On Sunday, my youngest daughter posted this picture on Instagram (that’s her caption, too!):
Katie is a wonderful girl, and I would do anything for her.
That’s the heart of a mother, isn’t it?
And yet I know that I am beyond privileged that Keith and I were able to provide her with safety, food, opportunities, and amazing experiences. We are blessed beyond measure.
Too many mothers know nothing about taking their daughters on vacations, because all they worry about is getting their daughters their next meal–and avoiding something horrible happening to their daughters in the future. And you all know what I’m talking about.
Likely the most important experiences we ever shared with our daughters were when we took them to Kenya, to visit a children’s home and get to know the kids who had once lived on the streets, and who had even once been in the sex trade. We led three missions trip there, mostly medical in nature with my husband, but my girls and I had a chance to get to know the kids there and get to love them, too.
My daughters learned to know these children personally. They weren’t just pictures, or something exotic. They were real girls (and boys!), who had dreams and who went to school, and who even loved to learn how to knit.
And it’s made such a difference in how my girls use their money. They’ve learned to give cheerfully. They don’t buy brand name clothes (they do their best to buy at second hand stores). They’re frugal. They know that this world that we see is such a tiny fraction of the world. The vast majority of girls and women in this world struggle to eke out a good living, and struggle to find safety.
Obviously most people can’t take their kids to Kenya. But we can engage them in conversations, from a young age, about what other boys and girls go through. And we can care for the mothers who are trying to raise these girls, and trying to give them a future.
Today is Global Giving Day, with the She is Priceless campaign.
The theme of the campaign is #PutOnYourPearls.
A pearl is a healed wound. An oyster protects itself from irritation and suffering and the result is a priceless pearl. The women we support have endured unthinkable suffering in their lives and often feel forgotten. We are joining together to remind the world that every woman matters.
Five small organizations that are raising money to rescue women are joining forces today for Global Giving Day to ask for your support. Together, we can let these women know that they are, indeed, priceless.
You can read about all of the organizations here (and it’s enough to bring tears to your eyes!), but I want to highlight just two.
Mercy House Global was started by my blogging friend Kristen Welch from We Are That Family. She visited Kenya and was heartbroken by the need, and so she started a maternity home for teenage moms and other at risk women. It was small beginnings. Kristen raised money for the home by selling jewelry that the women made.
But here’s something even cooler: the women have banded together to form a sort of cooperative. They made a ton of jewelry, and earned some money from the jewelry making. Then one mother-daughter team has now started a hair salon with the profits. The group of women have now purchased a motorcycle to start a taxicab business. They are able to sustain themselves. These women just want dignity, and when we give a bit of a leg up, they’re able to make their way in the world.
It’s an amazing story, and you can read it here (and donate, too!)
Freedom Firm is an undercover rescue operation working in India which seeks to identify underage prostitutes, work with the justice system to rescue them, and then give them safe housing, counselling, and career training so that they can have a future.
It’s gruelling work, and ever so heartbreaking.
Our undercover operatives locate minor girls enslaved in brothels and document the crime. This information is then reported to the police. The team, along with the police, raid the brothels, rescue the girls and arrest the brothel keepers and traffickers. The rescued girls are then placed in shelter homes and criminal complaints are filed against the oppressors.
But it’s not always straightforward. Many rescues take months, if not years, to gain the girl’s trust, get the legal system to intervene, and then actually succeed in rescuing the girls.
Over the last 10 years, we have seen what makes a big difference. Quite simply, but agonizingly slow, it’s about persevering every time, whether we seem to be winning or losing. It’s all the tiny steps towards justice. It’s meeting with the same police again and again to beg them to do a raid. It’s filing writ petitions in court to stop illegal proceedings. It’s opposing bail for the perpetrators. It’s the thousand kilometre train ride to see if a girl is still safe with her family after rescue. It’s the perseverance of our staff that put their lives on the line; the social worker who gives HIV counseling gently with sensitivity; the investigator who goes undercover in the brothel and risks temptation and exposure; the production manager in our fair trade business who insists on quality because she knows anything else erodes dignity in the employees.
Find out more about Freedom Firm here.
And there are three other such amazing organizations that are being highlighted with the #PutOnYourPearls campaign, too! Please read about them, and then please be generous.
These are all small organizations, started by one or two people who had a heart to rescue these women and girls and tell them they are priceless. The money gets put right back into the ministry. I’ve watched Kristen put her heart and soul and time and energy and, yes, money, into Mercy House for the last few years, and it’s so inspiring.
But we can make a difference, too. And I think by supporting these organizations, and then by telling our kids about them, we help our children to become responsible citizens and generous people, able to focus not only on their own problems, but also see the vast resources that God has blessed us with so that we can bless others.
Please take a look at the She is Priceless campaign, and read about what they do. And please give generously! Thousands of people read this blog everyday. Imagine if everybody gave $10. Think about how many women that would help! Our money goes so much further in these countries. It really is an amazing opportunity to partner with God in what He is already doing.
I’m putting on my pearls today (here’s a Fair Trade pearl bracelet) and declaring that she is priceless. Will you join me? Let’s make a difference together!