A Holiday with A Cause

I love this time of year, Thanksgiving with a lot of great food, family and friends and the beginning of the Christmas season.  Maybe Black Friday is your thing or maybe Cyber Monday (both of which are now becoming weeks instead of days), whatever way you enjoy your holiday shopping I would love to share a few “slave-free” options.  With an estimated 20 million people enslaved globally today, it’s easy to say that human trafficking and modern day slavery are an epidemic hitting our society as a whole…and hitting us hard.  Many of our items that we purchase on a regular basis and especially during the holidays, such as clothing, coffee and chocolate are made with slave labor (including child labor).  These are precious people who are trafficked and/or exploited into harvesting materials and making these items for retail.  We can take a stand against slavery, do something about it and still buy our loved ones beautiful gifts.  When you are out shopping look for labels that read,”Fair Trade,” or you can also check out below just some of the websites that are out there.  There is no better time to start doing something for our fellow man than now.  Anne Frank once said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and happy shopping!

*Fair trade coffee and chocolate can be found at local grocery stores.

*Girl Set Free

*Thistle Farms

*Freeset USA

*iSanctuary/ Purpose Jewelry

MORE INFORMATION ON LABOR TRAFFICKING AND FORCED LABOR
https://polarisproject.org/labor-trafficking

 

A Chocolate Holiday

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It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us!  In all of our celebrating we must not forget those who are often used in slave labor to make the products we will be purchasing to give to our loved ones or place on our dinner tables.  It feels and often is nearly impossible to find items that are made completely without slave labor.  Yet, we can start in one simple area…chocolate.

According to the World Cocoa Foundation we consume 3 million tons of cocoa beans annually…68% of which is sourced from Africa, 17% from Asia/Oceania and 15% from Americas (Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia).  Simply put, that’s a lot of chocolate sourced on the backs of children, men and women who are paid nearly nothing (if anything) and live in horrible conditions, they are modern day slaves for our sweet tooth.

So during this upcoming holiday season, let’s take a step in the right direction of ending human trafficking and slavery and purchase our chocolate from companies who are sustainably sourcing their cocoa beans, using transparency in their supply chains, working to empower and create positive change in the communities they are sourcing from.  Here are some companies that are doing just that:

Lindt Chocolates 
http://www.lindt-spruengli.com/sustainability/sustainably-sourced/

Divine Chocolate Co.
http://www.divinechocolate.com/us/

The Endangered Species
http://www.chocolatebar.com/?page_id=18

You can also do a search on “Slave Free Chocolate,” for more options and don’t forget coffee too!

#untilallarefree #endmoderndayslavery

What ideas do you have to help fight slavery this holiday?  What are your favorite fair trade products?  Share with us!

 

Adopt a Month Campaign

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Adopt a month is a great opportunity to get involved in reaching the hurting and broken with the message “You are Loved.”  Individuals, groups, churches can all adopt a month in 2016 and provide the gifts for outreach for that chosen month.  For more details email us at illuminatingloveministries@gmail.com.

a broken heart.

Today my heart feels broken.

Broken for the forgotten.

Broken for the hurting.

Broken for the abandoned.

Broken for the children who are currently being targeted by traffickers and no one knows it.

Broken for the people who go about life and do not know what is happening to the children within their zip codes.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and my prayer is that the community in my state…in my nation awakens to this issue and decides to be apart of a solution.

There are so many who are working to fight trafficking in the United States and globally, but we need more.  We need more people to have their hearts broken for these enslaved souls and take a stand to say, “Not in my community!”  As this month goes along I ask that you would educate yourself on this epidemic, share the knowledge (because knowledge is meant to be shared) and decide how you can help end human trafficking in your community.  There are thousands of broken hearts and souls trapped in slavery today in the United States and they need your heart to help end it.

WHAT CAN I DO?

