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Respond - Marvelyn Schell Campaign Blog

Although it was still morning, I could already feel the hot African sun.  Clouds of dust puffed up by passing vehicles was gradually drifting into my house and settling like dirty powder on everything.  I could hear people whistling and shouting for taxis as they made their way into town.  A pretty typical day for those of us living in Kitwe, Zambia.

My husband was at the college teaching, and the girls were in school so I knew I had just a few hours to get all my errands done.  Grabbing the keys, I hurried to the truck and reviewed my list…I was a woman on a mission!

Pay bills. 

Get groceries.

Visit hardware store for garden supplies. 

Pick up worm medicine for dogs at the Veterinary Clinic. 

Pick up worm medicine for family at the Medical Clinic.

You get the idea…

But on this ‘typical’ day God had a job for me that I completely ignored. 

I still regret it to this day.

I was used to seeing beggars and street people around town.  They were part of my typical day and part of the mission package I had agreed to - coming face to face with poverty. 

“Madam, can I wash your car while you shop?”  “Madam, do you have any extra Kwacha?” “Madam, my family needs food.” 

I sped through the roundabout hoping that there wouldn’t be a police check on the other side bur rehearsing my answers should there be one – they always made me nervous.  And as I slowed down to turn the corner, I saw him. He was dressed in rags that had turned reddish-brown by lying in the Zambian dirt.  Hunched over, he was throwing up…the kind that brings nothing but spastically tries anyway.  In those few seconds I saw.  I saw a desperate man, needing help.

But I drove on.

Of course, I justified my actions.

I didn’t have time.  I only get the car once a week.  It wasn’t safe to stop.  How could I really help?

Recently I was reading the story of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus tells this parable in response to an expert in religious law interrogating him on eternal life.  So guess what jumped out off the page at me? 

Luke 10:29   “The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’”

When it comes to responding to Christ we too can try to justify our actions…or inactions for that matter.  But let me humbly give you two pieces of advice from my regretful-pass-by. 

 

1) Pray. Pray that God would give you the courage to obey.  CS Lewis once said, “For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model.  Removing mountains can wait.” 

2) Recognize that obedience will be uncomfortable and inconvenient.  I love how Martin Luther King Jr interprets this parable, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

ZOE Network knows it’s hard to respond…I’m proof of that. 

But be certain of this…if you do respond…you will experience life – ZOE [Gk] life!  Luke 10:28

 

Marvelyn Schell

ZOE Network Strategy Coordinator

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Grounded in the Word - Sherry Stahl

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16 NIV

When I was a kid growing up I loved Crusaders.

For those of you who are too young to remember, this PAOC Children's program was essentially Girl Guides and Boy Scouts with a Christian twist.

We wore the typical uniform with a sash to hold badges on, did all the camping, singing and marching those other groups did, but didn't have to sell any cookies.

Crusaders stood apart in their goal to train up children who were grounded in the Word.

Each week we learned about and memorized scripture. For a competitive girl like me, a badge was all the motivation I needed to get me to memorize scripture. I didn't realize how valuable this training in the Word was until my life got tough.

My first marriage was a very difficult time for me. The tumultuous relationship left my heart and mind struggling to know the truth. My self-worth was diminished and I was hopeless, unless I stood on the Word. In the times when I would stay grounded in the Word I could face my troubles with confidence and rise above the circumstances. Often I would quote scripture to build myself up. I was amazed at how many of those verses I learned when I was a kid in Crusaders. When I didn't stay in the Word daily I became weak, defeated and bitter. Not someone you always wanted to hang around!

5 EASY STEPS TO STAY GROUNDED IN THE WORD:

1. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY

I read my Bible daily. In the hard times I read more, because I need more. I thought every Christian did this, but sadly that's not the case. In Canada, only 11% of churchgoers read their Bible daily.

