April 2016 - Sarah Mae
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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Should We Embrace the Life We Have?

Recently I’ve seen this quote going around, with no context to accompany it:

“Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”

It sounds really good, doesn’t? We want to trust God with the life we have. I understand this; I agree with the sentiment depending on who it is directed towards. But I have to tell you that when I first read that quote I was in SE Asia seeing girls in brothels and learning about 10 year olds being held as sex slaves. And so I felt angry. I thought, “What a privileged thing to say. I would never show that quote to these girls who are trapped in slavery. I would never encourage them to embrace their life.” In fact, that is what their captors would want them to do, just embrace their fate, their lot. See in their culture there’s this idea that you are where you are in life because of your past life, so if you’re a girl, you’ve already done something wrong, but if you’re a girl who was trafficked, this is your fate. You deserve it. So be resigned to it.

No.

I would show them this quote instead (hat tip to Dawntoya Thomason for sharing it with me):

“I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. “I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth.” Job 29:16-17

Yes, that is what God does. He uses ordinary people to go into the dark places and snatch the prey from the teeth of the wicked.

So no, we will not tell these girls to wash their faces and embrace their lives. We will go forward to creating a better life for those who are in the teeth of the wicked. We will advocate for the prey, the vulnerable, the snatched.

We will not give up.

And that is the life I will embrace, the one that keeps on in this:

Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:17

God’s heart is of hope and a better way, a new way, new life. I’m so grateful that the God I love is for the weak and is for justice and is for using us ordinary people to do His good work.

That is a privilege I can get on board with.

If you feel that way too, you can help snatch the prey from the teeth of the wicked by linking arms with The Exodus Road, an organization that does just that. They advocate for the weak and vulnerable and they go into the dark places and they gather evidence and they work with nationals and local police to do the snatching. They are being the hands of God.

Here’s how you can tangibly help fund investigations and raids that bring actual freedom to real girls: Go HERE and sign up to donate $35/month to help get young girls out of brothels (we’re looking for 50 monthly donors). This is specific to India, and 100% of your donation goes to funding investigations that lead to the freedom of these minors. I know it’s hard to read these stories and feel so helpless, but you *can* help. You may not be able to go onto the front lines and kick down brothel doors, but you can hire those who can and who are.

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To join the 50 who are willing to not look away, to carry the burden that is a gift, head HERE

Countdown: We need 50 30 more to donate. Become a stateside snatcher now!

Thank you.

Love, SM

Related:

Superheros are real. I met on.

Learning to Not Look Away (and the gift of the burden)

When Life Has Killed the Dream You Dreamed

Being Baptized into the Red Light District

I Said Yes

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Housework and Going into Brothels: the Holy Work of Both

It seems so insignificant doesn’t it? Writing and caring about homemaking (the #MarthaHomeMaryWay challenge started yesterday) when there are girls stuck as sex slaves around the world.

But here I am, writing about homemaking and motherhood and the daily stuff of life. This is my privileged life. And I mean that in the purest sense; I am privileged to be able to write and mother with all the tools I need at my disposal, and keep a home. I’m thankful. I’m grateful.

So how can I go on normally after learning what I’ve learned, after seeing what I’ve seen?

I just do.

I go on. I keep on. I have a family to take of and people to love and disciples (my kids) to teach.

This is good, holy work.

But I will also not look away anymore. I will continue in my work with The Exodus Road. I will pray and support and write. This is also good, holy work.

And I will teach my children to not look away, but to care and to help. Age-appropriate and in the seasons of time, but I want to nurture into them the holiness of justice.

So I will clean my house and do the laundry and live available where God has me. It’s worthy to rescue those trapped in sex slavery and it’s worthy to keep a home in order to love others. And I can and will do both. This is life, the holy and sacred and burdened life we wear.

Joy and heartache.

Good and evil.

Housework and brothels.

We intersect.

The key is to live well and open where you are, but to look and see and give and work in the holy dark.

To stay bright. To sit in the darkness with those who are in it; to push it back where we are able. And we are all stronger, by God’s grace, and more able than we think.

So keep on. Keep on in your holy homemaking and normal days and keep on in looking and seeing the broken and not giving up. Your kids need you, your community needs you, girls trapped in sex slavery need you. But no need to be overcome. Remember, Jesus has overcome the world. You just need to be tender to it.

In the tenderness God will speak and He will use you.

SM

Want to join in the #MarthaHomeMaryWay challenge? Click here for deets.

