28 September, 2010

Restoration Ministries

Reprinted from Escaping the Devil's Bedroom - I met with Candace and Restoration Ministries while I lived in DC. It is amazing what they are doing, a piece of the puzzle to ending child trafficking in the U.S. You can read the whole article here, I have just highlighted some of the key points.
- A block or two behind the White House, the street bustles after midnight. Teenage girls in miniskirts and stilettos strut the sidewalks. Heavy eyeshadow, bright lipstick and tight tank tops masquerade their youth, some as young as 13. ... Here in our nation's center for justice, power and democracy, a form of modern day slavery is thriving. Girls launching into prostitution average between 11 to 13 years old in the U.S. America's disposable children are feeding our culture's demand for paid sex...

- In 2003, Candace Wheeler founded the capitol's only Christian outreach to locally prostituted and trafficked girls and women, Restoration Ministries. A handful of staff and volunteers make weekly visits to God's wounded daughters in a jail, a psychiatric hospital and a group home. ... During weekly visits, volunteers and staff create crafts like scrapbooks, watch movies, eat popcorn, laugh and pray for the girls, most younger than 15 years old. During one visit, the girls tackled the riddle, “What is something that belongs to you, but other people use more than you?” The answer: your name. But two girls immediately guessed: “my body.”

- At the end of each group visit, nearly all the girls trace their hand on white paper. Within the hand, they pen prayer requests. “I want prayer to get out and to be safe,” wrote one girl.

- “Many Christians just want to preach the Gospel and hand them a Bible,” Candace says. But doing justice and sharing the Gospel are tightly interwoven. Jesus is visiting the prisoners, loving them in their deepest sorrow, and offering His freedom through Restoration Ministries. In our nation's power nucleus, forgotten girls are discovering God's love for the powerless.

I have come to realize that The Church is the response. Wess Stafford once said - "We (The Church) are God's plan A, and there is no plan B."

I often say if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. One blog I read recently asked: What is your injustice? What gets you so fired up that you can't sit still and could talk about all day?

In other words: What do you care about more than yourself?

Not everyone is called to go be with those girls in prison, not everyone is called to advocate for them. But we are called to love them, to see them as human, to care about what happens to them, to be aware. We cannot be a part of every injustice out there - but we must see everyone as human, a creation of a loving God, and seek to bring humanity and dignity to those we cross in the day to day.

Human sex trafficking in the U.S. is vastly under-discussed. Or we talk about it with minors - but somehow, at 18, she "chose" this life and therefore is no longer a victim. The logic fails when you think about that too long, but how many of us take that time.

But, do me a favor, read the first bullet again - but instead of White House put in the name of your city - Chicago, Denver, Portland, Houston... That sentence is just as true where you live - the question is - do you dare see it and what will your response be?