Nature and Animal Lover’s Petitions

Happy Friday everyone! This next non-profit is a direct call for all the animal lovers out there, as well as nature lovers. I personally am not a huge animal lover or nature lover, I know I know, I am weird! But my friend Katie recommended this specific organization to me and said that she fully supports it and all that it stands for. She stated that she loves this council because it covers a lot of ground, and doesn’t just concentrate on one area of the world, but it spreads out and tackles big issues as well as small issues. The organization’s name is NRDC, which stands for Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC “works to safeguard the earth- its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” The council has more than 2 million members, as well as online activists comprised of 500 scientists, lawyers and advocates across the entire globe to ensure the rights of all to air, water, and wild.

I like the idea of this one, because there are so many different options, depending on what your specific interests are! Their areas of work include climate change, health, communities, energy, food, oceans, water, and the wild. NRDC believes that the world’s children should inherit a planet that will sustain them, as it has for all of us. Online, you can check out each avenue that might interest you.

The way that the company works is by having experts using data and science to discover the root cause of problems that the world is facing. Using the information that they have given, they create transforming solutions, and then from those solutions they get support from partners, members, and advocates from law and policies to come together and protect our environment. They do this through litigation, business, science, partnership, and advocacy. They are planted globally, with sites in the United States, all the way to Southeast Asia and Africa. They pride themselves on being available to communities across the globe, to your very own backyard.

Once you find the specific area that speaks to you, how can you help?

On the website, there is a “Get Involved” tab, and if you click on it is provides a place to give your email to stay connected with the numerous calls to action they have to present to the world. The top three that they are promoting today is a petition to stop climate destruction, a petition against Trump stating that they won’t stop fighting global climate change, and then one to help protect the beautiful Monarch butterfly from toxic pesticides. There are so many other petitions that you can take action with and sign, the options are endless! On top of allowing you to be a part of the movement, they also provide great information on each different movement, such as “10 ways to reduce plastic pollution” and such. It is a great resource information site. It also has a donate tab, where you can donate a one time gift, or become a monthly giver. You can also give through estate planning, honorary gifts, and sales/event proceeds.

This is an amazing company, and although they don’t provide the opportunity for you to go into the field and get your hands dirty, it is still amazing to be a part of making our world a little bit brighter and better for our future generation, even by sitting in a coffee shop and just giving.

A petition just requires a signature, won’t you put aside a little bit of your time to go and see what changes can be made?

 

Check out their website! https://www.nrdc.org/

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Community Matters

So, I made a little bit of a slip-up, much to my embarrassment, about one of the posts on my page. I have a close friend who is a mission director at our local church, and she told me about a few of her favorite outreaches and organizations, one of them being ENLACE. I was able to locate the organization online and wrote about it (which you would have seen in the past couple of days), having no idea that it was a completely different company than the one she was talking about! I had a great time looking up information for the other company, and really enjoyed learning a little bit more about private prisons, and the injustice of it all.  Life is one big learning opportunity after all! The company that my friend referred me too, and wanted me to talk about is still called ENLACE and it is based out of El Salvador and has a completely different mission. Not better or worse, mind you, than the first enlace I talked about.

ENLACE’’s mission is to create a sustainable and empowering living environment to the communities in El Salvador, and now Nepal. The organization commits to a 10 year relationship with local churches, and helps to coach the church leaders to become the change of church desperately needed within the country. They help empower them to see who they are as a body, to listen to their communities, and develop programs and projects that target 8 community transformation outcomes.

The 8 Core Outcomes:

  1. Develop leader churches
  2. Build the organizational capacity of community associations
  3. Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  4. Improve enrollment rates and increase access to education
  5. Assure local environmental sustainability and bolster community health
  6. Improve infant and maternal health
  7. Prevent the spread of infectious and viral diseases
  8. Strengthen community infrastructure

The long-term goal of ENLACE is that churches become leaders who equip their surrounding churches. They walk alongside churches through the process, and equipping them to transform their communities. Many of these families in the communities of both El Salvador and Nepal live on less than $2 per day, as well as having limited access to clean water, adequate housing, and basic health care.  As I talked about in an earlier post, poverty is the result of broken relationships, and therefore, that is why ENLACE is coming alongside the churches to help them. They know that even after their training is done, and they did all they can, that church will remain there as a light for all those in the community, and continuing on the good work.