If you haven't build up the habit of daily devotions check out www.takethe40daychallenge.com. There you can sign-up for free to take a 40-day journey through reading my book and the Bible. You will receive 40 days worth of short emails to help you stay consistent. Christian Bookstores are a great resource to find devotionals or Bible Studies that can help guide you in scripture study. It's good to read from a variety of authors so you have a 'balanced meal' that produces a balanced mind.

2. WRITE IT OUT

I'm known for having scripture written on cue cards taped to my bathroom mirror or kept in my purse. My husband Todd used to write scripture and keep it in his shirt pocket. He also would record scripture on the door from the house into the garage. He painted it with black chalkboard paint and made artistic postings. In our house, we have a frame with chalkboard paint instead of a painting in it where we write scriptures or sayings on it. I let the artist update that one!

3. SPEAK IT OUT

I believe quoting scripture out loud is the most powerful thing you can do. David ran at Goliath with his mouth open declaring the goodness of his God and letting Goliath know how God was going to make David victorious. Life and death is in the power of the tongue. Use this truth to your benefit. I don't know if there's anything that defeats the enemy more than when we speak out scripture? Use scripture in your prayers. It will make them more effective because you're praying in agreement with God and His Word. Just make sure you're not trying to manipulate God or His Word.

4. FILL UP YER WELL

It seems almost too simple to say, so when I think of this point I see a hillbilly standing beside one of those old water pumps, arm moving up and down and I hear him saying, “you gots to fill up yer well.” It's so important to keep the well of your spirit filled up on the water of the Word. We have to store up a supply of fresh water when things are going well so you have something to pump out when times get tough.

5. LET THE STREAMS FLOW

Don't keep it to yourself! When you read something in the Bible that inspires you, challenges you, helps you, corrects you or you just think it's funny...share it with someone. Don't be a Dead Sea. If the water flows in, let it keep on flowing. Let the streams flow so you can refresh someone else!

  • Send it in a card, email or text
  • Call a friend on the phone and tell them about it
  • Blog about it
  • Write a book
  • Sing it in a Song
  • Share about it at church
  • Teach Sunday School
  • Lead a Bible Study or Home Group
  • Share about it with your friends
  • Tell someone your testimony and include scripture when you do
  • Preach

 

Footnotes

1 LifeWay Research

2 Ibid

3 Proverbs 19:21

 

Sherry is a dynamic Author, Speaker and Blogger. Your group would be inspired to have her come and share. Check out Sherry’s Soul H2O blog where you can find ‘Refreshment For Your Soul’ on Mondays with her weekly #SoulH2O devotionals at

http://sherrystahl.com/blog/

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Kirsten Anonby - Listen to God

God is speaking . . . how do we hear Him?  “What’s it like when you try to hear from God?” I’m a campus pastor, and this is one of my favourite questions to ask students. I don’t ask “how is your prayer life?” because it prompts guilty confessions that they should be praying more. That’s not what I want. I want to hear their questions; I want them to describe their struggles, their uncertainty, and their rare clear experiences of hearing Jesus. It’s funny that such a central part of spiritual maturity can be such a mystery. We believe that our God speaks to us today, but I’ve found that, more often than not, people are uncertain about how to hear Him. When we really need to hear Him and come up with nothing it’s easy to wonder—Does He speak? Am I doing it wrong? Or maybe He’s talking, but just not to me? What do I have to do to get God to talk to me?

I’ve had my fair share of temper tantrums when I’ve tried to hear God and epically failed. But I’ve also learned, over the course of my growing and messy life with Jesus, some of the things that get in the way of hearing Him. I know that if I avoid these pitfalls, I’m putting myself in the right posture to hear.

