Strength In Numbers

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Many people believe that abolishing human trafficking in our generation is impossible. But what if one person can make a significant impact for lasting change? It certainly takes faith. It definitely takes courage. But most importantly, it takes risk. Risk takes you to the edge of the cliff and faith gives you the ability to jump off, knowing that you won’t fall into impending death but instead, fly.

One of the greatest challenges in fighting human trafficking is the challenge of awakening America (or truthfully the world) to this devastating reality. It happens in everyone’s backyard whether you realize it or not. There are local task forces mobilizing and fighting against this grave problem because it is happening in every city. There are great politicians and lawmakers fighting for justice to prosecute pimps and johns. There are effective organizations supporting victims via rescues, safehouses, and transitional homes while bringing greater awareness to the public. We even have noble members of the corporate sector committing to ethical business practices. But before we celebrate too early, there are even more corporations, politicians, and people in general who turn a blind eye to the tragic truth that modern day slavery is more prevalent than ever before.

Why is it such a problem? It’s multi-layered, really. The media’s increasing glorification of sex has bred a generation of desensitized Americans who now create a significant portion of the worldwide demand for human trafficking. Pornography, itself, access to pornography, and the age at which children are first exposed to pornography have all changed drastically since the advent of the internet. The days of seemingly harmless Playboy-like images are long gone and have been replaced by obscene and dehumanizing videos of brutally mistreated (and often under-aged) people engaging in sexual acts. These videos show women, children, and even men, being treated like objects only meant to fulfill one’s sexual desires. They are even portrayed as seeming to enjoy the mistreatment. Children have access to this pornography, literally at their fingertips, at an average age of 12 years old on smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, etc. They are being conditioned from a very impressionable age, when their minds are developing and bodies are changing, that it is okay to treat a girl/boy like a sexual object. Their minds get infiltrated with distorted fantasies and lust. The porn industry is so disgustingly conniving, knowing that free porn that satisfies today will not satisfy tomorrow. Many people who fall into deep porn addiction seem to develop a tolerance to it, much like a drug addiction. The tolerance effect causes these people to seek stronger and rougher porn to get the same satisfaction. So why is this a problem? People who buy trafficked women, men, and/or children aren’t born overnight. They’ve made very conscious decisions of flirting with fantasy and lust in their minds and hearts that eventually give birth to full blown sin. It starts with small choices. In order to combat human trafficking, we need to get to the root of the issue, which is a heart issue.

Why do people turn a blind eye to this problem? Many people think that human trafficking does not happen in their backyards. They feel very removed from the problem and believe that someone else will take care of it. These people underestimate the power of their own lives. They don’t know that their own voice can speak for the voiceless. These victims are more than a statistic. They truly are someone’s daughter, son, friend, or neighbor. Just last year, a trafficking ring was busted in Irvine, CA (ranked as FBI’s safest city in the country 10 years in a row) in a high-end apartment complex I used to live in a few years back. I had no idea this was going on while I was living there. The fact that the apartment complex was a beautiful gated community made it even more unsuspecting. The madam running the trafficking ring was targeting foreign exchange students with student visas. That ensured her clients a fresh supply of girls every few months as their visas expired and new students were trafficked in. An important fact to note is that people who are trafficked are NOT trafficked by their own will. There is a tremendous amount of brutality, violence, mind control, abuse, trauma, and drugs (to exert control) at play. Does this narrative sound familiar? It certainly happened before in history with the African American slaves. Plantation owners and overseers would exert power, unfathomable abuse, trauma, rape, etc. because they believed slaves were their property. We need to stop dehumanizing people.

How can we make a difference? There are many talents and gifts we have that can contribute to the fight. Do you have time? Money? Special skills (graphic design, IT, finance, teaching, ANYTHING) that can contribute to awareness, prevention, intervention? Love has a cost. God so loved… So He gave. We need to give. We also need to start talking in our churches. Whether the topic is about pornography or some other sin, we should foster a safe platform to share and cover those with the courage to do so. Churches have the incredible ability to mobilize and equip their people to take a stand and make a difference. There should be absolutely no shame or judgment on anyone who seeks help or confesses any sin. It is the Lord’s kindness that leads to repentance.

Let me end with a story:

The Starfish Story:

While walking down the beach, a man saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it in the ocean.

As he came closer, he saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown onto the beach. Unable to return to the ocean during the low tide, the starfish were dying. He observed a young boy picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

After watching the seemingly futile effort, the observer said, “There must be thousands of starfish on this beach. It would be impossible for you to save them all. There are simply too many. You can’t save enough to make a difference.”

The young boy smiled with a starfish in hand and tossed it back into the ocean.

“I made a difference with that one.” he replied.

– Anonymous

As many of you know, I have a passion to see modern day slavery end in our generation. To help fight human trafficking, please consider donating (whether it is your time, talents, or finances) to the organization, http://www.27million.com. 27Million is an umbrella organization that networks grassroots movements already fighting on the frontlines on a global level. They raise funds to bless these organizations with their catalytic projects (because unfortunately money and resources are the issue in many cases) and overhead. They provide a platform for these organizations to come together, mutually encourage, pray for, and aid in the fight against human trafficking. There is strength in numbers. Together we can end modern day slavery.

