The Real Battle: followup post

Dear Readers,

I have gotten so much response and information related to the last post that I’m writing a followup post mostly comprised of all the links/books/info I’ve been given through Facebook/blog comments.

First off, some continued reading:

I found an article, “The Super Bowl Could Never Not Be Breeding Grounds for Sexual Exploitation,” written by the Chief of Policy and Planning for NYS’ Unified Court System, Judy Kluger. She is also the Executive Director at Sanctuary for Families, the leading nonprofit in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. She wrote in response to several articles which said the hype about the Super Bowl being a “trafficking magnet” was not only overblown but was also potentially harmful to trafficking victims.

Then a friend suggested reading Half the Sky (the link is to its Amazon page) Without having read it yet (though it is now in my shopping cart at–my friend offered to let me borrow her copy, but I’m thinking I will probably want to mark it all up!), I can tell you that calls it “a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world” AND, only moments after my one friend posted the suggestion on Facebook, another friend called the book a “must read.” This friend should know, as she, with several of her friends, started the West Chicagoland Anti-Trafficking Coalition to inform and activate people about the issue right here in our area. While I’m on this topic, here is a link to the Coalition’s Facebook page and another to an article written about it.

And, on that note, more about this issue in my local area, the western suburbs of Chicago:

Over the weekend my husband forwarded to me a prayer email from New Name, a ministry of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL, (that’s my area) that “partners with local churches to reach out to and help walk along side the women who are caught up in these industries.” I prayed my way through the message (heartbreaking stories) and then emailed its sender, asking to be added to the list of people who regularly receive it. I mentioned New Name to my Anti-Trafficking Coalition friend, and she wrote back: “New Name is awesome!” She’s used its videos when she has spoken about trafficking in the West Chicagoland area. If you go to the “New Name” link above, you’ll find more information about it as well as a contact email.

Another friend mentioned A21, which is an official coalition partner with End It, an organization I mentioned in the last post. Both these sites have great information.

I’m also sharing the blog site One Small Voice–which I found through New Name’s prayer email. The blogger says this about the site: “My goal is to post information about global human trafficking issues as well what’s happening right here in the Chicagoland area including strides that are being made by the government regarding this issue.” Right at the top of the site is information about a forum being held this Saturday on this topic.

Lastly, I just want to remind all of us why we should care.

Many years ago, when I was a very young middle-school teacher with no children of my own, I sat in a meeting that involved a student, her father, and our team of teachers. The father was overbearing and belittling to his daughter, and we left the meeting feeling discouraged. One of our team members, the lone male on the team, father to a young daughter himself, was more than discouraged. He was angry. “Any man can be a sperm donor,” he said, “but it takes a real man to be a father, and that girl doesn’t have one.”

Most of the girls involved in trafficking have never had a true father, one who protected them, cherished them, and honored them. God longs to be their Father. He’s angry and sad they’ve never experienced true love, and He’s called us to have His heart for them. He says He “will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them” (Psalm 10:18), and He’s called us to enact that justice in the here and now.

Let’s pray for some genuine religion, friends.

And then let’s do it.

Thanks for reading,


Will work for food

Red light. I stop, wait to turn, notice the man standing on the sidewalk beside the right lane.

His sign is crude: Will work. Need money for food, gas, home.

But his gaze is direct. And across two lanes he finds my eyes. He stands tall—not a challenge, just acknowledgment: “Yes, I stand on a street corner, I hold a sign that tells you I need help.”

I consider a U-turn, glance at my dashboard clock, estimate the time it will take me to get home to meet the scheduled repairman.

I turn left.

Drive three blocks.

Slower and slower.

I hear You, Lord.

Turn around.

Pull into the grocery store lot, stop behind his tidy old-model Taurus station wagon.

He meets me halfway.

Taller even than I’d thought.

My left hand holds out the money. He tucks it away, fast. Not grabbing, just… like he doesn’t want it. Like putting it away makes it less real.

My mind is blank. I’ve forgotten to ask for words. God bless you, I think. I offer my right hand.

He shakes it. His eyes slip above my head.

“I’m a mechanic. I can fix cars.” Urgent voice. “Do you have any that need work?”

I shake my head. “I don’t.”

“I can work. I can… You don’t have cars that need…?”

“No, but… God bless you.”

Our eyes meet again—closer now than across two lanes of traffic.

He juts his chin at me, eyes slip up again to the blue sky. “I like your necklace.”

Pressed clay, sitting right at the base of my throat, stamped firm and clear with the words “Set Free.”

Good to receive, not just give. “Thanks.”

Back on the road, the regrets. Why didn’t I say more? Why didn’t I get a name, number? He’s a mechanic. I could have sent word out through e-mail, Facebook: “Mechanic, corner of Main and Geneva: if you’re willing to take a chance, he’d appreciate it. Name, number.”  At under 142 characters, I could even tweet it. What is social media good for if not for this?!

Marketing background kicks in: he needs a better sign, one that advertises his specific skills while still expressing willingness to do odd jobs.


Stop, Jen.

Let it go.

But this day it’s hard.

Because I’ve been set free not only from

But for.

And in the callused handshake and averted eyes, the money tucked quick out of sight, the urgent plea for the dignity of work, I felt a moment of his pain.

Through love

I am

Set free

To care.