If you want to help The Exodus Road in the fight to end slavery, here is a tangible way: I need 50 people who are willing to donate $35/month to help get these girls out of the brothels. This is specific to India, and 100% of your donation goes to funding investigations that lead to the freedom of these minors. I know it’s hard to read these stories and feel so helpless, but you *can* help. You may not be able to go onto the front lines and kick down brothel doors, but you can hire those who can and who are. To join the 50 who are willing to not look away, to carry the burden that is a gift, head HERE. Thank you so much!

brothelhomemaking

Related:

Superheros are real. I met on.

Learning to Not Look Away (and the gift of the burden)

When Life Has Killed the Dream You Dreamed

Being Baptized into the Red Light District

I Said Yes

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Superheroes are real. I met one.

Trigger Warning: sexual abuse, sexual content

This past week I met a man who is no less than a superhero to me.

As a matter of fact, I’ve met a few superheroes this week, but I’d like to highlight one man in particular today. I’ll call him, “S”.

S is an Indian man who works with The Exodus Road and goes undercover into the brothels of India to gather evidence of minors being bought and sold for sex. And when I say minors, we’re talking as young as 7 years old.

Take a minute.

I have a 7 year old daughter and a 10 year old daughter. Not too long ago S was part of a rescue that included 7 and 10 year old sisters who had been found in a brothel. See in India brothels are a bit different than the ones in Thailand. It’s all horrific, but there are certain places in India (always the lower castes) where daughters are sold by their parents so men don’t have to work, and where there are street-side brothels with minors set up for miles and where “fresh” young girls (ages 10-13) are sold for a premium. These young ones being forced to have sex with 35-45 men a day.

A day.

Take another minute.

Remember the gift of the burden. Don’t look away.

We asked S how he got into the business of rescue and he said his sister was trafficked. He found her and he rescued her, and that is how it all began for him. Since then he has worked for last 20 years tirelessly, putting his life literally on the line, working with local nationals and police to free hundreds of girls from sex slavery. He is a hero, a superhero. Oh, and by the way, his sister now helps with the rescues. She works in aftercare. Incredible. Beautiful.

“I don’t do it for the numbers. To me, a single girl is very important. I do it for the one.” -S

One last thing I want to share about our time with S (there are so many things). One of the stories he told us is that they went undercover in a brothel recently, gathered evidence, and was able to be part of rescuing a couple of minors. During this time they found out that the brothel owner, a woman, was planning on selling her own 15 year old daughter in the brothel. They had a team in place to try and rescue this girl before it was too late.

We wrapped up our session and just as we were sitting down for lunch, S got the call. Right then. He said, “They got her!” She was rescued.

Friends, this is what The Exodus Road does. They go to battle for the vulnerable. They go under cover. They put their lives at risk. They gather evidence. They work with nationals (so important) and local police, and they are effective in rescue. 700 girls (and counting) have been rescued because of the collaborative efforts of nationals and The Exodus Road.

If you want to help The Exodus Road in the fight to end slavery, here is a tangible way: I need 50 people who are willing to donate $35/month to help get these girls out of the brothels. This is specific to India, and 100% of your donation goes to funding investigations that lead to the freedom of these minors. I know it’s hard to read these stories and feel so helpless, but you *can* help. You may not be able to go onto the front lines and kick down brothel doors, but you can hire those who can and who are. To join the 50 who are willing to not look away, to carry the burden that is a gift, head HERE. Thank you so much!

superheroes are real sarah mae protected

With S

Related:

Learning to Not Look Away (and the gift of the burden)

When Life Has Killed the Dream You Dreamed

Being Baptized into the Red Light District

I Said Yes

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Learning to Not Look Away (and the gift of the burden)

I know it’s overwhelming.

The ache of the world. The injustice.

So often I just keep scrolling past the hard news because I can’t carry the burden of it. I look away. Pretend it’s not there or say I’ll look later. It’s my privilege to do so.

But this past week I heard “S” (an Indian man who goes into brothels to rescue girls) pray, “Thank you God for the gift of this burden.”

This burden, this weight of all the injustice, a gift?

So it is.

A gift to know the truth and a gift to not look away and a gift to be a part of the efforts of rescue. Yes, what a gift. Thank you God.

Thank you that the girls who are trapped in slavery aren’t hidden from our knowledge; it is known. We know. And we have a choice.

I have a choice.

I can look away and hide the knowledge, because it feels too much to bear. Or I can look and sear my mind with the truth that there are girls (and boys) enslaved and who need me to see them and not ignore them.

I will not look away. I see you.

I will do whatever I can to help rescue you, whether that’s going into the brothels to look for you, or whether that’s learning all I can about human trafficking, or whether it’s writing a check to help buy gear for investigators. Whatever I can do, I will do.

