Another Friday.


They’re not just numbers, you know.  Some reports say there are 27 million slaves in the world, some say 3 million.

Some say we’ll never know because so much of the industries where they are enslaved are shady and underground.  Because so many are born into this life.

And it’s so easy for me to forget that the girls and boys who are deceived, coerced, or kidnapped into forced labor or the sex trade aren’t just numbers.  It’s not just sad because of what they have to do -work long hours in horrible conditions, be abused and raped multiple times every day – it’s tragic because they are HUMAN. Because they are someone’s beloved son, daughter, friend, cousin.

But they’re not treated like anything beloved anymore.  They’re treated like property.  Told that they owe the one who purchased them from a trafficker a debt.  Their will is broken down until they believe that they are worthless now.  That they are resigned to this life.

There’s so much despondency in talking about trafficking today, especially since we all celebrated our victory over slavery after the Civil War and William Wilberforce (well, not that we were there to celebrate, but… you know what I mean).  We think about how hard it was to get that slavery issue all settled, how the remnants of that are still in our society today.  And then when we realize that all over the world, in our very nation, people are in horrible slavery situations, we get exhausted.  We think that it was fruitless to try and stop it and that since the numbers are huge and evil is rampant, we can do nothing.

This is the point where we could roll over and say that the evil people who are stealing the innocence of young girls and subjecting them to a life of horrors simply are too powerful.  They win.

But then that when we remember that our God is a God of justice.

Isaiah 61:1 “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim freedom to the captives.

Isaiah 58: 6:-7 “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

it’s on God’s agenda.  And God is more powerful than any trafficker, brothel owner, or slavery advocate of any kind.  He’s more powerful than I am, or any other person who desires to see slavery and oppression wiped out from the face of our globe.

And this is why we fight it.  Not because we have any power in our own flesh and blood or because we’re just so fired up about freedom, but because our God is FOR us.  And if our God is for us, then who could stand against us?

This is the part where you should  read about Freedom Firm and Rethreaded and Love146 and go onto Google News and search “human trafficking”.  They may be small, but there is victory every day over injustice.

In the Savior, injustice brought to right, for Your glory, that Your name be lifted high.  Lord over everything, you are near.  All of the universe is at Your feet. The lost are found, the blind will see.  The lame will walk.  The dead will live.  And You, our God, forever You will reign.

An adventure with trying Indian food.


 

 

 

 

I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t like trying new things very much unless there is an absolute, 100% money-back guarantee that I’ll LOVE it, that it will make my life better, and I won’t regret it.

This especially applies when it comes to food.  I have an uneasiness in trying new foods – that is unless it’s a new fruit or different kind of cookie or something safe like that.  I’m not sure how to explain it other than by saying that I can’t handle spicy food – so that’s one scary type of food – or really strong flavors in general and I’m always afraid that it’ll just be gross and I won’t be able to spit it out in a polite manner.

It’s a dilemma.

Because of my tendencies to dislike strange foods or not try them altogether – which leads to weight loss in foreign countries – my parents (in their wisdom) decided that I needed to get a head start on Indian food (since Curry is a pretty darn strong flavor) before I spend two weeks there in January.  Smart, huh?  I mean, in Panama I ate basically Cliff bars and peanut butter and jelly and rice occasionally – just barely making it food wise – so now they’re proactive about making sure I’ll be eating.

They must love me a lot.  :)

After church today, we headed over to a local Indian restaurant which will soon be named Bollywood Bistro – under new management!  (In case you didn’t know, Bollywood is India’s version of America’s film industry… notice how it sounds kind of like Hollywood?  good observation, right?)  We were one of two occupied tables in there, and almost immediately the owner (who also cooks all the food and waits on the tables) came over.  After ordering her Coke, my mom explained our situation and asked him to guide me through the buffet line.

Usually, I guide myself through buffet lines.  I look for vegetables without too much seasoning, pasta that looks familiar, occasionally some variety of potato, fruit salad, and – inevitably – three different kinds of chocolate-laden dessert.

Well, in this buffet line, everything was loaded with CURRY.  You may not be familiar with curry, so let me introduce you.  Curry is a spice.  A spicy spice.  and Indians love it.  In fact, they put it in nearly everything.  And once you eat the dish that contained curry, there’s usually a fluorescent yellow spot on your plate where the food had been.

mmmmm…….

After telling me exactly what every dish was (“and this is a curry cauliflower dish… fired vegetables with curry… fried rice with curry… Indo-Chinese dish with curry…..” you get the picture.), the inevitable question that I sort of feared came.  Why are you going to India?

Well, I’m going to West Bengal, Calcutta area.

That’s where I’m from!

…to work with anti-human trafficking ministries.

At the mention of people who want to end human trafficking, his friendly smiled slackened just a bit.  He gave me kind of a blank nod and, after a moment, asked where else I’d be going.

It made me sad to see that face go blank, without understanding.  This puts him in one of two camps: either he doesn’t know about the trafficking (which I would find very unlikely considering he comes from an area where there are “source villages” – the places where girls are trafficked from), or he is just like most of the men in that area who think that a woman’s only purpose is to be exploited and raped.  I hope with all my heart that it’s the first.

everyone loves to have their picture taken while they eat, right?

I’ll say that I wasn’t sure how to begin eating this plate full of unfamiliar food.  Nothing looked safe.  In fact, it looked like all the strange things I avoid at normal buffets.  Things where there are lots of strange ingredients mixed together.  SPICY things.

Plates number 1 and 3.  Notice that there are lots of things on the first plate – and mostly just rice and naan (basically fried bread) on the second plate along with a spinach dip things (flavored with lots of curry) that I didn’t care for.

It left a very curryful taste in my mouth.  And lots of strange curry noises coming from my stomach.

In the car on the way home I told my mom that I was craving peanut butter… which is probably going to be the first thing on my packing list.

Dad was the one who ate with the most gusto.... My mom and I ate a little more tentatively. Small bites.

I wouldn’t do this for just any cause.  I know that God has called me to go to India, and that makes me all the more motivated to like the food.  I know I won’t be very effective for Him there if I die of malnutrition.  So, I will learn to like curry so that I can live for something greater than myself, greater than my picky eating habits.

Conclusion?  I’ll survive when I go to India.

and I’ll bring peanut butter.