One of my favorite lines in The Star Spangled Banner is: “O’er the land of the free…”
We are the land of the free. I love that fact! A side note: even though I’m far from being a raving fan of country music, I love Martina McBride’s song Independence Day: “Let freedom ring….”
We are the land of the free. But not everybody in America is free. That is one reason why January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Sadly, for many Americans this day rolls right off their calendar and they remain unaware of what is going on in our country.
Were you aware of it this past Sunday?
Here’s an excerpt from the official website of the FBI (fbi.gov):
It’s sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves.
They are trapped in lives of misery — often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. We’re working hard to stop human trafficking — not only because of the personal and psychological toll it takes on society, but also because it facilitates the illegal movement of immigrants across borders and provides a ready source of income for organized crime groups and even terrorists.
In heaven there is no human trafficking… and we are called to join God is His work to make His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That is why human trafficking is the primary social cause that The Eastside Vineyard Church is rallying together to do something about… and we are proud to partner with organizations like Love146, 70×7, and ESTHER’s Children.
An underestimated weapon in the fight against human trafficking is raising awareness. Becoming aware that trafficking is happening (and not just in Thailand or Brazil but within our borders) and helping others become aware as well. Here are some ways you can become more aware (and feel free to “share” this blog):
- The 3 organizations our church partners with:
ESTHER’s Children — esthers.org
Love 146 — love146.org
70×7 — 70x7outreach.org
- Vineyard Justice Network – VJN focuses on the interconnectivity of freeing slaves,ending poverty, and tending creation. go to: vineyardusa.org/site/task-forces/VJN
- U.S. State Department T.I.P. Report (website) go to: state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/
- Nefarious: Merchant of Souls (DVD)
- Rachel Lloyd – Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself (book)
- Kevin Bales – Disposable People (book)
- The Poverty & Justice Bible (CEV translation) There are over 2,000 verses in the Bible focusing on poverty and justice and this Bible actually highlights every one of them! In the readable Contemporary English Version (CEV), the Poverty and Justice Bible is your guide to explore God’s messages and challenges regarding the poor and issues of injustice.
***Are Natural Afflictions Always Natural? That is the title of my sermon this Sunday as we continue our series on Angels & Demons. January 18. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***