One of the highlights (and there were so many) of our time at the Summit last month was hearing some of the most powerful orphan advocates speak and challenge us to move into action. As mentioned in the previous post about it, we really enjoyed every single one and came away with much to process!
One of my favorite speakers was Tom Davis, who I am sure many of you in the adoption world have heard of and maybe even have read his book Fields of the Fatherless. It is a wonderful book that opens your eyes to the plight of the orphan, the widow, the poor, and the stranger and to what God says to us about providing and caring for them. It is a book that moves you into action. I am also hoping our adoptive moms group at church will be reading it together this summer!
The book Red Letters is an even more challenging and life changing book that just again opens your eyes and breaks your heart for the things that break God's. The subtitle is: Living a Faith that Bleeds, and this book inspires you to do just that- to take Jesus' words and live them out in love. I just finished it and am looking for someone to give a copy to so we can challenge eachother! :-)
Anyway, Tom just has a way of conveying the needs of the "least of these" in a crazy powerful way- through writing, speaking, videos, and the way he lives his life. I am not talking about just standing up and rattling off a bunch of statistics (which can be helpful as well as staggering in most cases) but really getting through to us "sleepy Christians" what God says about the injustice that is happening in the world. And even better than that is that he writes and speaks in such a way that an ordinary person like me realizes that I CAN make a difference and can respond to the message that I am hearing.
I don't know about you, but how many times have I read something or heard some statistic or watched a news story and thought wow that's sad or that's not fair... but what can I possibly do? I mean, I'm just one person right? And then the worst part is how seemingly easy it is to turn my head and look the other way. And not do anything. That's right. I do it too. I make every excuse under the sun, justify my lack of action, and really am just plain lazy. And ya know what? Every time I do that- it is SIN. Ooh- you didn't really want to hear that did you? Neither did I. And a few years ago I would have gotten pretty defensive if someone would have told me that I was straight up living in SIN by seeing someone in need and not acting on it. No way, I would've said, how could I be in sin when I am not actually doing ANYTHING? Well of course there is such thing as the sin of omission. Who would've thought that not actually doing anything was just as bad as doing the wrong thing! And what does God say? Well, Proverbs 24:12 sums it up nicely I think.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? Or I love this paraphrase: "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
So back to the point of this post.
A few weeks ago I read a heart-wrenching, powerful novel by none other than... that's right Tom Davis. I know you're probably sick of me talking about him and his books by now, but this book is one you will want to know about. Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World, was not your average fiction novel. Um no, it was one of the most realistic, intense, gripping, incredibly sad novels I have ever read. Actually while I was still in the middle of the first chapter I remember telling Randy with tears in my eyes that I didn't think I could read anymore because it was so painfully real. Well, of course I did read on and it was so captivating that I was finished in about 2 days! I don't say that to scare you from reading it, but to warn you that the minute you open the book he pulls you into the narrative and you immediately begin to sense what life is like for a little child living in Swaziland, Africa. You find yourself crying out to the Lord about the injustice that is happening and then yet again, he finishes the book by sharing ideas and resources that help you to move beyond just knowing, but to actually obeying and making a difference. He has a gift for showing us what hope looks like in the midst of suffering. Of course, that's exactly what Jesus did isn't it.
Well guess what?
Tom has written another book- in fact it is the sequel to Scared- and it is called Priceless. It hasn't even come out yet and I am excited about it! This time the novel will open our eyes to the reality of the sex-trafficking industry that is going on around the world as well as in our own towns. Did you know that 1.2 million children are trafficked into this kind of sexual slavery every year? And this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking. What is the most heartbreaking and sickening is that these are just children- the average age of a trafficked victim is only 14 years old- the average age! And contrary to what some may think, these girls do not have a choice. They are girls who have been kicked out of the orphanage at 13 or 14 years old and forced to fend for themselves on the streets. They have no hope and dream of a better life. And then someone comes promising them that better life. But sadly they are misled and by the time they realize what's happening- it's too late. They are forced into a life of sexual slavery and have no way out. It is almost unbearable to think about isn't it? We can't even imagine. But instead of just feeling sorry for those poor victims, we can do something about it! And that is why Tom has written this book. So that our eyes might be opened to the horrendous yet very real issue that is just breaking God's heart and be again moved into action to love the way Christ did.
The book releases next week, June 1st and you can get it pretty much anywhere they sell books. My copies (yes we ordered more than one so we could give some away!) have already shipped from CBD and I am hoping that they might even get here a day or two early! :-) If that happens, you can guess what I'll be doing until the wee hours of the night this weekend!
Here is an awesome video trailer that was made for the release of the book.
And for more info about how you can pray and act on behalf of the millions that have been forced into this slavery go to: SheIsPriceless.com