Thursday, October 8, 2009

No sex slaves from this house

I love my church. There are lots of reasons. The main one is that it's full of people who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind. They're not a people who sit on their hands waiting for their pastor to tell them what to do. They're a people on the move - taking the love of Christ to the furthest ends of the earth and calling back to me to keep up. That thrills my soul.

This past Sunday I was out of town on vacation. Matt, our youth minister, gave a powerful sermon on God's heart for the poor and the need for connecting our words with our actions. Then on Monday, I received this e-mail from Terry Waller, our staff missionary and director of Water for All. Terry is wonderfully long winded which results from a true passion for telling the stories of the least of these of our world. I've only presented you with a portion of the e-mail. I hope you'll read it and get a small glimpse of his ministry but also of the truth he communicates - our small churches, our small lives, can make a big difference in others' lives and in this world:

Dear Friends

I wanted to share what WFA is doing right now. But first the other day I was watching a program on TV on human trafficking. It was just horrible. Little girls, my girls’ ages, sold into slavery, sex slavery. Some are as young as 7 or eight. Most are from poor rural families, desperate for money, usually tricked into sending their little girls away to work. I had to turn the channel, it upset me so. Rural poverty is terrible. People are desperate for a better life. People seem to never have enough food, or water, or money and it happens all over the world. What in the world is the answer? Yesterday at church Matt, our youth minister ,preached on God’s concern for the poor. How part of sharing the Gospel is the deed part. He gave a figure that said a billion people are hungry each day in our world. I have a figure that shows 6,000 babies die each day because of water related problems! Stop and pause, children sold into sex slavery, a billion people hungry, 6,000 kids dying per day because they don’t have enough water or clean enough water!!!!!. WATER! Something as simple as water!!! Selling kids into SEX SLAVERY!!! What in the world are we to do? How are we to even approach the problem? One can get political I guess, or go to concerts. I have seen those on TV. That might do something.

Jesus gave a suggestion. Go. Go and one person at a time, one family at a time, share the Good News, in word and deed and love people and redeem the situation. Love them like your brother or sister, or child. Do everything you would want them to do for you if you where in their shoes. That is my interpretation of Jesus’s approach to the sad problems of this world. Go, (or send someone) to live, engage, solve problems, teach and preach face to face, life to life. Don’t just sit there, GO (and in Jesus’ day that meant probably not coming back alive!) Jesus’ approach was to go and get at the root of the problems, the sin problem, right out there mixing and mingling where the poor live and die, and do it one person and one family, and one neighborhood and one community at a time.

Now this seems preposterous. How can that make a difference? Surely individuals or small groups of people going out is not very efficient. Surly the UN or a University or an international conference should be able to solve the problem at arms length. I don’t know. But it made me think of the 2,070 or so family wells drilled now and I hope maybe, just maybe, it made a difference to some of the 2,000 or so families. Maybe it helped some to make a better living and maybe not have to sell a little girl into slavery. I still remember Cristiana Sandolval’s from our Cotoca church, telling Kathy and I how her mother was sold to man for two bottles of whiskey. Maybe a couple of the little rural churches we helped start has provided fellowship and love and taught them not to do stuff like that.

Right now in San Julian, next door to our little church, is a family whose no count dad deserted his four beautiful little girls and a couple of boys and left them in dire poverty. Then their house burnt down with absolutely everything in it. Our little church, small and unimportant as it seems in this big mega world with mega concerts and mega everything, reached out. Josefina and her girls and boys now live in the little neighborhood meeting place next door, they come to church, they have an extended family now (the church) that looks after them. Water for All helps them a bit each month, we also give the teen age boy an after school job. Church members help with groceries. No sex slaves from this household.

The little church has backyard bible clubs for 150 kids each week. Some of those will be affected and kept from harm, coming to know Jesus.

Also the women helped by Hope Bolivia have the extra income they need and sex slavery is not necessary for their survival. It seems like little things but they add up!!

There is another family I know. Don Ciriaco. His wife died and he raised 5 or six kids by himself. He works like a trojan and is worn completely out, and now hard of hearing. His youngest 14 year old boy, Candido, helps him, no school for Candido. Candido is a perfect candidate for suicide (a big problem in rural S. America) or alcoholism. He has no prospects and no future and is sick of the drudgery and hard work his father demands. Now he has a future! He and his dad now have a well, a pond, a windmill and fish and Candido has prospects of prosperity. He realizes this now and has blossomed every time I see him. I can’t wait to get back to Bolivia in November and see him and his Dad and see his new pond again and see how the fish are growing.

I know another family, Joesefa and Armando and all their kids. They are living on the edge and always have. He told me he is too tired to keep looking for day work. Just worn out. Then there are 50 students at a very poor rural boarding school just down the road from us. All of these and the kids are candidates for the tragedies you see on the TV shows. We just finished family wells and windmills and fishponds for Armando and Ciriaco and Candido and Teofilo and the boarding school. Also we just finished a windmill and well for another village, San Juan de la Cruz. The windmill water system will serve their school and they will be more likely to attract and keep a school teacher. They are in the “sticks” and school teachers are hard to come by. Having access to abundant clean water helps keep school teachers in the communities.

. . . .
Seeing the program on rural poverty and human trafficking and Matt’s sermon reminded me why in the world we are doing all this. Why not just quit and do something different I have asked myself many times. Matt’s sermon reminded me why. We depend on all of you for your prayers and support to do this. We are a tiny ministry but couldn’t do any of it without you! I know it isn’t much, doesn’t seem like much in the face of the tremendous need all around the world, but it is something.

Pray for us. We live on your prayers.



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