Guest Post: The Problem of Human Trafficking is Too Big-Why Bother Trying to Help?

Kimberly Rae is a best selling author, blogger and world traveler.  She blogs about a variety of topics but one that is close to her heart is human trafficking.  She was kind enough to blog about my letter to Victoria’s Secret and I am happy to have her as the first guest author on this blog.  If you would like to be a guest contributor, click here for more info.

Below is her guest post; be sure to check out her site- www.kimberlyrae.com


The Problem of Human Trafficking is Too Big-Why Bother Trying to Help?

A 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old cousin got permission to walk down to a local Wendy’s late one night to get a couple of Frosties.  While they were walking, a car drove up, and by the end of that night, these two girls had become just a tiny, tiny addition to the thousands of minors trafficked in the United States of the America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Now those two girls have been rescued and are home again.  The older girl tells her story in a video on the website www.truckersagainsttrafficking.com, a video that will hopefully be part of required training for men joining the trucking industry in the future.

Why?  Because things will never change unless people care enough to act.  I think many of us look at the huge statistics and decide, why bother?  There are 20 million slaves in the world today. It’s a problem too big, one person can never make a dent in it.

That’s true to an extent.  Each of us on our own are pretty powerless to change the huge statistics.  None of us can expect to do the impossible.

However . . . we can make a difference in one life.  It may not seem much, but if that one person was your daughter, or your friend, or yourself, wouldn’t you want someone to “bother”–to put forth the effort to make a difference even if they couldn’t save everybody?

I would.  As I place myself in those young girls’ shoes, being forced to sell myself to strangers, staying because of threats against my family or my own life, I know I would desperately want to escape but likely not have the courage.  Or the resources.

But if someone came along, someone who didn’t just look through me but really saw me, if they cared enough to ask one or two important questions, then make just one phone call–a call that would deliver me and give me back a future, I would reach out for the freedom offered me.  I would grasp hold of the possibility of a future and a hope.

Isn’t that, after all, what Jesus gives us? (Jer. 29:11)

And wouldn’t He rejoice to see us doing that for others?

That’s what happened recently when those girls who’d been trapped for 10 years in a home in Cleveland were rescued. All across our country, girls (and some boys too) are being taken, trapped, and forced to sell themselves against their will. A major part of this happens within the trucking industry. Girls are taken to truck stops, where they are forced to go from truck to truck, offering their “company.” They even have a name. Lot lizards.

But things are changing. Thanks to Truckers Against Trafficking, men are finding out that many of the girls they see do not want to be there, no matter how they pretend. Truckers are making phone calls to the human trafficking hotline—1-888-373-7888—and girls are being rescued.

One man called in his suspicions and, without endangering himself, caused the rescue of 9 young girls and broke down a 13-state trafficking ring.  Just one person!  Just one phone call.

Helen Keller once said,
“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

If this can be said and lived by a woman who could not hear or see, shouldn’t we be inspired that we can do our part, too?

So let’s stop looking at the massive need, the big statistics, or our own limitations.  Instead, let’s become aware, and be ready to respond if God places someone before who is in need. Our actions and reactions may make all the difference in the world to someone who right now is trapped, and desperately wants to be free.

Go with God,
go for God,
go because God goes with you.

For of Him, and to Him, and through Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.  Amen.
Romans 11:36



Author Photo More Square

Kimberly Rae has lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. Her Christian suspense/romance novels on international human trafficking (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future) are all Amazon bestsellers. Rae is currently working on a new series on trafficking for teens. Find out more at www.kimberlyrae.com or like Kimberly’s facebook page, Human Trafficking Stolen Woman, to get updates on the fight against human trafficking.

What A Difference 3.8 Million People Make

Two months ago today I clicked publish on a post about Victoria’s Secret Spring Break Collection called “Bright Young Things.”   The aim of the letter was to let Victoria’s Secret know (as well as whomever would listen) that I disliked their marketing to a younger demographics and how they set up an unattainable standard of sexuality and beauty.

To date the letter has been read/viewed on this site nearly 3.8 million times from all around the world.  The letter is still be read today and shared over the internet.

To date the letter has been shared on Facebook over 765,000 times, on Twitter over 5100 times, almost 100 times on LinkedIn and over 550 times on Google Plus.

I want to take this time to say thank you for everything!

Because of the exposure I received, I have begun to contribute to a few websites- the Good Men Project, Sojourners and RadicalParents.com.  I am humbled and honored to contribute to these great sites.  I will try to post my articles here whenever I can.

I have been completely overwhelmed by all of this and I all of you to thank.  Without you sharing, liking, emailing and commenting- none of this would have ever happened.

I still have not had an official response from Victoria’s Secret (and I do not expect to), but another clothing company did.

About month ago Fruit of the Loom contacted me to let me know that they had seen my letter online.  They liked it and wanted to send my daughter “age appropriate” underwear.   They sent my daughter 10 pairs!  She was so excited to get them in the mail.

