A more radical Lent

Yesterday morning I missed the bus.  Or, rather, the bus missed me.  Despite my arms’ best efforts at hyper-extended flailing, the driver drove right past my stop, snatching away my hopes of achieving my usual 115 minute ETA.  After lending myself to a few unbecoming moments of disbelief, I walked down two stops to distract myself from the dampness of my right boot.  Upon arrival at the second stop, thoughts of my damp right side were replaced by the knowledge that my fashion-before-function boots were now giving both feet that slushy sidewalk afterglow.  The next scheduled bus kindly stopped, let me on, and once I got acquainted with the prospect of sitting at my desk in my socks all day, the sneezing started and confirmed the arrival of that cold I had been suppressing for weeks.

Yet somehow all I could do was give thanks.  Thanks for the predictability of the 20 minute window between buses.  Thanks for the understanding boss.  Thanks for my job, in spite of its (lack of) proximity to my home.  Thanks for my safety in those early morning wandering moments.  And especially thanks for this little pickle that now serves as the perfect lead-in.

Because you see, somewhere that same morning, a child younger than any of my own was forced into hard, physical labour.  She is not allowed to go to school and is making and carrying heavy clay bricks all day.

Somewhere else, a once hopeful young lady is beginning her slumber.  It is her only refuge from the daily onslaught of rapes she endures, as dictated by her captors.  She is 18, and there is one just like her who is, maybe, 12.  There is another one who has no idea what country the brothel she is forcibly working at is in.  There is an infant, yes, an infant, who is being unfathomably incorporated into the mix.  And then there is a man on the other side of the world, presuming that his half-innocent peeks at online pornography are not contributing to the demand that fuels the sex slave industry.

What on earth do I have to complain about?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent.  I used to commit myself to 40 days of avoiding swear words, french fries, candy, meat, etc.  But my commitment to these promises proved year after year to be more brittle than a New Year’s resolution.  This year I’m taking this opportunity for lasting change more seriously than ever before.

I am going to free someone from human trafficking.

I don’t know how, but I have some ideas.  I just know that it is my responsibility to pay my freedom forward.

There are 27 million victims of human trafficking in the world today.  That’s almost the entire population of Canada.  It’s real, it’s happening today in 2013 and it hits much closer to home than you think.

I plan to educate myself, pray often and report back frequently throughout my 40-day campaign.  I invite you to share any ideas, references or insights you have that will help me reach my goal.  Or, join me!

Here are my first two stops:
The A21 Campaign
Internations Justice Mission

“I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.” – Matthew 12:7


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