Make Way Partners – Working Against Child Slavery

This post might be disturbing to you depending on what you know about child slavery and sex trafficking already. I heard about this organization, Make Way Partners, on Focus on the Family, and I’m going to be honest I was so wrecked by the founder’s story, we are still processing what life looks like after hearing such information.

I ask you to please open your heart to what God might be saying about this. I’m going to keep this concise, there are lots of additional information out on the web about this topic to inform yourself. The question is, what do we do?

Kimberly Smith and her husband and kids followed the Lord’s call to work in Spain as missionaries. When they were over there they stumbled upon, not looking for anything like this, a brothel that was home to many children between the ages of 5 and 15. These children had been kidnapped from their homes and brought over to work as sex slaves. They had been terrible physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

It took the Smith’s two years to get this brothel closed down. The man running it went to jail for a short time and then was let out. The children were shipped back to the shanty towns they were kidnapped from, only to be filtered through the system again.

At this point in hearing Kimberley’s story my heart was absolutely shattered. How could you continue to hope when the children you just spent two years of your life tried to rescue seemed to just be cast away when they needed love, care and support.

The Smith’s didn’t give up and went to the Sudan to start working in the towns where a lot of the kidnapping was originating from. Sudan has suffered Christian persecution, modern-day slavery and genocide by an invading radical Islamic regime consistently for the last decades, since Britain withdrew in 1956. This has resulted in Sudan holding one of the highest per capita rates for human trafficking in the world and the Republic of Southern Sudan ranking as one of the poorest nations in the world. Women and children are the most vulnerable, with orphans being the primary target of slave raiders.

Make Way Partners also works in Romania.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain former Eastern bloc countries, like Romania, have become major source countries for trafficking of women and children. Estimates as high as two-thirds of women trafficked for prostitution worldwide annually come from Eastern Europe. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking.

Romanian’s are considered among the world’s most trafficked people. After Romania’s inclusion into the European Union (or EU in 2007), it was noted that EU membership did not solve the root causes of human trafficking and in some ways may have made them worse because of the new freedom of travelling from Romania across international borders were the demand for prostitution and slavery is high. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking. The EU membership has also increased Romania’s position as a transit country for its non-EU neighbors (example, Moldova) where trafficking is also a devastating problem.

One of the things Kimberly challenged listeners to do when I heard her interview was “to let our hearts break for these children as though they were our very own kids being trafficked”.

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t allowed that to happen yet as emotional protection. I have cried about this everyday since hearing about their ministry. I feel like I am starting to allow God to break my heart, however I’m still sorting through what my response would be. There is no point in me simply weeping over them, since there is nothing that comes from that, but I must force my tears to action.

Whether it is strong prayer support, finances, spreading the word and personally going over to help their work, there are a lot of opportunities to help.

I have been so challenged to the core of who I am – what am I sacrificing for someone else? What am I refusing myself so that I can bring Christ’s love to someone else?

Here is a statement from their website regarding what they are doing in these countries:

In Romania our indigenous leadership cares for 12-20 girls at any one time who were trafficked into prostitution between the ages of 10 and 30. Each girl or young woman has been rescued from the brutality of forced prostitution, rapes and beatings.

Through House of Treasure, we offer a holistic healing approach that includes discipleship, counseling, medical care, job training, money management, and parenting skills for the young women who have borne children through their trafficking. We help them to rediscover who it is God dreamed of when He first formed them and give them the life skills to re-enter the world as the bright light that God intended them to be.

 In Sudan Make Way Partners primary mission is to protect the orphans through Christ-centered orphanages, schools and other necessary infrastructures.  Through partnerships we participate in the building of long-term indigenous discipleship and relief ministries which provide opportunities for hope and healing. 

I really encourage you to listen to her broadcast on Focus on the Family. I will be sharing the broadcast on my Facebook Page.