How can we be a part of this team?

ENLACE offers many different ways to be included on their team, and some of them can be done right from your home, or hometown! If you have a local church, I would reach out to them and talk to them about considering partnering with the organization. Through that partnership, it links them to ongoing mission trip experiences with partner churches and communities, fundraising campaigns, reports of your donations and your local church ‘s impact, as well as sustainable community development projects impacting entire regions.

If you aren’t a part of a church in your area, or at all, that is fine as well! They offer short-term serving opportunities as well, and you will become a part of a team of other like-minded individuals, and invest a week’s time and resources to see a long-term change in that certain region of El Salvador. Also, if you are a student (I always have to look out for my fellow college peers!), they have a community transformation study abroad program. This program is over a three-month period, and is unique in that students receive 5 academic courses while also credit for an internship with ENLACE. Area of studies offered are: Latin America, Theology, Church-based community transformation, economic development and poverty alleviation, community/public health, social business development, and microfinance. As well as going on trips, as always, there are opportunities to donate to the organization as well, and I would strongly encourage that as well if you feel led!

Are you willing to give up one week of your time, to give the chance of a long term impact to thrive in El Salvador?

 

Check out their website below! https://www.enlace.link/

 

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Calling All College Students!

Calling all college students!

So many times, we get swept up in the college life, and it’s so hard not to. Life gets busier and busier, and all of a sudden, you are pulling all-nighters in the library, and spending late nights with friends. We sometimes fall away from our much needed time with our Heavenly Father, and struggle to find time to draw closer to Him. Don’t fear though, many of us have walked through this exact same problem, and we understand it really is hard to rekindle that relationship again, and to breathe it back to life.

But do not fear! CCO, which stands for Coalition for Christian Outreach, has an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to step out and faith and learn to become a leader. Their mission statement is “transforming college students to transform the world.” How powerful is that? I was able to be a part of CCO on the Indiana University of PA campus this past semester, and always had an amazing time connecting and serving with like-minded men and women who were in the college setting. The leaders are truly there for you, and ready to listen and give you a helping hand whenever you might need it. I could go on and share more about the on-campus ministry (go and check it out!), but one opportunity that I would like to discuss is the CCO’s “Ocean City Beach Project”.

My first thought is, SIGN ME UP! I mean come on, it is right in the title, Beach Project? I am in. But in all reality, besides having an ideal setting, OCBP (Ocean City Beach Project) is a two-month long summer community living for college students to dive deeper in their relationship with Christ, as well as furthering themselves as campus leaders. The project began back in 1983, and it has since then been an opportunity for further personal faith growth, and developing a deeper vision for your life. The crazy of college life fades away, and you have the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing peers that will push you to your limits, and to open your heart back to God, or help you continue on your journey to deeper faith. This summer I actually have multiple friends in the program right now as I type this, and they have so far had an amazing time. One friend that I just texted today asking a little about the project stated that along with a great time, she is finding who she is in Christ again and feels on fire for the kingdom! That was so amazing to hear.

Along with living with other college students in a large house, you also have the time to find employment and secure a job, so that you have some spending money to do fun things with your new friends, or pay off college loans. The latter might be wiser, but the first option sounds a bit more fun. The cost of the OCBP is $2750, and they will help support you in raising and earning money throughout, and help you with reaching full support for the trip. While there, along with a job, you will have two three-hour sessions per week on different Christian topics and biblical issues taught by various Christian speakers. You will also be involved in weekly meetings for one-on-one discipleship with a CCO staff worker, as well as worshiping at the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean City. Also, if your denomination is not Presbyterian related, that is okay! My best friend is currently there and would consider herself to be an Assemblies of God “goer”, but was still welcomed into the program and is learning so much.