1. Stop Trying so Hard

A number of years ago I met regularly with a spiritual director who told me to stop trying when I went to pray. He said this to me every week: that it was God’s responsibility to speak—not mine. I had a hard time believing this. If God was always speaking and I wasn’t hearing Him, who else was there to blame? I must not be doing it right. But there was no formula, no system. Like the grace we each have been given and have not earned, I was to simply come and let Him be the Giver. I was to come and be—for 20 minutes a day, to be exact. I was to be quiet and let all the crazy thoughts and emotion in my mind settle down. I was to be open to the presence of God. Even though it felt like nothing, he said something would shift in me. And he was right. How, after all, can we hear God’s voice when every other voice is speaking to us at the same time? Jesus is not an over-talker. It’s in the quiet that we hear Him. 

2. Don’t Avoid Solitude & Silence

And there isn’t a lot of quiet these days. Our lives are a constant barrage of voices: our families, work, friends, the hundreds of strangers we pass by each day. And then there are the myriad of other “voices” on our smartphones, computers, tv, etc. Every instant of our lives can, if we choose, be filled with voices and information: and many of us do choose (I must confess, I check Facebook while in the bathroom.) Most of us are so used to this invasion of our lives that we don’t realize how much more chaos and, well, noise we’re living with than people did a hundred, fifty, or even twenty five years ago. We don’t realize that we’ve become strangers to silence.When I actually seek to be silent a new type of noise emerges—an internal noise. From the outside it looks like I’m being still and knowing that He is God–– but on the inside I am overwhelmed with a tangled mass of emotions, running thoughts, and unfinished to do lists. Being still becomes equivalent to opening the door of that storage closet I’ve been flinging things into for much too long. I don’t know how I feel. I am not at peace. But I know peace is on the other side of all that chaos in my head, and it’s only in my times of silence—of solitude—that Jesus is able to bring order out of the chaos. 

3.) Don’t Push Jesus Away When He Shows You Yourself Letting Jesus bring clarity out of the chaos feels vulnerable, and sometimes even scary. It threatens any illusions I’ve hidden behind, because Jesus is speaking—and He’s showing me myself: what’s really going on behind my irritability—what fears are really driving my tendency to overwork—what old wounds prompted me to snap at my friend. Sometimes I throw a whole mess of thoughts and feelings onto a page (or five) of my journal. After it’s all out there in black and white, I write one simple question: “what is true?” Jesus is somehow able to speak the truth to me in a way that I can receive it, regardless of how difficult it is. For me, I’ve found that the first thing Jesus speaks to me about is my own heart—the broken parts, the selfish parts, and the parts that bring Him joy. He wants to show us ourselves so that he can speak life to the deadness in us, speak love to the wounds in us, and bring wholeness and holiness to the brokenness in us. And as He speaks, and mends, and heals, He is preparing our hearts to participate in the work He is doing in the world.

 

Kirsten Anonby

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Making Space - Nelia Evans Campaign Blog

Have you ever felt like that anxious old rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?  He runs around with his ticking golden clock, announcing to everyone in ear shot, “I’m late; I’m late for a very important date.” Unfortunately, I often find myself in this harried state!  Like the White Rabbit, I am frantically on the move, trying to keep my proverbial full plate from toppling over like a bad game of Jenga! 

In the midst of this life with all of its pulls and demands, how does one find, or rather make, the time to spend quality moments with God?  I don’t know about you, but some days, even finding the time to just sit for a moment, is a rarity.  It’s not that I don’t want to spend time in God’s Word, it is just sometimes, my day (along with my best intentions) slip through that spiralling rabbit hole at an alarming rate!  Is there hope for those of us who find ourselves in such a place? 

Making space for God in a fast-paced world:

Stop beating yourself up!  If you are anything like me, guilt rears her ugly head and leaves you paralyzed.  Don’t let the guilt of the past, keep you from pressing on.  If this is ringing true, then perhaps it is time to change your mind set about ‘devotional’ time.  Your Relationship with Jesus is a journey, not a destination.   Enjoy the journey for what it is.  Not for what it was, and not for what it may be in the future.  Learn to create moments in the present.  These intimate moments with Jesus will no doubt guide your future. 

