social justice

Come Alive

Ready for a question: One. Two. Three.

What makes you come alive?

Quick.

What’s your answer?

I was sifting through old photos a couple days ago, and came across this one from my travels in Cambodia Summer 2011. My heart races when I look at this photo. Why? Because nothing makes me feel more alive than traveling and working with villagers, orphans, and victims of sex trafficking. I know, not your typical answer from an 20 something HR girl, but that’s my answer.

Before the sun even rises, I’m at work. Around dinner time, I leave the office, only to do more work at home. The result: I work probably 50+ hours a week. Yet all the while, I feel so alive. I know that working in the corporate world is making it possible for me to live out my dream to travel and help the oppressed, the down-and-outters.

My day job as an HR girl allows me to see and hear a lot. Over the past couple months I’ve notice that people in our world are seemingly “burnt-out” they lack that passion in their eyes. They’ve worked so hard for the American Dream, they go to their 8-5 job, go home to wine and dine, then catch a few hours of beauty sleep only to do it all over again. It’s a cycle. In the process of trying to achieve their American Dream, they’ve lost it all. They’ve lost the purpose and meaning of life.

I have a new theory (as always). We have to have a passion, something that makes us come alive, if we want to live life to the fullest. We all need something that makes us come alive. The American Dream isn’t going to be our answer.

Why? If we don’t, we’ll go through the routine of life mundanely, bored, and on the verge of being burnt out. And let’s be honest, that’s no way to live.

So again – here’s my question: What makes you come alive?

Go after it.

Find your passion and purpose and move with courage.

Kampong Thom, Cambodia // Summer 2011

Be Inspired + Create

Johannesburg

There are certain moments in life that I miss.
This is one of them: Traveling across the world with some of my dearest friends &
playing games in abandoned fields with village kids.

Take me back to South Africa.
My feet are longing to be on foreign soil.

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Love Thy Neighbor

Our society has been bombarded with this famous phrase: Love thy Neighbor. Yet, as the years go by and I expose myself to the world, I can’t help but notice that the majority of humanity is saying or in some cases chanting “Love thy Neighbor”, but few are living it out.

Airports and planes have become a way of life for me, rather than an exciting luxury. Without fail, every time I fly I have a conversation with someone about what I do for a living. And without fail, the people I talk to are left in awe that I choose to spend my time helping the hurting people in the world. Essentially, they are impressed that a twenty- something year old college graduate would rather “Love thy Neighbor” than open her own psychology practice and pursue the American Dream.

Now, I would venture to say that I have the opportunity to be a part of some amazing things; however, I’m not so sure that that people ought to be “impressed”, after all it ought to be our way of life; to love thy neighbor. Somewhere along the way, our society has missed the point of life: to love God and love people. Instead, we’ve put a focus on living the American Dream, we work all day long for ourselves and for our family, but we’ve forgotten about our neighbors; the ones in need. It’s time to readjust our thinking.

We live in a world that is in need and where beauty and disaster are intertwined. A world that is in need of people to begin not only speaking about loving thy neighbor, but believing so much in bringing a piece of heaven to earth that they begin live it out.

The reality is that millions are effected every year by natural disasters, whether that be earthquakes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, or wildfires. Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of thousands as homes were lost, and 1,836 people were killed. Haiti’s infamous earthquake shook the country as it killed 220,000 people, leaving 1 million homeless, and countless children as orphans. Japan experienced an earthquake that stirred up a tsunami which left the whole world in awe of this catastrophe. There were over 15,000 deaths, 11,111 people missing, 4.4 million homes without electricity, and 1.5 million homes without clean water.

Regardless of their demographic – the people impacted by these disasters are our neighbors.
They are in need of someone coming to their rescue – and bringing hope.

C.S. Lewis said, “A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it; and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian. I may repeat “Do as you would be done by” til I am black in the face, but I cannot really carry it out until I love my neighbour as myself; and I cannot learn to love my neighbour as myself till I learn to love God; and I cannot learn to love God expect by learning to obey Him”.