This is an amazing opportunity for any college student, no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. It will help you grow, and help refine you into all that God has called you to be.

Are you ready for the summer of a lifetime?

Check out their website, and apply today for next summer! http://ccojubilee.org/students/events-trips/ocean-city-beach-project/33/

 

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Fight Against Private Prison

This blog post has been especially interesting to write, in the way that I have never heard of the cause that this organization promotes and protects against. Maybe this is new knowledge to you, or maybe it is just something unknown to me, but this organization is called to minister against private prisons.

My first question upon learning of this organization was, what is a private prison?

A private prison or for-profit prison is a place in which individuals are physically confined or incarcerated by a third party that is contracted by a government agency. One of the largest private prison owners in America has seen its profits increase by more than 500% in the past 20 years, and it isn’t showing signs of stopping.

Knowing this now, ENLACE is here to help. They are an organization set out for racial and economic justice, as private prisons are targeting people of color and immigrants.  It is an international alliance of organizations that is focused on teambuilding and strategic campaigning across the globe. The company wins campaigns against transnational corporations, and it helps to build capacity of organizations through trainings and team building systems. Enlace helps to promote racial and economic justice in partnership with unions across US and Mexico, and they are helping to build the strength and capacity of organizations to advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant and economical justice agenda.

So now that we know a little about the company, how can we help?

Through the organization, they have two separate branches of work to get involved with. They have the Enlace Institute, and the national Private Prison Divestment Campaign. The Enlace Institute’s purpose is to help advance organizational development and to develop leader’s within the lower- wage working force who are willing to help lead, and shine a light on the  injustice in the movement. In the Prison Divestment Campaign, they aim to stop the lobbying power of private prison industry so that common sense reforms are possible in criminal and immigration policy. You can help endorse this campaign online! And as far as the institute goes, they are currently looking for campaign research and organizer interns, as well as communications interns. So, if you are looking for an internship somewhere exciting such as Portland, Los Angeles, or NYC, then look no further! They also welcome volunteer opportunities, and I for one found the entire idea of lobbying for the voiceless an exciting idea. And one that can really help make a firsthand impact on this country and in Mexico.

Are you willing to join the fight against private prisons?

Check out their website here! http://www.enlaceintl.org/

 

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What is Poverty?

Every mission trip I have been on, I have had the opportunity to be provided with wonderful material to back the trip, and learning how to properly go into a mission setting. It is so easy for us to go into a third world country, or a place where poverty is prevalent, and think that we are going in and truly changing their world, and making a huge difference. While we are making a difference, sometimes it could be said that we get a “big head” over it, basically having it boil down to the fact that many times, we give off the vibe that we are better than them. We have what they lack. I am not saying that everyone’s attitude is like this, but I am just saying that I have seen it happen many times. I think that is why it is very crucial that you have some sort of learning aide to help you before you go on to a mission trip.

One book that I have read before every trip that I go on is called “Helping Without Hurting” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. In their short book, (I promise it is a short read, it is quick and very good!) they get down to the roots of the whole idea of poverty, boiling it down to broken relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation. Before reading this book, I had what I thought was the picture of real poverty in my mind: lack of money, and lack of materials such as food and water. But after reading through the chapters, I came to the realization that I have poverty in my own life. Poverty is about the broken relationships in our lives, and I can almost confidently say that almost each and every one of us has a broken relationship in our lives. Having this knowledge helps you go into the trip humbled, realizing that you are no better than these other men and women around the globe, and help us to connect with them better.