 

If spending time with Jesus becomes laborious and just another item to add to our check-list of to-do’s, then we have missed the mark!  Being mindful and present for 5 minutes is worth far more than 30 minutes of distracted bible reading because the quality of time is more important than the quantity.  Choose to make space that is meaningful.  Be intentional and fully engaged.  Time well spent, will result in a deeper relationship with your Creator.  Start with just a few minutes of deep, meaningful, mindful moments with Jesus.  No matter how busy we may be, we can all find a few minutes each day.  It may be as simple as intentionally praying to Him during your daily commute.  Or, reciting meaningful bible verses over and over as you prepare a meal.   Your faith will increase as you build stamina and increase your mindful and intentional time with Him. 

If it’s important to you, you will make the time.  Ouch!  Although quality is more important than quantity, there still must be time set aside, and that is not an easy feat.  It requires sacrifice and discipline and let’s face it, that takes time and effort.  Just like building muscle, we must keep at it.  Even though it has been a few years since I was an active ‘runner,’ my body still has memory muscle.  I am able to start running, and although I won’t pick up where I left off, my body remembers the feeling of running and is able to re-start.  Our faith muscle is much the same.  If we discipline ourselves to create time and space with Jesus, our heart and mind will follow suit.  No matter how long it has been, it is never too late to quiet that inner white rabbit and his ever-ticking golden clock.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Nelia Evans

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Nourishing Ourselves

I remember the day I weaned my last child.  It was bittersweet.  I had anticipated the day, knowing that developmentally it was a necessary step for Ben and let’s face it, I was looking forward to more freedom…but…I was sad to let go.  It was the end of an era for both of us.

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5 Reasons Why Leaders Need Mentors

Happy "First Day of Fall" - (we are sorry...we are in denial too!)

We have had an exciting start to the Fall because ZOE Leadership was officially launched!  

Our first course, IDENTITY is already being used in small group settings across Canada.  (If you want to know more, email us HERE.)

Our aim with ZOE Leadership is to encourage women to be strategic with their lives.  We know that Canadian women want to "make a difference" at home and abroad, but don't always know how to do that.  ZOE Leadership is here to help!  

The ZOE blog will regularly feature leadership items that will be an encouragement to those growing in their influence. 

Today's post is from Elyse Brouwer.  She is a gifted young woman who serves as a Pastor on the staff of Westwinds Church in Surrey, B.C.

 

5 Reasons Why Leaders Need Mentors by Elyse Brouwer

I am convinced that for any woman in leadership (however it may look in their lives), having a mentor is essential for personal, professional, and spiritual development. Regardless of age, position, or life stage, everyone can benefit from the influence of a mentor- someone whose wisdom, encouragement, and advice they can trust and take to heart. Not sure? Here are 5 reasons why you (yes, you) need a mentor:

1) Mentors help you grow

Elyse Brouwer

Having a mentor can be a great catalyst for growth. Bill Hybels, in his book Courageous Leadership, wrote that, “All the effective leaders I have ever talked to can point back to someone who sacrificed time and energy to grow them up as leaders.” (pg. 125) Find someone who has skills or gifts you’d like to develop in yourself, or a seasoned leader that’s a few steps down the road from where you are. Ask them questions about their experiences and what they’ve learned through them. Ask for their input or perspective on challenges you’re facing in your spiritual life, your workplace, or in your personal life. You’ll get wiser as you listen to their experiences, increase in self-awareness as they give feedback, and grow in confidence as they pray and encourage you.

2) Mentors give you new perspectives

No two people think in exactly the same way, nor do they have the exact same experiences. When mentors give input, they often shine light on new angles or perspectives that we may have missed or overlooked when considering a challenge.

There’s a great passage in Exodus 18 regarding Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro. Moses sits down to judge the people, as he has always done. The people line up in front of him from morning to night. Jethro observes this, points out to Moses that this is not the most effective way to help the people resolve their conflicts, and advises him to share this responsibility with other leaders that could do the job with competence and integrity. This would be healthier for Moses, and allow other leaders to grow in their capabilities as well. 