The world is waiting for a generation to wake up and “make the most of every opportunity”. (Ephesians 5.16). To stop being consumed by living the American Dream, and to embrace to heart of the Father. The world is in need of a people so enthralled by the love of the Father, that they cannot help but to breathe life and bring beauty in their every movement. There is a people in need, and they are waiting to be rescued by someone who is willing to push pass the uncomfortable and be Jesus to them.

I challenge you to allow your heart to match the heart of the Father’s. Let your heart break for what breaks His. Let your heart be moved by compassion in the same way that the Father’s heart is moved. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. (Galations 6:9-10)

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Tonight.

The setting – Birmingham, Alabama, USA 
The time – 7:07 pm

Tonight, the average 8 year old little girl will be at home with her family in their little suburban home. She’ll be playing dress up with her mom and little sisters; trying on heels, putting on lipstick, and pretending to be a pretty little princess.

The setting – Phenom Phen, Cambodia
The time – 7.07 pm

Tonight, a beautiful 8 year old girl will be locked up in a basement with a number attached to her raggedy dress. Though she cannot see anyone outside the four walls of the basement, she is being watched by men. A customer is about to pick her number and when he does, she’ll be escorted to another room where she will forced to put on heels, red lipstick, and as a man who is old enough to be her father has his way with her, she’ll pretend that she has escaped this life of torment.

The setting – Unknown
The time – Right now

Sex trafficking is the second largest industry in the world today, and it is quickly rising to the top, generating almost $28 billion dollars a year.

In a moment of honesty – I believe the majority of us would admit to day dreaming about our future. We dream about the adventures we’ll go on, the people we’ll meet, our future careers, who we’ll marry- and what our family will be like. We were meant to dream.

However, while we sit and dream about our futures, 1.39* billion girls will be dreaming that they will merely survive. The truth is that these girls are robbed of the opportunity to dream for anything else other than survival. The life they live is far from a dream come true, rather its one’s worst nightmare. These young girls have been betrayed and manipulated by those they’ve trusted most, and forced into an industry that strips them of their dignity, and puts their life at risk. Treated like property, instead of a human with a soul, the girls are pawned off to almost every demographic of men and with no say in the matter. The girls are drugged up and forced to do whatever sexual favors the men desire. And though every piece of their body wants to escape, the girls must muster up enough strength to endure the next 20 minutes that the men have paid for. This is only a glimpse into their reality.

I believe that God intended us to dream big; not just for ourselves, but also for others. Let us begin to dream for freedom for those who are in bondage. The Apostle Paul urges us to be kingdom minded saying, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) It is time for us as humanity to care more about God’s kingdom coming to earth than our own plans for the future. I challenge you to let the love and passion of God rise up in your hearts to bring justice, love, and hope to these young beauties.

Tonight, you have a decsion to make. Will you be choose to be consumed by your own personal comfort? Or will you choose to be so consumed with loving and dreaming for others that you begin to create change?

“The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. This is God’s love. It conqours the world.” – Francis Chan

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The Simple Life

“Learn to do good.
Work for Justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”
[Isaiah 1.15-17]

The month of June I spent some time in the nation that captured my heart; Cambodia. I went there knowing that my story would never be the same. I knew I would encounter faces that would leave an imprint on my heart. However, never in my wildest dreams would I imagine how much these faces would impact me. With smiles on their faces, they go through life with courage. Yet, what they are yearning for is someone to speak out on their behalf. They are orphans, widows, and people in need of love and compassion.

Here is a glimpse into their life.

Removing the Rosebud Lenses: Trafficking in the City of Angels

With the news and media influencing our daily lives, its not uncommon for us as Americans to hear about shocking issues happening around the world. Issues such as genocide, child soldiers, unclean water, poverty, orphans, and trafficking flood the night time news and our twitter feeds. We tell ourselves that those inhumane issues only happen in Cambodia, Sudan, or some third world country, but never America. However, if we take a moment and remove the rosebud lenses that we are wearing- we’ll see clearly that some of these ugly realties are happening in our own backyard.

Thousands of slaves are living in this land we call freedom. Approximately *14,500-17,500 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually. These numbers are staggering and unfortunately they are growing. Over the years, the United States has become one of the primary places for traffickers to bring women and children for forced labor and sex.