When on a trip, it is so important to help meet the physical needs of those that we are helping, such as providing fresh water, food, and shelters, but having this new idea of poverty brings to light that relationships are key. If someone came over to you while you were walking around and gave you 50 dollars for no reason and walked away, you would hardly remember them, and soon their gesture would be forgotten to you. But say someone walked up and gave you 50 dollars and shared a little bit about their lives. They mentioned that they saw you with your daughter and wanted to bless you with some money to take her to a park, being as the girl reminded them so much of their own daughter, who is now grown. Wouldn’t you remember that moment so much more than just a hand out? That is basically what a trip boils down to. Handouts don’t change too much, they solve the problem of the day, such as having a full belly, but then a new day dawns and the problem is back again. But by forming a relationship, these people know of a safe place they can come back to and come to see Christ in your relationship with them.

I know that this is a step away from my usual posts about what kind of opportunities are out there, but I think that this is a very important thing to learn about, and it certainly helped open my heart and eyes to how close minded I was about the idea of poverty and the “poor”. Knowing this made going into the trip and a different country a completely different experience for me, and I still to this day, and humbled for it.

What has your idea of poverty been? And now after reading this, I challenge you to think a little more about poverty and the lack of relationship that is behind it.

Buy the book at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles.

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Water Saves

You just got back from a hike in the woods, and you brought your little cousin along, so she completely tired you out from the constant energy bursts she had. You drop her off at your aunt’s house, and then run home. Once you get home, you cannot wait to just sit down in your kitchen and have a little snack and some cold water. You grab your glass, and turn the faucet on, then guzzle down the refreshing drink, quenching your thirst and your dry throat. How many of us have had this experience before? We couldn’t wait to grab a cold glass of water, and just relax. We never had to worry about the quality of water we were drinking, or the fact that when we turned on the water, nothing would come out. It isn’t our reality, but it certainly is the reality of many in this world, Africa being one of the leaders in underdeveloped availability to drinkable water. Through some searching and researching on the internet, I was able to find some statistics about the water crisis that is affecting our world:

  • Worldwide, 1 out of every 5 deaths of children under the age of fie are due to a water related disease.
  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.
  • 319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources.
  • In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.

Reading these facts completely blew my mind. I knew that we had water shortages throughout our world, but I had no idea that is was this extreme! It breaks my heart to know that while I can just go inside to grab fresh water, there are people out there that must search miles for it, and then the water that they do find, unsuitable to drink. Reading those facts make you think twice about just going to the faucet, and complaining when it is to warm or to cold.

So what can you do to help?

Blood:Water is an organization based out of Africa that joins both the fight against Aids, and then their main focus, water relief. They center their approach around the WASH principle- water, sanitation and hygiene. All three of these are necessary for the other to thrive. When we think of the water shortage, we often think of drinking water right away, but fail to think of all the other factors water has in our lives as well such as hand washing, and simple toilet flushing.

The teams install wells within the community that have hand pumps or are mechanized, as well as including household-level filtration and treatment. While short term missions are very important, they have a community team built in as well to ensure that the well stays up to date. As mentioned, drinking water is very important, but as is hygiene associated with water. With the organization, you will be a part of teaching hygiene practices such as hand-washing. and installing things such as dish drying racks, garbage pits, and latrines.

If this spoke to you, then plan your next trip to Africa with Blood:Water, and help save the lives of hundreds  through something as simple as water.

 

Are you willing to give up your time and reduce the statistics of the water crisis?

Check out their website!

http://www.bloodwater.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIheXk777D1AIVhIKzCh1LFgnFEAAYASAAEgIIJvD_BwE

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The New Flier

So you aren’t ready to fly out of the country just yet?

That is totally fine! There are so many amazing options that is within our own country. Sometimes we get this idea that mission work is just in third world countries, and that poverty isn’t a problem in our own country. It couldn’t be farther from the truth! While we may not even be close to the poorest country, we still have an incredible need for people to come and serve within our borders, to reach out to our hurting countrymen and women. And on top of that, some people just aren’t ready to step on to a plane to another country, and that is totally okay! We are all called to different things, and along different paths. So first off, thank you to all those who have the heart to stay in the country and serve the US. One problem that we face in our country is homelessness. In Los Angeles County alone, there are over 51,000 men, women and children who have no place to call home. 1 in 45 children nationwide are homeless, which is the most ever in U.S. history.