Moses listens to his father-in-law, and everyone wins. Don’t overlook the value that different perspectives can bring to your leadership- Moses definitely didn’t!

3) Mentors enable you to face tougher challenges

The more time we spend with mentors getting feedback, advice, and new perspectives, the more equipped we are to make better decisions next time in the face of tougher challenges. Hearing about how your mentor has responded to a challenge or tough decision in the past may not give you an exact 5-step process for your challenging situation, but it can certainly give you guidelines and principles to follow that can be extremely helpful (not to mention, it can keep you from having to learn the hard way). 

4) Mentors can be your advocates

Not every mentoring relationship looks the same way, but in my own experience, my mentors have been my best advocates. A good mentor will champion you to others, provide opportunities for you to develop your skills in meaningful ways, and be a cheerleader for you as you take risks and step out of your comfort zone. Paul certainly did this for Timothy, his young protege. Paul provided opportunities for Timothy to travel with him (Acts 16:1-3), and continued to encourage and support Timothy as he ministered in various churches, specifically Ephesus (1 and 2 Timothy). Timothy was also given the opportunity to collaborate with Paul on various letters to different churches (cf. Rom. 16:21). 

5) Mentors help you mentor

In the book Gifted to Lead, by Nancy Beach, she writes, “I am still stunned by the thirst for mentoring I see in the next generation of leaders, both men and women… the kingdom will not advance unless we are willing to humbly turn around and lend a hand to raise up the leaders of tomorrow.” (pg. 168-169) Good leaders develop other leaders. If you are being mentored, you will be better equipped to be a mentor to other men/women/children under your influence. 

As you dive into a new school year and a new season, I would challenge you to take a look around you and ask yourself if there is anyone whose mentorship you could benefit from. Chances are, you will see plenty of people that you can learn from and be developed by. Ask them to join you for coffee and a chat about life, work, leadership, etc. You won’t regret it!

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Turning a Blind Eye: A Quick Primer on Marginalization

This week's post is written by a good friend of ZOE...Jennifer Adkins.  (You may recognize Jenn because she appears in the ZOE video.)  Jennifer has been a consultant, research analyst, ombudsperson and an instructor.

As much as she enjoyed participating in all of these roles, she was excited to leave them to go back to school full-time for a PhD., specializing in Race and Ethnic Relations.

Jennifer and her family love living in British Columbia because it’s like a giant playground, open year-round.

She is a gift to us as we work to educate ourselves around the issues of vulnerable women. 

Jennifer Adkins

by Jennifer Adkins

It’s a dark and rainy December and I’m rushing around feeling pretty overwhelmed.

I try to remember if there was ever a time that I really enjoyed clothes shopping.

Shopping for a Christmas banquet dress, at the last minute, is not my idea of a good time – I had only days before my husband’s work Christmas party and I couldn’t find a thing to wear.

But with my own work, studies, kids, and life in general, who has time to shop for a party dress?

I rush out into the parking lot of the mall frustrated and late.

Just as I approach my vehicle, I see a young woman, with an umbrella, pushing a large stroller with a clear plastic rain resistant covering over it.

She had asked another woman for something and was refused.

She turned in my direction.

I knew what was coming – or so I thought - I’ve heard them all before but had never seen a woman with a child asking for help on the street in Canada.

As this woman came to me, I asked how I could help her.

She told me her story - she was divorced from her husband who was abusive, recently lost her job, had two young kids who she was supporting on her own, and was now at the verge of losing her home.

She expected that she would have to move and find cheaper accommodations but she didn’t want to up-heave her children right before Christmas.

She had a hard time looking for work because when she got interviews, she had no one to care for her daughter who wasn’t school age yet.

There was no money to afford the day care that she used to be able to pay for.