And if you want to do something, if you want to help be a part of changing the culture of darkness across the world or right here in our own backyard, you can.

Maybe you can’t go into the brothels yourself, or be a part of a raid, but you can support those who can and do.

There is so much you could support, I know. Injustice and need are everywhere. So this work, this need, is only for those of you who know this is what you want to be a part of. Don’t feel guilty if your heart is drawn to another need. But if you want to help The Exodus Road in the fight to end slavery, go here to learn more. In a couple of weeks I’m going to ask for something very specific that will tangibly help rescue girls from brothels, so please subscribe to my posts (or keeping checking back) so you don’t miss it.

I have more stories (and hope!) to share, so keep reading along. I’m not done. Thanks for looking.

SM

If you want to help The Exodus Road in the fight to end slavery, here is a tangible way: I need 50 people who are willing to donate $35/month to help get these girls out of the brothels. This is specific to India, and 100% of your donation goes to funding investigations that lead to the freedom of these minors. I know it’s hard to read these stories and feel so helpless, but you *can* help. You may not be able to go onto the front lines and kick down brothel doors, but you can hire those who can and who are. To join the 50 who are willing to not look away, to carry the burden that is a gift, head HERE. Thank you so much!

Related:

When Life Has Killed the Dream You Dreamed

Being Baptized into the Red Light District

I Said Yes

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Thank you God for the gift of this burden.

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When Life Has Killed the Dream You Dreamed

Trigger warning: sexual abuse, sexual content.

He asked her to go to the bathroom on him, and vomit on him, but she couldn’t do it (she tried).

He was 26, and she was there for his pleasure, but she got scared when she saw blood on a pillow in the room they were in so she decided to leave. Safety first. She didn’t get paid, even though he got off at least once, she couldn’t perform the other acts. She paid for a taxi and got out of there.

Meet O (that’s what we’ll call her). O is a “free lancer”, offering her body for service. She is on her own. No pimp or brothel, just the street and her willingness to do this work in order to pay off her husbands debts. Her husband, who is a “bad man, only thing he hasn’t done is kill someone.” Her husband who won’t grant her a divorce. Her husband and his parents who keep her 7 year old from her because of her work, even though she does the work because she owes six banks on account of him.

She tried working at “company” but couldn’t make what she needed. She’s 33.

“What was your dream when you were a little girl?” We ask. “To have a perfect marriage.”

Now she spends her nights trying to convince men to wear condoms when she gives blow jobs because she doesn’t feel safe, but they refuse.

Her hair is long and black, her nails are perfectly manicured. She doesn’t wear makeup. She says, “I don’t look smart, but I’m smart.”

“I throw my dignity away so I can pay off my debts and then get out of this work. People insult me, look down on me. I like being around my friends who do this work too because they don’t insult me.”

We ask her when she will be able to get her daughter back. She says, “When the grandparents die.” She has no rights.

She a free lancer. She is un-dignified to those around her.

“What are you dreams now?”

“Not to be in perfect marriage, but to depend on myself.” She is proud of this, that she can provide for herself. Oh, and also take care of her mother. She does that too.

I think of Fantine from Les Misérables and the words of the famous song, I Dreamed a Dream:

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame…
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

We ask her if she wants her daughter doing this work and she says emphatically, “Absolutely no.”

This isn’t a job you want, it’s a job you do. For her, it’s to pay off debt and care for her mother, for others it’s to eat. She tells us the prices are going down on the streets for the work she offers because some women are so desperate to eat that they give themselves for cheap. This lowers prices all around. “Customers are smart.”

I want to hold her hands and tell her, “It’s all going to be okay. You don’t have to do this. Let me help you.” But I can’t do that because I can’t help, not really, and I don’t know if things will be okay. I don’t know if she’ll ever get out of this work. I don’t know what will happen to her.

She says she hasn’t had work in three or four days, so this was good, “to tell my story.” We are paying her for an hour to sit with us. The hour goes quick and I just want to keep her.

She has dignity. She is not lower because of her work. She is doing her best.

I look at her in the eyes and I tell her, “You are dignified. You are not low. You are beautiful.”

She smiles.

She hugs us all.

And she goes back to work.

SM

The Exodus Road needs monthly partners to keep on in this really awful, deeply good work. Will you help? For $35 a month you can fund an investigation that will help free girls from sex slavery. Learn more HERE.

Related:

Superheros are real. I met on.

Learning to Not Look Away (and the gift of the burden)

Being Baptized into the Red Light District

I Said Yes

 

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