If any of us has ever visited a city, we are almost guaranteed to walk by at least one man or woman sitting on the ground, holding out a cup and jingling what small amount of change they have in it. How often though do we just walk by them, completely uncomfortable at even the idea of making eye contact with them? So often we forget that just because they are currently without a home, that doesn’t make us any better than they are. Just because they don’t have access to a shower doesn’t mean that we can just walk by without giving them a second thought. Even a smile their way can completely brighten their day. A couple of weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go to LA and work with the homeless on Skid Row, which spans 52 blocks, full of 44,000 homeless people. As we walked through the streets, we could give out water and food and necessities such as socks and underwear. Socks… such a simple thing that I took for granted every day. While we were handing out supplies we could connect with them, and hear their stories, and we were able to make some amazing and unforgettable memories with these people. I cannot even begin to tell you how eye opening that experience was for me, these were not homeless people, these were people with real stories of heart ache and hard times.

The organization that I had the chance to team up with is called the “Dream Center”. There main campus is in Los Angeles, but they have multiple different smaller sites around CA and NYC. They have done an amazing job with dealing with the hunger and the homelessness facing LA, all while spreading the good word of the Lord. They offer many different outreaches in their community and throughout Los Angeles, but one of their most known for outreaches is dealing with the homeless. Their moto is that “homelessness isn’t hopeless”. I couldn’t agree more, they have so many testimonies of those living on the streets, coming to know Christ through the organization. They have an opportunity to do the Skid Row Outreach, and then they also have a food truck, which goes to low income parts of the city and offers food to those families. Most the food they receive is through donations, and it usually consists of two different drinks, beans, rice, canned vegetables, and fruit pouches. We were able to help hand out the food, and I cannot begin to describe how it warms your heart to the core when a mother with three kids in tow looks at you and says, “thank you, God bless you”. If you have a heart for the homeless and hungry, then look no further than the Dream Center and their amazing ministry. You don’t need to leave the country to serve!

The next time you see someone who is homeless, I challenge you to stop and look them in the eye, and ask how they are doing. Get to know them if you have the time. Pour into them.

 

Interested in serving? Check out short term missions!

Home

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Passion for Disaster Relief

I am heartbroken watching the news with natural disasters. What can I do to help?

When a natural disaster hits, it seems that no matter what our political stance, or religious views are, we all come together in the world with the mutual concept to help as best we can. While some people shy away from the idea of going straight into the thick of things, such as after an earthquake or tsunami, others thrive at the idea of running straight for the chaos. These trips could possibly be the hardest trips to step out into, because they are where you will truly see it all. Here, you will see the blood and tears and death that comes hand in hand with natural disasters that strike our world.

One organization that comes right to mind in dealing with this is called “Convoy of Hope”. While they offer many other options to serve, such as children’s feeding, women’s empowerment, and agriculture, their disaster services are what they are known for. The disaster service respond team was founded in 1998 in Texas, after Tropical Storm Charley. Since then, they have responded to all different types of natural disasters in the US and in the world. They have already responded to over 280 disasters, and in their rescue missions they provide food, water, emergency supplies, and long term solutions to family who can’t recover after a tragedy wiped them out. They have 44,749 volunteers to date and have delivered over 2,479 loads of supplies.

This certain mission touches my heart in the way that I was blessed to be a part of the hope restoration from the aftermath of a disaster. In 2010, an earthquake hit Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince. The entire country was already known for being a poverty-stricken, but this had wiped them out completely. Buildings were crumbling on top of families, and people were running for their lives, trying to escape in a fallen city. Last summer, I went on a mission trip and had the chance to hear testimonies from our guides, who were there on the day of the earthquake, and with their families no less. Jude told us that he was working when the earthquake hit and his immediate thought was to run over to the school where his wife was teaching, and while he was jogging over, he heard screams everywhere. He was almost to the school, when someone caught his attention. He saw a man, reaching for another man, covered in rubble and screaming for help. The cement (everything in Haiti is built of cement, being the cheapest material) had crushed this man beneath its weight. Jude ran over and helped push the weighted block off the man, while the other dragged him out from underneath, with a crushed body. He then shook off the horror he saw, and ran to see if his wife was okay. He told us that there was so much screaming, and the dead were scattered throughout the streets. There is a huge difference between seeing the news on TV, then seeing it close up, and getting to know the people that went through it.

