. She lifted her head and folded herself into Valentina’s arms. Valentina whispered into her ear in Russian, “They will kill you. You can’t run with no passport, no money. They will find you anyway because of the debt. Be a good girl, do what they say. Down the hallway, girls share rooms. Maybe we can. These things I know. I will watch over you Anna, I promise. Stop fighting. I worry for you.”

“I want to go home.”

 

Anna wore high heels, a mini-skirt, red lipstick and eyes rimmed heavy with charcoal. A glass window separated her from the ogling eyes. She would not raise her head, they could not make her. The younger man, Ipo came and lifted up her chin. Her eyes grappled for the floor as she strained against his cold fingers. Every night following would pass the same.

DSC04939 (2)

Her tears dried up. The thought of home made her ache and she let it become dim in her mind. Empty was easier, it took all her strength to keep breathing. Sometimes, she wondered why she cared to keep on, death might be better, only she was too scared. She thought of her River Neva frozen to the bottom layer of silt. There was no more water running underneath the frozen layers, alive. No, everything lay solemn and cold. She quit whispering into the dark.

 

Join the fight against human trafficking at Exodus Road.

Follow the Exodus Road Blog to keep your thoughts in proximity to the need. 

Harvard Student Lea Parker attended Passion 2013. We, God’s people, need to be present.  Read her post here.

Blogger Amy Bosma writes a post here called Break my Heart. 

IMG_0016

Girl Rising Advanced Screening

1681736-slide-slide-3-girl-rising-10-by-10-cnn

About Proximity is so excited to be hosting an advanced screening of the film Girl Rising. 

If we can gather enough interest, Holland will be in the first wave of screenings.

 

I know all of you beautiful people are not from Holland… here is the link to host a screening near you, go for it! (Seriously!)

This is a life-changing film and an invitation to make a difference!

 

Watch the trailer

Visit the Girl Rising Website

 

How can you help?

To bring the film to Holland we need to have at least 100 tickets reserved.

Holland 7

Thursday, March 7, 2013

at 7:30

 

You can reserve your ticket here. Cost $10.00 (a portion goes to the organizations that work with the movement.)

Gather your girlfriends, your book club, church group…

 

Find Updates on the Event Facebook Page.  Please feel free to share this event through facebook.

Thanks for being such amazing people to take time to watch this film.

 

After the showing About Proximity will run a series on how we can respond through the sponsor organizations of Girl Rising.

Please let me know if you have questions! lisavanengen@gmail.com

girl

Give Life

DSC04812

Today I want to introduce you to a non-profit organization that is revolutionizing malnutrition globally.

Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions.

 

One-third of our planet is well-fed,

one-third is under-fed,

and one-third is starving.”
(World Health Organization estimate)

 

Their mission is to treat and prevent malnutrition for vulnerable children in the developing world.

They produce high-quality, ready-to-use Plumpy’Nut, Plumpy’Sup, Plumpy’Doz and Nutributter. These products are distributed to humanitarian organizations and non-profits. The peanut-based product does not require refridgeration or water, and this allows the products to also be used in crisis events.

The products address the needs of children 6 months- up to five-years-old who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

 

We have all seen the photographs.

We may not be in direct proximity to children suffering from hunger and malnutrition, but our hearts can wrap around the great need.

 

You can donate to easily through Global Giving Projects.  $25 can provide a child with treatment for a month.

This is a family giving project children can understand. 

Feed Bears are adorable and proceeds go to the work of Edesia.

If you are an educator the World Food Programme has excellent resources about World Hunger.

edesia

 

Kids Books and Resources about Hunger

Make a difference.

These books are great to read as a family and cover the topic of hunger and food security. 

images (14)

Beatrice’s Goat By: Page McBrier (Beatrice receives a goat named Mugisa that can lift her family out of poverty.)

images (9)

One Hen By: Katie Smith Milway (Kojo from Ghana helps his family out of poverty with the gift of a hen.)

Follow up these books by sharing global gift catalogs with your kids.

images (15)

Faith the Cow By: Susan Bame Hoover  (Susan grew up across the street from a barn that raised baby cows for Heifer International.)

images (11)

Bone Button Borscht By: Aubrey Davis (A version of the classic stones soup, a beggar shows a village how to work together.)

images (10)What the World Eats By: Peter Menzel (A books that shares photographs about what people around the world eat)

images (16)The Good Garden By: Katie Smith Milway (A struggling family in Honduras revives their family with a gardening project.)

 

Visit The Good Garden Website.

Meet the now grown Maria Luz of the story. Watch a video of her journey from hunger to having enough.

Meet Real People whose lives were changed from good gardening.

Educators can find curriculum to the Good Garden here.