**Educate yourself on this issue.  Then share the information.

Some great websites include sharedhope.org, polarisproject.org, exoduscry.org, you can also check out the “Love Doesn’t Exploit” page of this website for some information.

Books to read: The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores, Renting Lacy by Linda Smith, Made in the USA by Alisa Jordheim

**Decide to do something…anything…just refuse to do nothing

You can play a part, no matter how big or how small it is all important!  You can give financially (or raise money) to an organization that is fighting trafficking, you can volunteer your time at an organization or outreach, you can host a speaker at your church, library, coffee house, etc.  There are many things that can be done to help victims.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, but let’s not let it end there.  Your heart is needed.

Until every heart is free.

One Simple Act

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Reading the book, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, again has brought to my heart an encouragement of great proportions.  If so many could risk their lives to hide and save thousands of Jews, elderly, disabled, young men and others the Nazis deemed unworthy during that nefarious regime, we can surely do something to rescue those who are led away to captivity today.  We can certainly refuse to do nothing.  There is an estimated 27 million people enslaved in the world today and millions more who know nothing about it.  Millions of fellow human beings, who if they all did just one simple act, would make, at the very least, a profound dent on modern day slavery.  What is one simple act that every person could do?

*Participate in an activity that is raising funds to fight trafficking, especially if it is for a safe house for victims of human trafficking.

*Donate to safe houses, projects bringing awareness or organizations that are actively working with victims.

*Educate yourself on the evils of trafficking and then spread the news, the more who know the better.

*Encourage law makers to create laws to fight trafficking and protect victims.

Again, we can all refuse to do nothing because one simple act can mean everything to one trapped in captivity.  As Dr. Seuss once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

Check out A Light in the Night 5k/Fun Run, Walk to END Human Trafficking at alightinthenight.org

He’ll show up.

Recently finishing up the coordination of an amazing training called Hands that Heal left me meditating on a fact about sex trafficking and exploitation…it cannot be done without Him.  Ok, so before I alienate or peeve non-christian abolitionists, I am referring to myself.  I have no desire to do this without Christ.  He gives me what I need to hear the stories, push through the set backs and to see the “unlovely” as they really are in His eyes…lovely.

Sometimes watching endless documentaries, listening to all the stories, reviewing statistics, listening to the dollar signs add up as to the financial cost of recovery and restoration can let the winds of discouragement and hopelessness settle in.  I view the winds of discouragement that whisper, “it is too much,” “she’ll just trigger and go back,” “the problem is too large,” like that of a quiet tornado.  It sneaks up, whirls around you and leaves a path of destruction and general feeling of hopelessness.

Yet, there is a greater wind that brings a refreshing, courage to go on, restores hope, and dismisses the discouragement…it is the wind of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Deuteronomy 31:8

I even liken the work of restoring brokenness as what Nehemiah went through when trying to restore the wall of Jerusalem.  God gave him everything he needed.  People, supplies and courage.

Nehemiah 4 says starting in verse 10…

“…Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.  Also our enemies said, ‘Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.’ ”

Let’s stop and see the similarities… “there are so many obstacles to reaching and restoring these women and children, including people becoming weary and enemies all around.”

Back to Nehemiah and the answer to all of this, vs. 20

“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there.  Our God will fight for us!”

God is the one who fights the fight.  He is the one who rescues, saves, and restores.  We are just hands, feet and mouth pieces…it is a partnership with The Healer.  The battle is won.  We must gain our direction, wisdom and strength from Him.  Evil can be too big for human hands alone, BUT because of who we are and who lives within us with can do all things through Christ.

God brings hope and love into the deep places of despair, it is who He is.  There is no place that God cannot reach, that God cannot pull people out from and there is no evil that God has not already conquered.  We must remember that God’s love never comes up short (for the victims of exploitation or for us), it always shows up and certainly never fails.  Worship and get into the presence of God for a refreshing wind…He’ll show up, He always does.

**All scripture references come from NIV