On Sunday night, First Church screened a documentary about human trafficking called Call + Response. The film told us about the problem – it was the CALL. Below is a RESPONSE from Sarah Bales. Be sure to read to the end, where she has identified some organizations that you can get involved with.
If anyone else had a response that they would like posted here, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pray, Act & Give by Sarah Bales
On Sunday night I attended the Call and Response showing. Since then I have been struck by the magnitude of the problems in our broken world and have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about how I can make a difference. For me it breaks down to 3 things, I need to Pray, Act and Give. It is pretty simple, I should trust God to lead me and choose one area, one cause or one organization. Then pray, do something and give. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
Evil does exists and when good men and women do nothing, it will flourish. We live in a war zone (spiritual and physical) in our community and world. As a follower of Jesus I am called to pray with faith. God promises that, through prayer and faith, change happens. I can pray alone and pray with others for the cause(s) God has put on my heart.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow Matthew 18:1-6
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
As child of God I am compelled to act. For evil and injustice to exist, all we need is apathy. Human traffickers depend on my apathy, poverty depends on my apathy, lack of education depends on my apathy. Action overcomes apathy.
James 2:14-18 (NLT)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
So what are practical everyday, real life ways that I can act?
I can write or call my state and local representatives and government.
State and Local governments respond to what the people they represent demand, they really do pay attention to the voices they hear. My tax dollars will be spent on something, I should demand they are spent to make positive changes.
I can write businesses.
I went on callandresponse.com under the Chain Store Reaction tab and sent e-letters to companies that I do business with to request that they help root out forced labor throughout their supply chains. Someone has already taken the time to create them. I just filled in my name, email, zip code and clicked send. In 10 minutes I can reach more than 10 companies. It is free and fast and it makes a difference.
I can volunteer.
With just a little bit of time that I can give to support those in my church, community and around the world that are making a difference, I can make a difference. Maybe I can sacrifice just a small bit of the time I spend staring at the TV. The saying is “time is money”. Really time is invaluable. And the great thing is I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I just need to jump on a wheel that’s already rolling!
Giving really does mean money and material things. Sometimes I get uncomfortable or just tired of hearing about all the things that need money to make a change, save a child or stop an injustice. But the truth of it is, it takes money to make a change, to save a child and to stop an injustice. And everyone’s little bit really does make a big difference. I saw this play out when I worked at Christian university. They were always fundraising. And while the school did need big donors, the small donors were needed just as much. Having 100 people giving $10 each is just as important as one person giving $1,000. Really.
2 Corinthians 9:7-13
Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others. It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever.” For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. So two good things happen as a result of your gifts–those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine.
I can donate money.
I can give monthly or once a year support to an organization or person making a difference.
I can donate things.
I can donate items to charities, shelter, and local needs, from the extra I have in my home (or garage or attic) or business.
I realize none of this is rocket science. But there are so many places to make a change in my church, community, state, nation and world. So many different worthy causes like human trafficking, poverty, education, human rights. It was a bit overwhelming, it helped to break it down in to 3 simple pieces. I will pick one and then I will pray and I will act and I will give. It really is straightforward. My part seems small, but all with our gifts taken together God will create monumental changes.
PRAY, ACT and GIVE ACTION LIST:
There are so many places, people and organizations that are making a difference, here are a few I have come across.
IN OUR CHURCH
Cas and Luke Raju – Orphanage
Chiv and Emara In – Cambodia mission, pig farms, building church buildings used in the community.
IN THE GREATER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (Global Missions)
Within the greater United Methodist Church there are programs for sharing the gospel, but also to programs to help with education, job training, reaching the poor and protecting street children, and much more, all around the world.
Here are 2 links for Cambodia and India:
IN OUR CITY
Around our city and state there great places to pray for, volunteer at and give to. Here are two I know of:
Austin Street Shelter
IN OUR WORLD
NGO’S (Non-Government Organizations)
Just a few of the great organizations doing great work around the world:
International Justice Mission – www.ijm.org: a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor.
Feed My Starving Children – www.fmsc.org: non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. Their approach is simple: children and adults hand pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and they ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.
Kiva (micro loans) – www.kiva.org: a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Through micro loans of $25 you support specific people around the world, once paid back you can re-loan the same $25.
Compassion International – www.compassion.com: Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. You financially support a specific child. Send and receive letters and pictures with your child.
World Vision – www.worldvision.org: Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. You can sponsor a child or purchase specific resources for a person or community: goats, cattle, fishing equipment, bees, send a child to school, etc.
Room to Read – www.roomtoread.org: works in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children , and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.
There are many great resources out there. Here are just two:
Call and Response
Documentary and web site with good information and resources about combatting modern slavery. Has links for NGO support.
Under Chain Store Reaction tab you can send email letters to companies to request that they help root out forced labor throughout their supply chains. Simple and easy, fill out the form at the bottom, takes less than 1 minute per letter. In 10 minutes reach more than 10 companies.
Half the Sky
Amazing documentary showing in PBS and also avaliable as a DVD and book.
The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution.
Half the Sky has links for NGO’s to support.
Direct support for specific organizations in specific countries.