So many people were moved by Jude’s story, that many of my fellow travel companions have had the chance to go back to Port-Au-Prince through Convoy of Hope, to bring hope and relief to the disaster that is still being lived in their everyday lives, from the aftermath.

So how can you get involved?

The first step would be to sign up as a volunteer for the organization, which you can easily do online, and as you are applying for the volunteer position, you then designate what area you want to serve. If you felt as if this was the right place for you, then you fill out information for the disaster response team. They follow major domestic disasters, and the opportunities include damage assessment, delivery of supplies, debris removal and more. While they follow international disasters, they also work with their own in-country teams to assess where volunteers are needed, and you will be placed accordingly.

 

National disasters can rarely be predicted, but will you join the team to help bring hope to the hopeless?

 

Check out the website!

Disaster Services

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Passion for Women’s Outreach

So your passion is for women?

This first mission trip/volunteer option I have is very near and dear to my heart. This is the organization that got the idea for my blog truly rolling, and I think it is a truly amazing project with an even more amazing stance. I have always had a passion for women’s ministry, and was able to have some exposure to it this past summer as I interned under the women’s pastor of the Summit Church in Indiana, PA. I feel that we, as women, are a force to be reckoned with. We are powerful yet beautiful, we are gentle but strong. If you have this same desire to reach out to women in the mission world, then this organization is for you.

The organization’s name is A21 campaign. A21 was started by Christine Caine (if you don’t know her, I strongly recommend you look her up, what an amazing person!) and her husband in 2008. The organization was created to abolish human trafficking in the world forever. The business of human trafficking rakes in more than 150 billion dollars every year, making it the fastest growing criminal industry in our world. These numbers have only kept climbing in recent years, and we are now on the mission to make it stop. While we don’t know the exact number, we do know that there are millions of slaves in the world today being sold into the human trafficking industry. And the even more sickening statistic? Only 1% of victims are ever rescued. One percent. Out of millions. That fact alone sickens me.

Trafficking comes in many forms, and the first that pops into mind is sex trafficking, but there is also forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and child soldiers. They are trafficked by things such as false job advertisements, sold into the industry by family, abduction, or trafficked by a friend. While all these methods disgust me, the one that stood out to me the most was being sold into slavery by your family. Can you imagine waking up one day, entering your living room to find your mother sobbing and two men grabbing hold of you and your sister and taking you to a completely different world? A world where there is no light, a world where your sole job would be to service gentlemen caller’s day in and day out. Never knowing when your next meal is coming, and never knowing if you will ever see your family again or even see sunshine.

When reading through the website, I found three testimonies that were offered on their “stories” page, and reading through them absolutely broke my heart. What a broken world we live in is all I can think to myself as I read through their stories. One stuck out to me specifically, of a girl overseas named Elena (Elena’s name was changed for her protection, as she is now safe in A21’s care.)

“Under the veil of night, Elena* was escorted to an unmarked vehicle during an undercover brothel raid in Greece. Unbeknownst to her, she had just been rescued by policemen wearing civilian clothes. Elena* had been trafficked from Bulgaria and due to the language barrier, the policemen had no way of explaining that she was now safe. For all she knew, they could have been traffickers coming to sell her again.

When the police car reached the station and a translator was present, Elena* explained how she had been trafficked only days before. She had been raped repeatedly and sold for sex. Although it had only lasted a few days, the terror of abuse felt like a lifetime.”