Her story tore me apart inside.

Here I sit, whining about not being able to find a suitable dress for a party and this courageous woman is explaining to me that she will do anything – including beg on the streets, to feed her kids and keep them sheltered.

She had bussed for hours to get to a church that was supposed to be providing bread to people in need, but when she reached the church, she was told it was the wrong day.

We spoke for a long time.

Fretting about me getting soaked in the rain, she quickly moved her umbrella to shelter me as she absorbed the rain instead.

What on earth makes me more worthy of being sheltered and dry?

I had the honour of doing what I could to help her.

As we were saying good-bye, she sobbed, telling me that she had been begging God for days to help her, but he wouldn’t do anything until now.

I told her that sometimes those of us who he’s telling to participate in his work are a bit ‘thick in the head’ and in the heart. I explained that God is working on every one of us, especially those of us that call ourselves Christians.

This woman and many others are marginalized.

Marginalized means that they are pushed to the edges of society.

Marginalized people fail at or are prevented from fully participating in society. 

Our society doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it often functions to benefit and privilege those who need the least help.

This creates a gap between those who have money, protection, power, education, authority and those who do not – leaving those without, excluded and incapable of participating or contributing politically, socially, or economically in the world around them.

They lack access to goods and services, which further increases their chances of living with discrimination, poverty, hardship, and abuse.

People are marginalized based on their skin colour, sex, language spoken, disability, income, and many other characteristics.

Some people have overlapping characteristics, called intersections, which place them deeper into a place of inferiority.

Although I could be and have been marginalized based on the colour of my skin and my sex, other privileges like education and my middle class socioeconomic status, benefit me by opening doors that are closed to many others.

We often go through life turning a blind eye to marginalized individuals.

We basically make them invisible so that we don’t have to think about the inequality that they experience daily.

Now, why did I actually SEE this woman and take the time to listen to her story?

Because I could relate to her.

I saw a mom of two young kids who experienced hard circumstances and ended up in a bad situation.

I could be in the same situation with a twist of events.

This fact opened my eyes and caught my attention.

Now if she had been someone that I had nothing in common with and I couldn’t relate to…if she came from another part of the world… I would likely have turned a blind eye.

When considering people in other parts of the world living in very different societies than ours, we often cannot relate to their lives, making it easy to tune out their cries and turn a blind eye toward their needs.

Jesus is painfully aware of inequalities that exist in both North America and around the world.

He showed us by example how we are expected to love others, regardless of how much we relate to them.

It’s no coincidence that he spent time showing love to and helping the marginalized of his day – women, prostitutes, foreigners, tax collectors, those with disabilities, etc.

So, I have to ask you, what marginalized group have you turned a blind eye to and what do you intend to do about it?

Personally, I know that I have a lot of work to do in this area, and it’ll begin with opening my eyes and my heart.

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Victoria Had a Secret...Three Simple Steps Towards Dignity

This is Marvelyn Schell.  

Marvelyn is the International Liaison for ZOE Projects.  Marvelyn works directly with our ZOE Project Partners to help assess community needs and determine practical ways that Canadians can get involved.

Marvelyn is uniquely equipped in this area having recently returned from Southern Africa, where she and her husband served as PAOC Global workers for over a decade.  While serving in Africa, Marvelyn worked as the South Africa Project Manager for Child Care Plus.  She also worked with the mothers of her CCP kids and developed a leadership training program that offered micro-finance loans to women starting small businesses.  Marvelyn loves to see women do well..and she carries that passion into ZOE Projects.  Marvelyn is now based out of London, Ontario where her husband pastors. Gary and Marvelyn have two young adult daughters who are currently furthering their studies. 

Marvelyn Schell

Victoria Had a Secret...Three Simple Steps Towards Dignity

My life had been riddled with bouts of insecurity until I met her.  Her name was Victoria and she had a secret.