The Journey of a Kang and Queen

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A friend recently asked me how Jason and I came to actually get married. For those of you who know us, we’ve dated for 7 years and most of those years, we were living in complete and utter darkness. That part of our testimony I’ll share at a later time. Here’s what I responded with:

I met a prophet whom my sister knew and trusted very much, and when I first met him, he told me things only God and I knew. Like the times I wanted to kill myself when I was getting abused by my mom (my mom and my relationship has been redeemed since then! She is really great!) and he went into great detail. But for about a year before I met him and I was dating Jason, I felt in my heart that we were supposed to break up. Not because I didn’t love Jason or he didn’t love me, but because we became complete idols to each other. As you probably already know, Jason and I didn’t get together in the most honorable way. We hurt a lot of people in the process and probably deserved a lot of the hate and anger that came to us. We truly felt like we were wearing a scarlet letter with people we knew at that time. We isolated ourselves and had a “we need to work out no matter what” attitude.

As I personally grew with the Lord and had crazy encounters with Him, I realized that Jason and my relationship was the hardest thing I could surrender to the Lord. So by the time the prophet said that to me, I already knew in my heart that we needed to break up. Another thing he told me was that my future husband was praying for me and that his prayers were hitting me right now because God is not bound by time. That always stuck with me.

So Jason and I had a talk and he was INSANELY calm and he agreed that we were idols to each other (which really was the grace of God). Jason and I mutually agreed that we would break up because this was what God wanted and we had no intention of getting back together in the future. I took a whole month to quit my job, gather my stuff, and move out to Azusa (living in Susanna and Paul’s living room).

I had a very strange peace about everything. My heart felt like it was literally saran wrapped with peace and grace. For the next 4 months, I met new friends who encouraged me to do Circuit Riders through YWAM and I worked on my relationship with the Lord. I felt so much freedom and grew in intimacy with the Lord. The strange part was that every time I closed my eyes to pray, I saw visions of Jason. He was really broken and crying. God lead me to pray for him. In a specific vision, I saw an angel of the Lord above Jason and knew that God was taking care of him. I decided to call him one day because in another vision he was bawling and I wanted to make sure he was okay. He was telling me that due to the break up, he was faced to actually choose God or keep going on the path of partying, drinking, and destruction. When he faced those two paths, he very deliberately chose God. When we were dating before and I was growing with the Lord, in my immaturity, I tried to convince him that God was real in the way I experienced him. My spiritual eyes were open to the works of the Holy Spirit and because Jason was always so doubtful, I tried to force him to believe things (my intentions were good but my maturity with the Lord and faith in him was so small at that time). In hindsight, I know that the Lord broke us up because he needed to work in my heart but more importantly, Jason needed to know that he was choosing Jesus because of his own will, not because I was forcing him to.

Going back to the story, when Jason and I talked after 4 months of silence, Jason told me how he chose the Lord and realized he wasn’t leading a relationship pleasing to the Lord. He told me he was praying for me every day (he still does 🙂 ). He said if we got together, he would lead me and love me in the way Jesus designed a relationship to be. So we decided to fast and pray for a week about it. After a week of praying, both of us felt an overwhelming amount of peace to give it another try. So we decided to get together and do it the right way — with God as the center. It truly felt like a new relationship. Jason put in a lot of effort to pursue me the way Jesus wanted all the while pursing God, too. I kept seeing a change in him and in my own heart. To be honest, I had many doubts even during that time because I was thinking, “God, you told us to break up. Is this why? Is it so that Jason would choose you with his own will?” And He responded to me. He said, “Do you remember all those prayers you sowed into him for all those years? Prayers of him loving me and being completely abandoned for me? I searched his heart and knew that that was his desire, too.”

I know it sounds kind of crazy but breaking up was the most pivotal and important decision we would both make. We were able to surrender our “god” and declare that only Jesus could take that place. I realize now that that’s what God wanted in the end. It wasn’t about Him choosing a specific spouse for us (which he can definitely do in some cases) but he knew that in our hearts, we both genuinely loved each other — we just didn’t know how to get to the healthy place He wanted for us. As you know, we’re married now and really, really, really happy. God is so good! I feel his love for Jason and me as partners and individuals every day. I have so much confidence in knowing that Jason intentionally pursues Jesus and me. We don’t take each other for granted. We also have a confidence in knowing that we are battle proven. No matter what Satan throws at us, we can weather that storm because we’ve been through crazier circumstances in the past and overcame them with Jesus.

I’m always so blown away by Jesus and his unconditional and infinite love. We definitely don’t deserve it, but his heart is to love all of us with such unstoppable love, favor, and grace. So it seems, I can never stop praising God because I know in my heart I can be evil, but he called out the best in us and even gave us the grace to step out into that truth.

I hope this answers your question! But please don’t ever hesitate to ask! It’s a testimony because the very essence of testimony is that God will do it again.