“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9, ESV)
When we hear the words “human trafficking,” all kinds of images come to mind. The realties of this cancer evoke emotions ranging from disbelief to anger. Even for the dedicated Christian, a sense of hopelessness can grip our attitudes, paralyze our resolve to face the problem, and preclude meaningful action. It seems way too big a problem. We couldn’t possibly make a dent in this crisis, so maybe it is best to work on things we know we can change. Or are we mistaken? Is there something each of us can do?
A RAN Worker and a Dream
I am alone. It is not safe here in this alley, but I am not afraid. There are women behind the locked door in cages, and I am here for them. So I start to pray. Awakened by the sound of my own voice, I realized this wasn’t just a dream, so I continued. “Lord, I don’t know what this means or what You are asking of me, but my life is Yours. I belong to You. Anywhere, anytime, anything—say the word and I will go.”
A few years later, I heard God’s still, small voice say, “Did you really mean it back then—anywhere, anytime?”
“Yes, Lord, I belong to You,” I responded.
This time I put things in motion. I moved in with a friend and rented out my house. I got rid of my furniture and found a buyer for my business, all the while asking, “Lord, where do You want me to go and what do You want me to do?”
When I first heard a message highlighting the number of unreached people groups that remained in the world, I was shocked! How could it be that over 2,000 years after Jesus gave us our mandate, we were still so far from the finish line? I couldn’t think of anything more important to God. If He was to return in my lifetime, I wanted Him to find me reaching the unreached—and then, there was that dream.
It became clear to me that I was destined for the 10/40 Window.1 But it would be several months before the country I would leave for was revealed. When it was, so was the purpose of the dream. This part of Asia is not open to missionaries, but it is open for business. Living within its borders are 170 million unreached people. Although not a nation commonly known for human trafficking, the problem here is massive. The practice is so ingrained in the culture that it is not seen for the horror it is. Corruption in government and policing perpetuates the problem, and the awful truth here has escaped international attention.
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, causing long-lasting physical and psychological trauma to the victims if they survive their experience at all. There is only one Person who can heal these wounds, and His name is Jesus. Human trafficking exists all around the globe but is more highly concentrated and devastating among people groups where the gospel is not heard. That is why I am here.
RAN’s purpose here is to fight for the prevention of human trafficking and provide restoration for those trapped within its grip. I have spent the past four years studying language, planning, preparing and building. Next week we will launch phase one of a four-phase plan. We will be creating a hospitality training centre that provides restoration for these embattled souls and empowerment for them to live dignified lives through training and opportunities in the community.
What will your response be to this story? As God’s missional people, we are called to be the defence of the poor, the needy, the destitute, the widow and orphan. The majority of the world’s poor and marginalized are also totally untouched by Christ’s gospel. We can accelerate their security, bring dignity to their lives, and offer hope that goes beyond today and into forever.
How far will you go?
Gord D. serves as director of development for the Random Access Network (RAN) team. He and his wife, Rita, are happy to serve PAOC global workers who minister in sensitive contexts. L. is a RAN global worker in Asia.
THE GIRL AND THE STARFISH
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
After some time, a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,“Well, I made a difference for that one!”
The man looked at the girl, thinking about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
Adapted from “The Star Thrower” in The Unexpected Universe (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1972).
- The 10/40 Window is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. (Source: “What is the 10/40 Window?” Joshua Project, https://joshuaproject.net/resources/articles/10_40_window)
This article appeared in the October/November/December 2021 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2021 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo by Tim Tebow on Unsplash.