It was our first year as Global Workers with the PAOC in Zambia.  Victoria helped me in my house, and God knew I needed help.  She was a widow.  Quiet, shy, hard working.  She knew how to laugh and fill the rooms of our home with joy.  English wasn’t her first language but she was a fantastic communicator.  In fact, Victoria wasn’t well educated but she was very smart.

My life intersected with Victoria’s for just 2 years but it left an indelible imprint on my life.  Why?  Because I saw a woman who knew her value because she knew she was valuable to God. 

Herein lies dignity.  Knowing your worth.

Let’s make it very clear, ZOE Projects is not about throwing money at women’s issues around the world. 

Dignity and value do not have a price tag.

It is about giving honour - dignifying that which is worthy.

That’s the secret. 

Victoria taught me that secret.  Maybe it shouldn’t be a secret anymore.  Maybe we need to say it out loud.

So, let me reveal three simple steps to get you started:

Start where you’re at.

1) Begin to value the women in your life now.

Don’t compete with them, don’t compare yourself with them.  Validate them and honour their presence in your life.

2) Get to know them.

Every woman has a name and has a secret to share.  You’ll be amazed at how rich your life will become as you take the time to listen.

3) Understand them.

Travel into their world.  Try picking up a book like I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai or watch a documentary like Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn. 

And when you learn the secret…dignifying that which is worthy...pass it on. 

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The Sex Tourist and Righteous Anger

Darcy and I were flying from Manila to Bangkok recently when I saw a familiar scene which never fails to unleash anger within me.  It began when I saw a group of people in front of us who were in line for the airline check-in counter.  There was much laughter as they took their "selfies" and it would seem like a normal group enjoying their much deserved vacation.  Looking closer though, this was not an ordinary group. 

The group consisted of four older men who were clearly not "local".  I apologize in advance for the following description (my anger is going to seep through)...but these men were old, overweight, socially awkward and greasy.  These were the guys that probably couldn't get a date in North America and so headed to Thailand. 

With these guys were two beautiful young Thai women.  While it may look like they were simply "on holiday" together, it is very safe to say that there had been some sort of "transaction" for the women's services.  To put it bluntly, these women were being rented...and unfortunately this scene is played out all the time in Asia.  The services of women are rented for the day, week or even month.  I resisted the urge to corner the men to inform them that the girls weren't really into them.

Though generally not advised, I took my rage to Facebook and posted this: 

Sex tourists make me SO MAD.

There was a very quick response from around the world with people chiming in with their "amens".

I then got a very interesting response from Sandra McIntosh, who is the director of Impact School of Missions in Bangkok. 

Check more out here

Here is what she said:

Sandra McIntosh

Hey Leanne - I hear you. It took me a long time to see past the cocky demeanor and see the man who is so horribly broken that he is a sex tourist. I was so angry for so long, but a friend of mine who is the director of MST Project in Bangkok - reaches out to the men. Check out more here   He opened my eyes to the other side - it is shocking - porn addiction, abuse, broken relationships, loneliness, rejection and a lot more. Eventually (and it took a long time) instead of anger I felt the same sadness for them as I do for the women. Slavery takes all kinds of forms. I hope the Lord raises up godly men everywhere to reach out to the many broken men everywhere.

Wow!  Slavery takes all kinds of forms... While I believe that my righteous anger and desire for justice is an expression of God's heart,  it was a good reminder that it is complicated, very complicated, but God's desire is to bring truth, justice and freedom to ALL, both men and women, no matter what bondage they find themselves in.

This is what drives us at ZOE Projects.  Our current ZOE project partner is Krista Couts.  Krista is a PAOC global worker living in Bangkok. She works with an organization called NightLight International that reaches out to women trapped in the sex industry through regular outreaches in the bars and on the street.  Krista builds relationship with women just like the ones I saw in the Manila airport...and I am glad that Krista is there bringing truth!

Consider supporting Krista through ZOE Projects...because it matters.

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