Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

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Compassion Internationally

In America, we tend to advise to girls to wait before getting married. It is less common to hear of a girl younger than fifteen getting married under any circumstances. However that is not the case in many Middle Eastern countries. Many times a family will arrange a marriage of a daughter much younger than fifteen to avoid the girl being kidnapped and being sold into the hands of human traffickers. Other times a girl’s marriage is arranged to avoid having to feed her. I had heard of marriages of girls twelve and thirteen years old becoming married, but I never heard of a ten year old girl, until I read I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui.

I Am Nujood is a book written to both illuminated the culture of Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries and to highlight the strength of little girl who had to face that culture that says woman are not equal. Nujood was given in marriage by her father and the men of her family to a man of thirty years. He promised to not touch her until one year after her puberty. However, he attacked her almost immediately and violated her nightly while beating her. He attempted to break her but Nujood managed to escape and faced the daunting task of asking for a divorce in a country that did not value woman.

If you are a mother, a daughter, a sister, a Christian – I encourage to read this book and cry out for all women and girls around the world. God created us, male and female, in His image and rather than turn your eyes and mind from the violence against women and girls because it is not in our own home, we must educate ourselves and stand united to protect His children – male and female.

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program for 2012. The book is published by Read It Forward and is available on Amazon.com.

Child Not for Sale

Living in the land of plenty, the land of freedom, ensures that we probably will never have to experience the fear, violence, and devastation of child sex trafficking. I just finished reading a book for young adults about a thirteen-year-old girl from Nepal who dreamt of better days for her mother, stepfather, and infant brother. Instead, her stepfather sold her to a trafficker who took her to a brothel in India where she was beaten and forced into prostitution. Sold by Patricia McCormick is a National Book Award Finalist that tells the story of Lakshmi.

Despite being beaten, drugged, and threatened, Lakshmi maintained a spirit of survival through friendships that she made with some of the other girls in the brothel, the son of one of the other girls, and a Christian missionary. She lost her innocence and childhood in the darkness of the evil. She found her strength and freedom in the light of love.

Sold is an easy to read narrative of Lakshmi’s life with her family and the trek to her imprisonment. Some of the “chapters” are actually only a paragraph or two. I would recommend this book for any young adult or adult interested in learning more about human trafficking.

I read this book for my United Methodist Women Reading Program.