Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coalition Update

It occurs to me we had a Coalition meeting almost a week ago and I haven't spoken a word about it in the interim. Of course, a short week at work (with a full week's worth of work to get done), Thanksgiving and piano lessons have about swallowed up every available minute since the meeting.

Hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know mine was interesting. You can't have Thanksgiving dinner without having a few hiccups during the day and we certainly had a good one. Another entertaining memory to talk about as the years go by.

Coalition business. We seated our officers and passed our mission statement, action and strategy plans. We also discussed the possibility of hosting a Film Festival at area churches. I have asked anyone interested in helping with the Film Festival let me know two things. (1) By December 8th - any films you think we should use and if you are willing to help with the Festival. (2) By December 15th if you know of an available venue and what using that venue would entail.

If you think your church would be interested in hosting a segment of the Festival, please go to whomever you need to talk to, find out if the space would be available either the weekend of February 13 or February 27.

Please don't hesitate to enlist your friends and family members as possible volunteers. We will need a lot of bodies to cover each church. Possible volunteer needs are: concession sales, merchandise sales, panel discussion member/leader, announcer/speaker before each film, clean-up, set-up, etc. I'm sure there will be more but that is what has come to mind so far.

Finally, please give serious prayer and thought to the Film Festival. We do not want to step ahead of God on this one so if we are not meant to be doing this, we want Him to close the doors. Any money raised will go to support the Coalition as it steps out in its business - specifics of that will be provided at our next couple of meetings as we round this out.

I'm sure I have forgotten a few things in this post so if something jumps out at you, please ask. Also, if you are interested in volunteering, please send me an email or leave a comment here with a way to contact you.


Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shared Hope International

If you were unable to attend the Shared Hope International fundraiser dinner on Thursday, November, 20, 2008, I am so sorry. It was a wonderful evening of meeting fellow abolitionists and hearing the heart of Linda Smith. Above all of that, though, was the beautiful story of a young woman Shared Hope has helped restore.

To see this young woman, to sit across the table from her, hear her voice and her story you cannot help but be drawn in and then realize what you don't see or hear. You do not hear anger or bitterness or self-pity and as someone who was forced to work in a brothel from the time she was 14 until she was 17, you figure she has every right to feel that way. She does not.

Instead what you hear is her give all glory to God. She offers praise to Him with almost every word she speaks. She doesn't show any anger for her time as a slave, she instead shares grace and love and hope. All of which she found and knows because of Jesus Christ. She speaks of meeting up with the man who sold her into slavery (her brother, by the way) and the look of shock and fear on his face when he realizes who she is and then the abject relief he felt when she told him she would not do anything to him. That she had forgiven him. As she speaks you can see this picture in your mind and you are left speechless. Could I be so graceful? I doubt it.

It was all I could do to hold back the tears (the flood that is, a few did escape) because every time I looked at this small, beautiful child of God, I wanted to hurt the men who hurt her. Yet she spoke of forgiving them. I wanted to yell, scream and throw things because of those who are still being hurt. Yet she has gone right back into that world, serving the women who are still there. I want to wrap every woman and child who have been sold as slaves up in my arms and protect them. Yet she is going to school for her degree in Business so she can offer them specific, concrete ways to live independently if they are able to get free from their captors.

You can show me pictures of what is considered beauty. You can show me pictures for weeks or months at a time. It will not matter. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world is as beautiful as the light of Jesus shining through, the picture of true hope and restoration. I have never in my life witnessed anyone as beautiful as that young woman from Nepal.
Linda Smith has written a book, From Congress to the Brothel and it is available through Shared Hope International's website. You can go here to order your own copy. When you get done with that, please explore Shared Hope's website. What they do, what they offer and what you can learn from them is amazing.

If you would like to learn more, please ask. Most people who know me know I can speak for a very long time on this issue and am more than willing to do that. Please do not let the information overwhelm you. As Linda herself has said (and I am paraphrasing here) - all you have to do is show up. God will show you the rest.

Have a blessed weekend.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I haven't been checking the news lately but this article was brought to my attention. It is from yesterday's Post Intelligencer.

All praise be to God these arrests were made. Now we should pray they are able to bring the perpetrators to justice.

How many "tanning salons" and "massage parlors" are there out there? Too many to count, I imagine.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, November 17, 2008

MADE IN L.A. Pacific Northwest Tour


Organized in partnership with the Pacific Northwest Sweatfree campaign, the producers of Made in L.A. Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar will be screening their film in various cities in Washington and Oregon (November 17-22). All screenings are free -join us!

