Today I visited the brothels of Bangladesh, a refugee camp in Syria, and in a remote village of Uganda. In the brothel, I met a woman who was desperate for a better life for her daughters, yearning to keep them from the same fate she’d been sold into. In the refugee camp, I met a young boy who suddenly found himself transported from a relatively normal childhood playing with friends to a tent camp, forced to sell tissues so his family could buy food. A boy who’d witnessed atrocities no child should have to see. In Uganda, I met one woman whose son had been kidnapped and murdered as part of a child sacrifice ritual. Then, I met another woman whose 3 year old was rescued from the same fate by a new “Amber alert” system being developed for these remote villages.
Into the Margins with the World Vision Experience
No, I didn’t actually travel the world over my lunch break. I toured the World Vision Experience and was transported to these places within the confines of an 18-wheeler. Within the safety of our affluent suburb, I had my eyes opened to the plight of those living in the margins of society. Those who don’t ever take the basics for granted – safety, food, shelter, love. I witnessed worlds where women and children are exploited and live in fear for their lives. Worlds so far from my own, yet tied together by our sameness in humanity. The faces of children not so different from my own, except for the world into which they were born.
What can I really do about any of it?
How can any of us solve these problems and make any impact? It’s all too easy to bury my head in the sand and pretend these worlds don’t exist. So easy to go back to work and normal routines and forget all that I saw at lunch. Too easy to close my eyes and my heart and thank God I live where I do.
Yet, that’s not where Jesus calls us, is it? Jesus calls us to love all his children, including these living in the greatest plights. He calls us to weep for them, and then do something. But, what can I do to help someone in a brother in Bangladesh or a Syrian refugee camp?
I can’t solve these problems, but that’s not what Jesus asks.
He only asks that we be obedient to how He calls us to serve and do our part. And if we all do one small part, won’t that add up to something big?
This is where organizations like World Vision come in. They have people on the ground in these places, local people who are connected in the communities. People looking for the creative and innovative solutions.
- People who start schools across the street from the brothels in Bangladesh, so the children have a safe place to spend the day while their mothers are working.
- People who go into the refugee camps to provide basics like food, water, and shelter, but also counseling for the children to help them process what they’ve seen.
- People who come up with alert systems using drums in remote villages to alert everyone when a child is abducted, so the whole community can take action to get the child back.
And these things are working!
One way is to give money to support these missions. Sponsor a child with a monthly donation or make a one-time donation. Pray for these women and children. Pray for those on the ground providing support. Pray for the leadership of the support organizations. Pray for the donors. Do something to help globally.
World Vision is just one of many organizations doing great work around the world. Do your homework and choose one that’s making a difference and supporting in an area where you feel passionate. Look at the opportunities to give and get involved and choose something. Ask God how He wants you to help. But, don’t close your eyes and go about your business. Let’s band together and make a difference in this world!
What will YOU do?
If the World Vision Experience stops near you, don’t miss it! It’s incredibly well-done and you’ll walk away changed. It’s tough material to see and hear (and only recommended for those 13 and older), but we all need to be aware and play our part in the solution.
Holy and Almighty Father, Let none of us look at the pictures in the news and hear of the atrocities across the globe and remain unaffected. Break our hearts and open our eyes to the hurts in this world. Then, show us how we can help. Send us as your messenger to help in whatever way we are able. We know we can’t solve it all ourselves, but we can step up and do something, even something small. We know you’re there in these margins and your heart breaks, too, we pray for those living in such desperate places will come to know you and feel your love, too. Amen.