The other stories were much like Elena’s accept that some of these women are in slavery for months, or years, or even never to be seen again. And what absolutely broke my heart about her story was that she wasn’t just raped. She had been raped REPEATEDLY. She had to live the nightmare over and over again, all for a trafficking lord who just saw her as a sex object, not as the living beautiful woman she was.

Do these facts hit your heart in a way that you’ve never felt before? Then I think that you might have found a good match on where to start your journey of changing tomorrow. So now that you have this fire within you, how can you help?

To begin, A21 has three campaigns offered that can be brought back in to your community, if you are not looking to travel outside of your comfort zone just yet. The first campaign that they have offered is “Can You See Me?” which is based in the UK, and therefore isn’t completely accessible if you are living in the states. But the campaign’s purpose is to reach more victims and to catch more traffickers. It allows people to take action themselves, and report tips which are then turned over to law enforcement who take the initiative to begin an investigation. The second campaign partnered with by A21 campaign is “It’s a Penalty”. This campaign uses famous athletes, such as Usain Bolt, to promote the organization and to protect children from abuse around the world, and prevent the exploitation of children. There third campaign, and one I feel very strongly about, seeing as it is something you could do in your hometown, is “The Walk for Freedom”. You can sponsor your own walk, even right here in small town USA, and it is relatively very simple idea. It is a walk, just like a Susan G. Komen fundraiser, accept that Walk for Freedom’s attention grabber is that the participants walk in a single file line, dressed in all black, with black tape across their mouths. This causes awareness to turn into action, and action will lead to justice.

These organizations sound amazing, but I want to do more.

If you are thinking that, then the next step in the fight to end slavery would be to volunteer with the organization. They have 12 location around the globe, so you can either stay right in the states, or branch out into another part of the world. They have two locations in America, one in California and another in Charlotte, NC. They have offices all throughout the world as well, in every continent. They are based out of the UK, Bulgaria, Greece, Norway, Ukraine, Denmark, Netherlands, Thailand, South Africa, and New South Wales. So, needless to say, wherever you are feeling led, there is a place for you to go. While they are looking for specific areas in which to volunteer at, they are open to an email talking about what you are passionate about, and then finding a place that is the perfect fit for you. The current positions that they are looking for volunteers is in Administration, Marketing, Education, Communications, Writing, IS, Supporter Relations, and Operational. These volunteer opportunities are offered for 3-6 months at a time, and each location has a different list of requirements.

I am so happy to have started this blog, because my passion has just grown exponentially, and I am so glad I had the chance to share all I have learned. I hope that by the end of reading this, you feel as inspired as I do to take on the world, and change tomorrow by taking the step to end the injustice of human trafficking. That one step, can lead us one step closer to changing the world.

My leaving comment is this, if you felt something stir deep in your heart at this, then won’t you join the fight to raise that 1% statistic?

 

Check out the website for yourself!

http://www.a21.org/

Why should I go?

I established on my home page that the problem a lot of us face is “where do I begin?” Well congratulations, following this blog is the place to start on finding your passion and finding where exactly you are being led to serve. I think that the next question that many of us might face as we look at different trips and outreaches would be, “Why should I go?”

I know from experience that many people in my community struggle with this question. Many of us struggle with the idea of giving up a week, or maybe even more, of our time for an experience that we might not see immediate growth or change from. For example, I have heard from many mothers that are scared to go because of the idea of being away from their children for a week, or the college student being worried at the idea of missing classes, to the businessman stressing about his vacation days being spent on something other than vacation. I think it boils down to the very fact that there will never be enough time in our lives to do everything we want to accomplish, so why not just go now? Life will be waiting for you when you return, and when you return, you will come back richer in experience. Still not fully convinced? I have compiled a list for you, to help encourage and solidify your decision to reach out and help change tomorrow through mission trips.

