This afternoon I met with the teen boy I shared about in Another God Appointment in the Coffee Shop. This afternoon I met with him and his grandmother who has custody of him. We talked about school starting next week and our plans for me to tutor him. It seems fitting that we met today which is International Youth Day.
International Youth Day is a day to raise awareness about issues troubling youth around the world. One issue that concerns me greatly is human trafficking/sex trafficking of youth. That is why I support I’ve Got A Name an organization that works against trafficking in my home state. It is also why I support Love Justice and organization that works against trafficking in various countries.
I am glad Jesus connected me with my young friend. Today I had him repeat with me, “I have hope” after showing him Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Millions of children and youth need hope in this world, the hope that Jesus gives.
Yesterday I went to my office, aka the coffee shop, to do some blogging and some writing. When I went to the Barista to pay for my coffee, I was done in by the sight of temptation.
There it was taunting me as if to dare me not to try it, a gluten free cupcake with blueberry filling. I only paid for the coffee and went to sit down to write, but that cupcake would not relent. It kept luring me in, so I caved in and got said cupcake.
You might be concerned about health issues, but for me those we allayed by the realization that an actual blueberry was on the top of the cupcake. Blueberries are considered a superfood and one blueberry surely offset the sugar used to make the temptation.
After consuming the gluten free cupcake, and while looking over that magical cup of coffee, a sense of joy and serenity overcame me, so the blogging and writing commenced.
There will not be a repeat of the incident from yesterday because there were only two of the cupcakes in the refrigerated display and solely out of concern for the other cupcake to not feel lonely or isolated, I may have eaten that one too.
This morning it is off to church and a return to the coffee shop with a detour to the park. It will be a rare nice day in the summer here, so reading in the park is called for.
January is Trafficking Prevention Month. It is estimated millions of women and children are trafficked around the world. It is an evil that needs to be combatted.
When I think about what Jesus said about those who harm children in Matthew 18:6
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
it shows how strongly Jesus feels about protecting children. Looking out for those who cannot defend themselves is a theme we see throughout the bible.
Tragically there are powerful forces at work in the trafficking of women and children. CNN producers are under investigation for trafficking, G Maxwell found guilty etc but what concerns me is what is not being done. Who are the men who flew to Epstein’s Island? Nothing has been done to them so far. These are just a few examples that are from headline news, but it is a pervasive evil around the world.
The least we can do is demand of our elected government officials to make stronger mandatory laws and penalties. We can also donate to organizations that rescues victims, intercept victims, or provide help to victims when they are freed.
Do you know the joy of opening gifts? That is how I felt when I came home from my morning class to see the box at my door with the books I ordered. It was kind of like being a kid at Christmas time. 🙂
My Koine Greek books came. I am excited to refresh my Greek. It would be wonderful to read the New Testament in Greek again. In the box there was also the commentary on The Book of Acts in the bible. My Friday evening Life Group from church will study Acts after we finish John. That will be about a month from now, so I want to get started preparing now.
Speaking of books, the book I am writing, Jessica’s Encounters at the Harbor Coffee Shop, is being read by some people I asked to read it and give me reactions. One person got back to me with this comment:
“Hey! I wanted to wait until I had read the entire thing to give any feed back. I enjoyed the book, it had a really great message! The ending was super powerful”
My hope is to donate proceeds to organizations that fight human trafficking.
This morning will be blogger chat and then off to a coffee shop to perhaps start book 2 in the series. I wrote several short stories in my other blog encounterswiththancients.com The main character in my first book Jessica, will also be in some of the other books.
Slowly things are improving and I am venturing out a little after a year of being isolated most of the week. Yesterday I went to one of my favorite coffee shops and I brought something with me.
I printed out the first ten pages of the book I am writing based on my short story Jessica’s Encounters at the Harbor Coffee Shop. I am doing a fine tooth combed edit. I plan to go to the coffee shop again today with the next twenty pages to edit.
The coffee shop I went to is locally owned. I am not a Starbucks guy. I prefer to support locally owned businesses. The one I went to has a large blackboard that someone changes the art design periodically using chalk. The manager is the one who gave me a set of corny jokes a few months ago.
My hope is to finish the final edit of my book in a few weeks. My plan is to donate money from each sale to organizations that fight Human Trafficking like Love Justice. Spring break for my morning class starts this coming Saturday, so I should have plenty of time to get it done.
So my day today will consist of watching church service online, and spending some time at the coffee shop editing. The coffee shop has few people whenever I come, so social distancing is easier. I plan to return to church in person after my second dose of the vaccine.