Flor Molina, a mother to three, is just one of thousands who has a story of deceit that led her to the longest 40 days of her life as she was trafficked to the City of Angels.

Read her story.


Flor Molina was a victim of slavery who was trafficked into Los Angeles, California.
[Photo Credit: CNN]

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Create Change.

*Stats from Department of Justice

Life is a Story.

I’ve been exploring a thought lately: that life is a story. We are all characters in one grand story, but each of us have stories of our own as well. We work alongside the Master Storyteller, playing a role in His story and creating our own. Each day we are presented choices, opportunity, and perhaps even conflict that carry our story on. While I could expand on the thoughts and theories of life as a story, I believe that it comes down to this:

We exist to live out a beautiful story.

I trust that we work alongside the Master Storyteller to co-write our story. Although some may think that only the story teller moves the story along, I’d like to think that the character also  has a vital part to play in moving the story along. You see, the character has a personality and therefore has the ability to make choices.

I am a character in my story. With the ability to shape my story. With that in mind, I want my story to be one of breathing life. I desire for my character to bring a piece of heaven to earth and to move with purpose.

So let the story begin.

January 2009 I boarded a plane with no idea where I was headed. I was a first year intern with Go International, getting ready to take part in one of the biggest adventures: The Mystery Trip. I suppose one could say its Missions meets The Amazing Race. For all I knew I was going to be heading to the land down under, Australia. In fact, I’ll be honest with you, I was wishing on the stars that Australia would be my final destination. After all, it is the dream land.

Our team landed in Seoul, Korea and a few of us interns were determined that we’d be hopping on the next plane headed for Sydney. I’d say I was secretly hoping that Sydney was our destination, but I’m not so sure I really kept it a secret. Through a series of questions and answers, Cambodia was revealed as our final destination.

Silence struck. My heart sank. Cambodia was not the vision.

I mustered up as much “excitement” as possible as I cheered with the rest of the interns that we were going to Cambodia.

As we took the next plane to Phnom Phen, Cambodia I wrestled with the thought of being in Asia. To be honest, I’ve never had the desire to go to Asia. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

What happened next was definitely NOT expected. I fell in love with the nation of Cambodia. All it took was one little orphan girl who held my hand and tugged on my heart. Her smile was contagious. Her beauty was captivating.

Everyday our team would go to the orphanage where this little beauty lived. And without fail, she would come and find me. It wasn’t long before I taught her how to take photos. She was a mini me. A mini shutter bug. She would get her friends to pose, position them, count “1 2 3”, then snap a photo. Her face would light up as she and I looked at the photo she took, and the most beautiful smile would appear on her face. She was learning how to tell a story through photography and in the meantime she was impacting MY story.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of this little beauty. She is only one. One of 163 million orphans in the world. 100,000 children in Cambodia have the same reality as this little beauty. Out of those 100,000 children many of them will go to sleep on the streets and are at risk of being exploited for sex trafficking. This reality breaks my heart.

My heart burns with this desire: “To do right! Seek Justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). This June, I will be heading back with Go International to the nation that captured my heart, Cambodia. Not only do I hope to find the little beauty who impacted my story, but I will have the opportunity to create change in the stories and realities of orphans like the little beauty’s.

While in Cambodia, we will be working alongside the local government to rescue orphans off the streets and place them in an orphanage. Our team, will also be building a farm that will sustain the orphans that are rescued. This farm will provide the orphans with 3 meals a day, and create revenue in order to provide for clothing, housing, and an education. Our team will also be hosting a Night of Refuge, working with girls who are exploited for sex trafficking.

Every great story has several things in common. They all have a character who wants something, but must face some sort of conflict to achieve their goal. This story is no exception.

I am a character in a story. My desire is to change the realities of orphans and victims of sex trafficking. However, alongside this desire comes the obstacle: a price tag of $2,700.

I am asking you as my friends and family to come along side me and be apart of this beautiful story of changing the realities of the people of Cambodia.

This story is to be continued.

 

*If you would like to sponsor me on this journey back to Cambodia- Please make checks payable to Go International. *For more information on how to join me in Cambodia- message me or visit GoInternational.tv

Mail to: Lindsey Clark 5356 E. 81st Street #1338 Tulsa, Ok 74137