My dad was doing a tour of duty in Vietnam when I was a baby. He saw unspeakable horrors there.
Because of this experience, my dad was obsessed with war. In our living room we had a Time full-volume pictorial set on WWII. We watched war movies and documentaries about emaciated Jews in concentration camps and Vietnam prisoners of war.
My dad would lean forward, arms resting on his legs, and look me fiercely in the eyes. You need to see this, because it’s going to happen again.
This is horrifying when you’re in 3rd grade.
I would see footage of prisoners in Auschwitz and wonder –if I were living then would I have done anything to help? Would I have been a Corrie Ten Boom or a Schindler?
So when I recently read Christine Caine’s story, Undaunted, and went to her A21 Campaign website for the abolition of human trafficking, I couldn’t breathe when I heard it said, This is your holocaust.
Approximately 27 million slaves in the world.
Will I be the Corrie Ten Boom of my time?
Overwhelmed at the number “27 million”, I said, Lord, what can I do? I’m just a girl in Montana who is good with words. Continuing to surf the A21 website, I came across a list of 21 ways to get involved. Guess what was at the top of the list? You’ll never guess. (Can you see me smiling?)
#1 Write a letter to a survivor.
I can write a letter. It was late at night when I was on the A21 site, and I was tired, so I got out a notecard and determined that in the morning I would write an encouraging note to a freed slave in one of the A21 safe houses in Greece. (Can you believe this is possible???)
The next morning I got up and checked email like I usually do. In my email was a blog post by Lysa Teurkest. Guess what it was entitled: “Never Doubt the Power of a Simple note”.
Are you kidding me, God?
Here’s why I’m telling you this:
- We have a greater problem of slavery in our world right now than there has ever been in the world before. We need to see it. (Do you know slavery exists in our own country?) This is our holocaust, and we must not look away.
- Does God strike your heart with compassion to address this problem? Maybe there’s something in that list of 21 ways to get involved that just fits who you are.
- Could you at least, just for today, afford a half an hour of thoughtfulness and a stamp to write a note to a survivor?
- A21 Campaign sets aside the 21st day of every month to pray for the freedom of slaves. Would you make a sticky note and pray today?
- We need to appreciate our freedom. Freedom is a privilege 27 million people do not enjoy.
- We need to appreciate our friends. (I am especially hounded by the thought that women who are slaves do not get to go have lunch with friends. This fact stabs my heart.)
- Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has sent me to…set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18 NIV) To know Jesus is to have compassion for those who are oppressed.
I sat down to write a note to a woman who has survived slavery, and this was exceedingly painful. I had to absorb the fact that the piece of paper in my hand would go to the hands of a woman who had been in bondage and abused in unthinkable ways. I had to imagine what she had experienced. I had to wonder at how she is going to recover. What could I possibly say to her?
I had to look at her pain, this woman who is alive across the ocean from me. I had to see her eyes staring at me like those Auschwitz faces used to stare at me from the television.
Except she is NOW.
I will not look away, even though my stomach recoils when I see the evil she has endured.
I can give her the gift of seeing her today. Will you join me?