One fun little realization hit me after my first dose of the vaccine. For one year, I have been waking up whenever I woke up on Sundays with no alarm clock. If I slept too late, I could still watch the worship service on YouTube. My second dose will be in four weeks and then two weeks after that it will okay to be more public. So six weeks from today I will use my alarm clock on a Sunday morning for the first time sine March 2020, I look forward to being there in person, but not to an alarm clock. 🙂
Trafficking, sex trafficking, of children is a terrible evil in our world. The statistics are horrendous. When I contrast that with the pure love Jesus has for children, it causes me to want to get involved with efforts to save children.
The Super Bowl is coming soon and it saddens and angers me to know that children will be sex trafficked during the Super Bowl at the city it is held in. Perhaps one of the blessings of a pandemic is that not many people can attend the Super Bowl, so less trafficking might happen but it is only this year.
One of Trump’s policies that I hope Biden continues is a war on trafficking of children. So much needs to be done to combat it. When I think about the fact that an very wealthy man, Jeffrey Epstein, was involved in child sex trafficking, it horrifies me.
When I received my end of year tax info for donations to Love Justice, I thought about how I could have done more. Love Justice intercepts children and young women who are being trafficked. They also have group homes for children and young women in different countries for those who it is not safe to return where they came from.
Hero Bands is a small company started by Elizabeth Frazier. She was a victim of child sex trafficking. She began making Hero Bands for sale and donates from each band to organizations the fight child sex trafficking. A person can also pay for a donated band to be given to a child who has been rescued by Operation Underground Railroad. A video of Elizabeth’s story is at the end of my post.
I canceled my Netflix last year because of its movie Cuties that exploited 11 year old girls to make the movie. Each month I can use that money to pay for a donated band with Hero Bands.
Jesus has strong words for those who harm children. In Luke 17 we read:
It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
That is the attitude we all need. In the USA, we need a Federal Law with mandatory sentences, harsh mandatory sentences, for those guilty of child sex trafficking.
At the very least, we can pray for Jesus to raise up more people to fight against child trafficking.
Last month I decided to take the money I would have wasted on my monthly Netflix fee and put it to use to help children. I had canceled my Netflix because it produced the movie Cuties which exploits 11 year old girls to make a movie.
So I ordered Hero Bands again.
For only $10, I was able to pay to donate a band that will go to a child freed from sex trafficking. The band has the word Hero on it and also has my initials on it which lets the child know someone cares.
I had paid for one last month too and pray for the child who received the band for Jesus to bring healing into the child’s life and pure love. I will pray for the child who receives this band too.
I ordered one for myself with the word Faith on it.
The woman who makes and sells the bands donates $2 from each band sold to Operation Underground Railroad which frees children from sex slavery.
In the mornings, I teach moms from other countries English. I often have chances to interact with their children. One mom’s baby smiles when I greet her in Spanish.
My church has a project this year of First Free Loves LPS. We want to encourage schools, teachers, and staff during this difficult year. For my school, the focus was on winter hats and gloves for children since it is in a low income neighborhood. One morning I happened to stop by the office when a little Kindergarten girl needed a winter hat and gloves. She chose pink ones.
Children are gifts from God. They need to be protected, nurtured, and loved. As we love them and nurture them, we can appreciate God’s love for us.
I have to admit it has been a struggle at times and felt like I was experiencing spiritual warfare at times.
Today was a big step. The first rough draft is finished!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Now it is time to go over it with a fine tooth comb for editing. Then I will need to explore publishing it, the hows of it, the when of it etc.
This is how it starts:
“God I don’t know if you are real. I don’t know anything about you. God I am so scared and I can’t take this anymore. Please God, if you are real, please help me. I can’t go on like this anymore,”
That was my simple prayer. I was a victim of human trafficking. It began before I was in their trap. It began with a man I met online who seemed nice. I was only a teenager at the time. I was living in another foster home and was tired of being treated badly. He told me he wanted to take care of me. He told me things I wanted to hear, but he was only leading me into a trap. This is my story.
I would appreciate pray as I move forward for God to guide me in publication and everything it entails. I would also appreciate prayer that God would work through the book to raise awareness of sex trafficking, and rally God’s people to do something about it. I have decided to donate $1 to Love Justice and $1 to Underground Railroad from the sale of each book once it is published. Unless by some miracle a publisher wants to publish it and pays me, then it I will donate in a different way.