Many of us are involved in helping with many different ministries and give our time, love and money to things that God has put on our hearts. Not everyone is called to go overseas to help with something like this. I guess what my challenge would be, only because this is where I am at, and I’m sure someone else has to be in the same place: Allow God to break your heart for them. Don’t put up walls just because you can’t handle knowing that this goes on.

If your child was captured and used as a sex slave, I know you would go to the ends of the earth to find, rescue and love them. If it was my child, I would be daily begging every person to get involved and come help me.

These might not be your children, but they are someones child. These are God’s kids. Maybe he’s asking you to join the search party?

Thankfully there is hope for these children thanks to amazing people giving up their lives to help and serve others.

No matter what your calling in life is, or what group of people you have a heart to minister to, I pray that we would not become so consumed in our own lives that we do not sacrifice to see someone else rescued from darkness.




Lost Perspective

Wow, what a crazy week, that turned into a crazier weekend! Looking back over my instagrams from the weekend and fun Facebook status’ about decorating for Christmas and nice family time, I realized I did not accurately portray how I was doing at all. And in some ways, rightly so! The world doesn’t need to know day by day my emotions and current struggles. But as Sunday afternoon rolled around, my perspective was gone. Exhaustion had over taken my body, and I was an emotional wreck.

This past week was a huge challenge for me as my beautiful little boy has not been sleeping well. The old “sleep when your baby sleeps” wasn’t working either, as his naps were hardly long enough to be considered a nap. I felt like I barely survived the week, managing to make it to Friday with three out of five suppers on the table, a relatively intact body and some scraps of sanity that I was looking forward to building upon while my husband was home. Saturday morning was lovely as we set up our tree, spent some time together and relaxed a little (although I was still severely short on sleep). That afternoon something happened in Caleb and he became increasingly whiny, miserable, grumpy, and an exhausted-but-not-willing-to-sleep little man.

Last night we were up every one and a half to two hours as he cried in his sleep. Poor little guy was probably teething, and I felt bad for him. There were definitely a lot of factors that I won’t bore you with, but don’t worry, we weren’t taking him for granted, we had a pretty good idea as to what were causing the issues.

Realizing, for the first time since we had Caleb, we were all way too exhausted to try to rescue our appearances and make it to church, we opted for a stay in your pajamas day, trying to lie down when Caleb settled a bit.

So bringing us back to Sunday afternoon, today. I started having an absolute meltdown. As any of you moms out there know, you get to a point of being so tired your mind starts playing tricks on you. You start forgetting why you’re doing the things you’re doing. You can get angry at this little person that certainly doesn’t mean to be causing all this chaos. Lots of you are jumping up and down inside wanting to tell me “oh Monica, it will all be worth it.” Don’t worry, I know. But in the middle of such extreme exhaustion, even the best of us get beat down. The breaking point for me was trying to get enough milk from myself to mix with Caleb’s cereal, to no avail. Nothing was going my way, Caleb was getting more and more cranky, Andrew was being very patient but surely getting frustrated and I wanted to snap.

Needless to say, we made it to bedtime. As Caleb played calmly in the bath with his Thomas Train, oxytocin flowed through my veins once more and my emotions became intertwined with that amazing little boy. My perspective was returning.

Andrew offered to make sure Caleb went to sleep and I climbed into bubble heaven in my bath tub. Thomas was still floating around from Caleb’s bath. I smiled. What a sweetheart I have. He sure loves play with his bath toys. There is nothing I want more than for our tub to be overtaken with Caleb’s toys, and I would never in a hundred million, billion years desire for my life to be any different.

Resurfacing from a temporary submerging in frustration, anxiety, exhaustion and self-pity, I saw how my joy had escaped me. Yes my circumstances are still the same, and for all I know Caleb will still be up a seemingly endless amount of times tonight – but I love that little guy. Even in my weakest moment God is still giving me strength. Although I didn’t see it, today was completely a picture of that. Our worst day happened when Andrew was home to help me out. The Lord knew what I could and couldn’t handle.

So whatever this week brings for you, may we accept this prayer that Paul prayed in Colossians 1:11-12

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy always thanking the Father.