Fruit of the Loom

I want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to Fruit of the Loom.  Thank you for generosity and for thinking of my daughter! (The items pictured can be found here and here.)

Thank you again!  Keep reading, sharing and liking!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Disney Princesses, Merida’s Makeover, and Empowering Girls

My latest piece for Sojourners


Having a 3-year-old daughter opens your eyes to a world that you did not know existed, the world of princesses. Disney has cornered the princess market; there are currently 11 official Disney princesses, and if you are brave enough to travel to Disney World/Land or even a Disney store, you will soon find out that there is a plethora of accessories — dresses, placemats, and cups (just to name a few).

Disney has come under fire in the past for focusing only on Caucasian women — Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and others. But over time, non-white princesses were introduced, like Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Tiana.

Disney’s latest princess was Merida from the film Brave broke most of the Disney princess rules. She didn’t like pretty gowns, she liked to shoot bows and arrows, and her crowning glory was frizzy, wild red hair. Some people believed that Disney had finally broken the mold of the “damsel in distress” model of princesses that has been a dominant theme throughout many of the films. The trend actually started with Pocahontas and Mulan; maybe the theme of strong women role models would continue. Brave was a cute film with a wonderful message. Merida had a round face and was rough and tumble with her triplet brothers. She didn’t want fancy dresses or even want to be a princess; Merida just wanted to be Merida. She was the example of girls being girls, no matter how they look.

However, in a recent update, Disney decided to take the idea of Merida in Brave and throw it out the window. Merida, for her official induction into the Disney princess cohort, got a bit of a makeover. Merida 2.0 was taller, skinnier in the waist and had a slimmer face. Her famous bow-and-arrow set are missing, and her iconic wild hair has been tamed.

After the uproar that followed, Disney quietly pulled the newer version of Merida.

But my question for Disney stands: Why? What was so wrong with Merida that it warranted the change?

Disney made a statement with the creation of Merida, and it inspired girls around the world to live into who they wanted to be, not what society wanted them to be. Merida’s makeover told girls that, yes you can be who you want to be, but at some point you are going to have to fit in.

Brave’s director called the change “atrocious” in an interview with the Marin Independent Journal.

She continued: “When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance.”

Girls today need characters and princesses that are strong and powerful and reflect the society of today. I know that no one princess or character on Disney will ever be 100 percent inclusive of all people, but Disney at least needs to try.

Maybe sexualized images are more marketable, but that is not the point — empowering our girls is. I’m pleased that Disney has reversed its decision to alter one of their best examples of an empowered girl. I hope the trend of strong princesses started by this character continues.

Getting Bit By The Overshare Bug

Article I wrote for RadicalParents.com (link) and Good Men Project (link)


In a world where the majority of people carry a computer in their pocket, we have access to more information than in any other time in human history. It has been said that today’s modern smart phones have more computing power and memory than the entire Apollo 11 space ship.

Because of the information that we have literally at our fingertips different ways of connecting people have popped up over the years. First it was the ever popular chat room then it merged to Instant Message and then came Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Foursquare just to name a few.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by giving people the power to share whatever they want and be connected to whoever they want, no matter where they are.” This liberty of sharing information can be a beautiful thing. Social media in its many forms allows people from all over the world to connect around a particular topic or event. Facebook and Twitter keeps people connected and interested in other’s life even if they are separated by thousands of miles,different language, culture and religion.

American society has integrated this notion of social media into its lexicon. Some people claim that engagements and pregnancy announcements or other major life events are not official until they are “Facebook official.” A tweet is not just something a bird does anymore.

For me I personally love social media; I am able to see pictures of my friends’ children growing up, I am able to ‘follow’ a family member as she travels throughout Europe, I am able to reconnect with people that I had lost touch with over the years. Social media is so popular because of the instant and ever changing nature of it. When my niece was born, I saw a picture of her on Facebook before I saw her in person; the crazy thing about that was I was at the hospital waiting for her arrival.

While are there are so many great attributes to social media, there are however some downfalls. For our children, these may not be evident or even that important. It took being bit by the overshare bug to make me realize how important internet privacy and sharing truly is.

The overshare bug is something that flies around and strike at anytime. It’s a pesky mosquito; its always there and you have to ignore it or at least live with it as best as you can. Getting bit can happen to anyone—even I was bit once; I was posting my lunch stops on Facebook, posting my Foursquare check ins on Twitter and posting pictures to Instagram of the most random things in my life; I even used Miso to post what TV shows I was watching. I truly believed that people would like to hear about my life in a more intimate way. It wasn’t until a friend pointed out the fact that I was sharing every place I was on social media via Foursquare that I had a wake up call. What I saw as harmless postings trying to garner more followers or interest in my life, my friend saw as potentially unsafe. I came to the realization that I cared more about putting stuff on social media instead of what was happening in front of my face. I was living in a virtual world instead of the real world.