Water Aid Kids Activities

water aid

2,000 children die every day from easily prevented diarrheal diseases. We can educate our kids to make a difference for kids around the world that do not have access to clean water and safe sanitation.

 

What kids doesn’t want to fight poop justice?

 

Enter WaterAid kids resources..

The Learn Zone at WaterAid has a sense of humor just right for kids.

 

Download a Water Splash Coloring Book for 3-5 year olds.

Play Games

  • Pani the Handlepump (quiz game) 
  • Turdliwinks (flick your turdliwinks into ‘toilet targets’)
  • Soozhal (Be an investigative journalist in India)

Watch 13 different videos all appropriate for kids. The issue comes to life when you see children moving through the challenge of finding clean water.

Download Information Sheets for Kids

Watch an On-line Comic Book featuring:

  • Vinny the Poo
  • Super Toilet
  • Driplette
  • Soapy Hero

SH2OP for LIFE 

 

WaterAid is a partner organization of Mom Bloggers for Social Good and the Global Team of 200.

Try one of these out with your family and tell us all about their reaction! 

IMG_2121

Overturn

overturn

I am a heart girl, not a theology girl.

There are a lot interpretations about Jesus going into the temple and overturning the tables of the money collectors. (Matthew 21:12)

 

I am struck by that image. Overturning tables was a passionate response. I have been reading through Beth Moore’s journal for her book So Long, Insecurity. A part in one prayer reads- Overturn every single thing the enemy meant for evil into something good.

 

A little story: I am not made for social media. These little boxes keep coming up trying to entice me to do something that would allow me to see who has ‘unfriended’, ‘untwittered’, ‘unpinned’ me. Why can’t we just all be friends? Talk about insecure, I sit here pouring out my heart and up pops ‘three people have un-friended you.’ I want to type back to this robot thing, ‘something not suitable for me to say.’

This little story is my humorous attempt at conveying that the world can be unkind. I think we all know that pain in different layers and in different ways.

 

So take your worries, your insecurities, your fears, unkindness that you have felt, heartbreaking moments and lay them on the table.

Letting go hurts, its a sacrifice. Sometimes we cling to these things because they feel safe and comfortable.

 

Imagine overturning the table and watching what you laid there knocked over to fade away into nothing.

Like a pile of leaves burning to nothing.

Attached to heavy weight and sent to the depths of the sea.

Ripped to pieces so small they are not discernible.

Painted over in a mess of vibrant colors.

Simply, let go into God’s bigger hands.

 

This week overturn the unkind things that are stuck on repeat in your mind.

Replace them with the things that bring you into the proximity of renewal.

 

You are strong enough.

UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project

#endtrafficking

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. (We’ll have some awesome opportunity’s to be involved through Exodus Road and upcoming guest posts by university students who attended Passion 2013.)

 

Today, Global Team of 200 shares UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project.

 

An estimated 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking, an illegal enterprise that generates an estimated $32 billion in yearly profits.

Did you know? Human trafficking cases have been reported in every state in the United States. Rates are particularly high in California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

 

BELIEVE in ZERO exploited children. I don’t think our minds can truly understand what these children endure. We have a responsibility to get involved and speak for those that can’t speak for themselves.

Watch the new documentary film Not My Life 

not my life

Give Hope: Exodus Road

exodus road investigator

All week we have been encouraged with stories of hope.

 

Exodus Road has an opportunity for us to offer hope.

Freeing young girls from sexually slavery takes an immense amount of courage.

Exodus Road investigators work in dark places and seeing such suffering takes an emotional toll on a person. Their work places them in the proximity of renewal, but also danger. They are not able to rescue everyone.

They are making a profound difference. They need our encouragement to keep up the fight.

 

How can you give hope? Write a letter thanking the investigators.

Here is an example by: Laura Parker. 

Each letter will be copied and hand delivered to all the investigators in the field. This is a small gesture that will provide much needed encouragement to these hero’s.  I plan to take time out this holiday season to write a note of encouragement.

 

Send the letter to:

The Exodus Road
PO Box 7591 Woodland Park, Colorado 80863

or submit the letter online.

 

Read the story of Laura and Sophia here. 

Often young girls are lead into a life of prostitution unknowingly, as shown in their story.

Imagine:

You are from a poor family. Someone offers you a job in another country, a good job. This job might be explained as cleaning houses or as a nanny. You are told you will make enough money to send home to provide for your family.

When you arrive to this new country you are met by a sex trafficker, your passport is striped away and you are told you owe a debt to this person for your plane ticket and housing, a debt that must be paid off in prostitution.

You are young. You are in a foreign country and do not know the language. You are far from your family and everything that is familiar.

 

Where does hope reside in that?

It resides in the people willing to fight back against sex trafficking. It resides in the courage of girls that long for rescue.