The other night, someone came to my door and with an immense amount of excitement told me they were going to go hang out with Jesus and asked if I wanted to come. Heck. Yes. Nothing else mattered, except that I got to hang out with this really cool person and Jesus. Not the previous events of October, not that weekend, not the upcoming week, not the homework load that night. As we sang, I felt relief. I felt protected, rejuvenated.
They gave me this book called "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. Last night I read the prologue. At 3am, I was brought to my knees. I haven't even really started this book and I've already hit all kinds of emotions. Hurt, anger, upset, love, frustration, fear. The beginning introduced the way a girl entered into the sex trafficking industry. How a little girl was unknowingly sold. How she believed in "God's truth" that said that no one would love her. That she wasn't worth anything. That she was just in the way. That she has no purpose. That this beautiful girl is worthless. After I finished reading all I could do was cry out to God. Not out of anger. But out of joy. What? Joy? Yes.
I know who Jesus is. I know His Truth. My God is a God who provides and reigns. A God who loves me and cares for me. A God who always, always, always looks down on me with love, with compassion, ready to provide me with an abundant amount of joy. He is good. And this same God is reaching out to those who are caught in the industry.
I want those enslaved in the sex trafficking industry free. I want them to know how desperately Jesus loves them, that they are worthy. I want them to feel God's arms wrapped around them, His grace and goodness showering on them. All of the children, girls, boys, women, men who are trapped. Who feel like they have no way out. For He is the blessed Redeemer. I have joy because I know one day it will happen. One day those enslaved will feel free. Will be free. Will feel loved. Joy because I know God.
It may "just be a book". But the sex trafficking industry is real. I've been able to do many research papers, argumentative papers, all kinds of papers on the sex trafficking industry. If you want to read any of them, let me know. Currently, I am doing research in my research methods class about the impact pornography has and what knowledge NAU students have on the sex trafficking industry. [If you attend NAU, please take the survey! However, please do not take the survey if you are not a student (either undergraduate or graduate) at NAU, as that will skew my results.]
I was reminded that there are other people who need to feel this unconditional love. This abundant amount of joy. That need to feel cared for. Not just across the world. But here, in the United States. Here, in Arizona. Here, in Flagstaff. Here, at Northern Arizona University. Here, in my life, right now. Here, in your life, right now. Here. Wherever "here" is for you. Right here, right now.
A little while ago, I wrote about how I was going to try actively love people, not use time as an excuse. I have been seriously trying. And it's been working. Times keep opening up. And I've been able to learn a lot. When we take time to care about people, to be genuine, they respond. They respond openly and there is the beginnings of a transformation within them. People like to be cared for. Like to be encouraged. Like to know that someone is there. And the more they believe that you care, the more they trust. And the more they trust, the more they share. The more they share, the easier it is to openly and unconditionally love. It takes time. It takes genuineness. It really, simply, takes love. Care about people. Care, just as Jesus cares. Love as Jesus loves. Remind people that they have worth. They are valued. And treat them that way. No. Matter. What. Watch the transformation.