So what exactly is the overshare bug? It’s a mind set or frame of reference in which you believe that nearly every aspect of one’s life has to be broadcasted on the internet– everything from what you are having for lunch, where you are and even what TV show you are watching. Our smart phones and tablets makes this so simple. Apple, Inc. has even incorporated Twitter and Facebook into their mobile operating system, iOS. Now, with just a swipe of the your finger you can share with the world what you are doing.

Facebook recently updated their web interface to include additional details for a status update– everything from what you are drinking and reading to feelings and what music you are listening to. From Facebook’s perspective it is just another tool to share one’s life with the masses, but from a parent’s perspective it can seem a bit much. Do my friends really need to know if I am reading “The Divine Comedy” and eating a Kit Kat? In my opinion– no.

This problem is that this is new for most parents. The Internet (especially social media) is a relatively new invention and thus uncharted territory. Technology is changing at a quick clip and for most parents they are just trying to keep their head above water. The tricky situation for parents (especially parents of Tweens and Teens) is how to convey that the over share bug is something to watch out for. Conflict arises when there is a disconnect between what the child sees as just playful information and a parent sees as over share.

To broach this conversation I would employ a couple of tips.

First, if you child/children are on Facebook or Twitter, be sure you are their friend or following them as well– not to stalk them or post embarrassing things but to know what type of information is being posted online. Both Facebook and Twitter have privacy options that allow the user to control what information is able to be seen. By parents bowing these options you will be able to walk through these options with your children. Encourage your child to learn them with you and discuss how these settings are important.

Second, remember the rule “if you want to share, less is more.” I understand the notion that children and even adults want to share with their friends what they are up to. This is fun to do but the less people know the better. For example, posting “I can’t wait to go see ‘The Croods’ tonight!” is perfectly fine; however, posting “I can’t wait to go see ‘The Croods’ with Sam, Pete, Ashley and Sarah at Winter Park Movie Theater on Highway 18 at 7:30pm!” is an overshare. Reminder your child/children that the latter of posts lets the masses know exactly where you will be at a particular time.
This rule is also important to use when using geosocial media like Foursquare or Facebook Places. These apps allow the users to “check in” and post this information to Facebook and Twitter; these apps pinpoint your location and even place a link with a map online.

As technology changes so will how we interact with it. Knowing how to effectively use technology will help to ensure our children’s safety when it comes to sharing information online.

Watch out for that over share bug.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Film Review: For The Bible Tells Me So

Film poster for For the Bible Tells Me So - Co...

Film poster for For the Bible Tells Me So – Copyright 2007, First Run Features (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most divisive topics that is dividing the Church today is the issue of homosexuality.  For decades (if not longer) this has been an issue (whether we like it or not) on the forefront of Church. Recently some denominations have had decisions and votes on whether or not to ordain open homosexuals; it has caused dissension, grief, hurt feelings and in some cases it has cost ministers their job. Many churches and even denominations have decided that in the interest of keeping everyone happy, they have not or will not broach the discussion at all.

In matters of church conflict or even church doctrine, the normal question to ask is “What does the Bible says regarding this issue?” It is a natural place to start.  However, there are varying ways on which the Bible can be interpreted and thus a problem can emerge.

The film, For The Bible Tells Me So, explores the issue of homosexuality as it relates to the Church and Christianity. This film tries to demystify the stigmas that have been placed on a certain group of people and tries to look at the issue from different angles.

Film Synopsis from forthebibletellsmeso.org:

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

This film dives into the Biblical text from a number of different perspectives trying to encapsulate the essence of the text as the original authors intended.  Scholars from many different denominations and faiths weigh in on this issue.

This film is presented in a way that brings in new ideas and understandings about homosexuality and how the Bible has been used and mis-used to subjugate a particular group of people. The interviewees do not hold back with their position and thought process when it comes to the controversial issue.  They are open about their feelings and in some cases have regret for the way that they treated their child when their child came out.

One of the positives of the film is that it does try to show different view points with regards to how different families  react to their children telling them they are homosexual– not all families reacted the same way then or even now.  For many it has been a journey that they have to take one day at a time.

I believe that this film is an excellent conversation starter no matter what side of the issue you are on; the key (as with many controversial topics) is that those watching must do so with open eyes, hearts and minds.  For many Christians this has become a hallmark issue; it has become the benchmark of righteousness and orthodoxy.  It is easy to hear something counter to your belief system and immediately get defensive and stop listening.  It is in those moments of struggle where we can learn and grow.  It is through difficult situations and conversations when we are able to open up to the possibilities of seeing a particular issue in a new light.

The website for the film also has two discussion guides (here and here) for further study and dialogue.

Overall, this film is well done and thought provoking.

I highly recommend it.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars
Film Website

Watch this film on Netflix

In Christ,

Rev. Evan
(Trailer Below)


Trailer

Sermon: “Anybody, Anywhere, At Anytime”

Today I preached a sermon at Bethany Christian Church (DOC) in Houston, Texas.

The sermon was based on John 5:1-9.

Sermon Link

In Christ,

Rev. Evan