At the U2 concert, one of the first things Bono said as we all cheered and raised our hands in praise for him, was "We can celebrate our freedom here but in many places in our world ...."(I don't recall his exact words but you get the idea)
Before the concert, Steve and I were sitting on a ledge outside the gates. There were volunteers running around with clipboards asking for signatures for different causes. They were causes that dealt with injustices in different parts of the world. They were causes fighting against and drawing awareness to very heartbreaking situations. Steve and I gladly signed our names because well, they just merely asked for a signature, that's it and we thought the causes warranted a voice to be heard.
But each time someone approached us, they had the look of that fear of another rejection. Then each person looked surprised when we agreed to sign their petition. One volunteer even told us how this job was much more difficult than she expected and thanked us over and over.
All three petitions that were going around were backed up and approved by Bono himself. They expected close to 58,000 people to attend the concert. Outside the gates, we were among several hundred (maybe even thousands) U2 fans waiting to enter the gates. After each petition signing volunteer left us, we watched them go from person to person, facing rejection after rejection. In fact most people waved them on before they had a chance to speak one word to them.
I was blown away by watching this!
Do they not want to know how bad things are in other parts of the world?
I turned to Steve and said, "Wow! People really don't have any idea what's going on in the world, do they?"
One petition was for the UN to draw awareness of the famine that is affecting more than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa. This is close to my heart because included in these 11 million people could likely be Samson's birth family.
Is this why it matters to me? Yes, I suppose so.
I also believe that stories of injustice come to life and seem real when we put faces to the stories. millions of people starving to death for example, doesn't pull at our hearts as much as the picture of a family with the story of how the parents sold 2 of their 5 children standing in the picture so they could feed the remaining 3.
In regards to the hundreds who would not sign the petitions, well, I can't judge them by their actions mostly because they just don't know. They are disconnected from the rest of the world.
So, maybe since I know and understand, maybe it's my job to educate. Maybe it's my job to tell the stories to those who are so far removed from what is happening in the the world.
I have many stories to tell, most shared second hand. But let me start with this one. The sample story I described above, is not a sample. I've described a real family and real circumstances. Would it make a difference if I had a picture of this family with their 5 children?
A family of 7 will soon become a family of 5 if their situation doesn't change soon. (To my knowledge, the family is still in together.)
This is a real family: father, mother and five children, 9 years old and younger. The youngest is 3 months old, the 2 year old severely malnourished and on the brink of death.
When I asked how does a family decide which two to sell, I was told that they will sell which ever 2 someone will take for their slaves.
This family lives in a developing nation. They are so desperate that they will sell or may even end up giving 2 children away just so the rest of family can survive.
Up the street from this family is the town's "middle class". "Hidden" in the open are domestic child slaves EVERYWHERE!
I bet the people waiting outside the gate for the U2 concert hadn't heard about this family of 7. They don't know the stories. They don't have a face to put on the injustice.
Steve and I have decided that it's time to step up the anty (is that how you spell it??) and start educating people. Like really finding ways to be the voice against injustice. So this is one of my purposes for sharing this story with you today.
This family of seven attends a local church. The pastor of the church and his family are already struggling to support their own 6 children and several other orphans that they have taken in.
I'm working on helping this pastor so that he doesn't have to continue to watch family after family give up their children. He has recently visited this family of 7 in their home (if you want to call it a home). The two year old is weak, does not walk or talk. She is not expected to survive.
I have been thinking this over for several days, trying to think of a way I could help this church and its community because I know I can't do it alone.
So today I come to you with a request. First, please pray for freedom of oppressed people all over the world.
Then, if you feel led to make a contribution to my pastor friend, please leave a comment with your email address and I will send you details on how you can help. I will not publish your comments.
I know that if you feel God leading you to help this particular pastor, that you are walking out on faith and not by sight. I know this is a lot to ask. But if you are interested, I will share more of the story, where this community is located and pictures.
Thank you for your time!