SIX REASONS TO SERVE:

  1. Your perspective will change entirely. Without even realizing it, sometimes being in our community or family creates a little protective bubble around us. We might not think that our perspective is limited, but it isn’t until we are taken out of our comfort zone, and our “normal” lives, that we start to see just how limited our perspective might have been. You will see things that you have only read about in National Geographic, and you will experience things you might have only read in books. And through these different experiences, your perspective will not only change, but it will broaden, to see that there is more than just the place we call home, and that the world is a lot bigger than we might think.
  2. You will become more thankful. Have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? The barista at your favorite coffee shop forgot to add your espresso shot, a truck cut you off on the highway, your coworkers forgot to tell you about an important meeting, and then you burn dinner. We all have those days, and by the end we are complaining about everything and anything, even down to the shower being too hot. While I completely understand that we all have bad days, going on a mission trip helps create a different perspective, which then leads you to become more thankful for the things that you do have in your life. After I came back from Haiti, I was thankful for the very fact that I had fresh water at the turn of my faucet, and I came back so thankful for a family that wasn’t perfect, but was there for me. The tiniest things we take for granted suddenly become things that we come back thanking God for.
  3. You create strong and lasting relationships. If you ever had the chance to go to a summer camp as a child, then you know what it feels like to make fast friends. All these kids are thrown into a confined area for a week or so, and are told to coexist with each other. You instantly have no other choice than to become friends with almost everyone in your group, and to be there for each other as you are away from mom and dad. The same could be said for a mission trip, although it has a different dynamic. Unlike summer camp, which you might not have wanted to go to, this trip was chosen by you. You and all your other traveling companions have a like-minded goal and purpose in their minds, and you are embarking on the journey together. You will see each other at their truest, and most raw forms. You might be cheering on a companion who conquered a fear, or you might be holding on to a sobbing new friend who has seen something that changed their heart. Either way, on a trip, you are truly doing life together and it forms ties that last a lifetime.
  4. You will overcome fears. We all have those one or two things that jump to our mind when we read the word fear. The word itself makes us feel uncomfortable for the images that it produces. Maybe you have a fear or heights, a fear of spiders, or a fear of flying. On a mission trip, you might have the chance to face these superficial fears, seeing as sometimes they aren’t in the cleanest places so you might have to deal with spiders, or they might be on top of a roof, or cause you to fly. But another way that mission trips impact you is that they will be hitting core fears, fears you didn’t realize you had, or that you covered up while living your everyday life. A fear of failing your family, a fear being alone, a fear of not being enough… the list can go on. On a trip, as you are helping others, I have often found that they were helping me right in return. There is something about being in a new place, outside of your comfort zone that brings these hidden things to the surface, and once they are exposed, you face them head on, and conquer them.
  5. You need to escape. This busy world is full of constant distractions, from our laptops and cell phones, to our desire to never be alone so that we fill our social calendar to the brim. I am a guilty party in this for sure! I sometimes have my schedule so full that I run myself ragged, all for the fact that in this world I feel like I need to be productive. If I am not busy then I am living life wrong, or so I tell myself. Surrounded by constant distractions draws us away from looking within and discovering things we never knew about ourselves. A lot of times, being on a trip will mean that you need to give up your cellphone for days at a time because there is no service, or it could even mean limiting usage of your laptop to only nighttime to journal in. Either way, being on a mission trip means you get the chance to be present. To experience and adapt to situations that don’t happen in your hometown. And through this experience and adaptability, you will discover another side of yourself.
  6. You will see the world differently. You will see it through God’s eyes. Whether you are reading this blog as a believer or a non-believer, I believe that the call to serve is in each and every one of us. We all want to leave our footprint on this earth, and want to be able to say that we made a difference while we lived here. But the bonus is that while on a mission trip, your vision of the world will change, and instead of seeing it through our human eyes, it will shift into how God sees the world. He sees the single mother working hard to provide for her son. He sees the little girl that walks two miles to the well every day to give drinking water to herself and her dog. He sees the beauty in our broken world. He sees them, He sees us and has decided to give us the honor to be His hands and feet in our world.

 

So, the final question I have for you is not “why should I go?” but rather, “why not go?”.

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