Made in L.A. is an Emmy award-winning film that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a mega-trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verite style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice. For more information and to view the trailer, visit

Olympia, WA
Monday, Nov 17th 2008 7pm
Screening of Made in L.A. as part of "Anti-Sweatshop Film Fest"
Traditions Café and World Folk Art
300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98501

Seatle, WA
Tuesday, November 18th, 7-9pm
University of Washington, Seattle
Bagley Hall, Room 154
Organized by SweatFree Washington and the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP)

Tacoma, WA
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008, 6:30pm
Longshormen Hall
University of Washington Tacoma
1710 S. Market St.
Hosted by: Student Labor Action Project @ UWT, ACLU Student Chapter, Black Student Union, Latino Organization, HOPE Network.
Sponsored by: UW Tacoma Student Activities Board, UWT Arts and Lectures, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, UWT Diversity Resource Center and AVC Cedrick Howard.

Salem, OR
Thursday November 20th, 6pm-8pm
Williamette University
900 state street, Salem, OR 97301
Room TBD (Montag Den or Hatfield Room)
Sponsored by: Alianza, the Lilly Project, Women and Gender Studies, and American Ethnic Studies.

Portland, OR
Friday, November 21st, 6:30pm
No screening this time: we will attend the celebration party (with dinner and entertainment) for Portland PDX Sweatfree Campaign. Join us as we celebrate the first sweatshop free ordinance in the Northwest!
AFSCME Building
6025 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97215 US
Location: AFSCME Building
For more info contact: campaign coordinator, Elizabeth Swager, or (503)236-7916 office, (503)784-1951
Hosted by: Sweatfree Northwest and sponsored by KBOO Community Radio.

Ashland, Oregon
Saturday, November 22nd, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Southern Oregon University.
Meese Auditorium, Art Building, Center for Visual Arts (click here for a map)
Sponsored by: Women's Studies Program of the Department of Social Science, Policy and Culture (SSPC), SOU Women's Resource Center and Jobs for Justice.

This is a film you should see, if you are available. It shares how labor slavery happens here in the United States, how those companies we so blithely hand over our money to are making enormous profits off of the backs of those with few choices.

...defend the rights of the poor and needy...
Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you

A deep, heartfelt thank you to all Veterans today.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

God Bless You.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, November 10, 2008

And so the world turns...

How much will the financial crises sweeping its way around the globe help human traffickers? This is a question that has been on my mind almost constantly since "recession," "economic collapse," "stock market fell today," "consumer fears," "budget cuts" and other terms offering a window into just how tough things are started being fed to us by the media. People begin to determine what is and isn't important usually by how it directly affects them and their family.

One of the ways we start to see the crisis creep into those things that are of global importance but get pushed aside because of more immediate and pressing "needs" can be seen in this article:

How I pray they can "find" the funding to re-start this unit. We need as many people as possible battling this horror.

On the positive side, I found this article out of England as well:

We are not the only country struggling both with economic woes and human trafficking. We are also not the only people completely disgusted by human trafficking and what it does to our fellow human beings. For all that is ringing out around us sounding the "woe is us" bell, there is hope and there is dignity and there is a sense of right and wrong.

This is, I remind myself, God's work and He will take care of it - from finances to safety to burn out to bodies to do the work. We are in this together with Him and I pray that I never forget that, no matter how grim the news gets.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Linda Smith coming north - with an amazing guest!

Linda Smith, the founder of Shared Hope International, will be in Bellevue on November 20, 2008. There is a small fundraiser dinner to be held at the Red Lion - Bellevue beginning at 6:30 PM and ending at 9PM. The cost for the evening is $50 and that includes dinner. Linda will be traveling with a young woman Shared Hope rescued from India who will offer her testimony.

From their website: "For almost a decade, Shared Hope International has served the world's most destitute. We work diligently across the world, partnering with local groups to help women and children enslaved in the sex trade by providing them with shelter, healthcare, education and vocational training opportunities. Our three-pronged strategy—prevent, rescue and restore—is producing hope. We will not give up. We will continue going into the darkness, rescuing and restoring young women and precious children—one life at a time."

All that Shared Hope has done and is doing is too vast to share here. It is because of Shared Hope that I have learned so much about trafficking in the United States. Until I found them and read their Demand report, learned about their Defenders Project and other information through their website, I had no idea how big the problem is right here in the U.S.

If you are a part of the Western Washington Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking and would like attend this dinner, please send me an email (you should be able to get it from one of Sarah's lists) as soon as possible. It is a small fundraiser and I fully expect seats to fill fast.


Proverbs 31:8-9