Tyndale’s publication, Church Around the World Bulletin, recently reported that human traffickers are targeting the disaster victims of Nepal, following this year’s devastating earthquake in that region. Traffickers, disguised as rescue workers, are luring people into sex slavery by means of promising them relief aid and housing. It seems almost as soon as legitimate support and provisions showed up to help the Nepalese people, human traffickers arrived on their heels with a different mission. Injustice seems to, inevitably, show up at the most inopportune moments – like a lion on the prowl, selecting the most vulnerable prey. The apostle Peter emphasized this same reality two thousand years ago, when he wrote to people facing oppression and hardship by the hands of enemy forces. He wrote,
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8 – 9)
Millennia later, it seems like things have only gotten worse, or at least, haven’t gotten better. Perhaps, we simply continue to face the same reality of Peter’s world, wondering who to trust – and when that trust has been violated, how do we trust again?
For Peter, the threat of captivity and turmoil of suffering was not where the story ended. He watched Christ suffer and die, but also witnessed Christ’s resurrection and victory over the most extreme devastating factor in life – death. He wrote:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Later in life, Peter’s fellow disciple, John, wept when he considered that no one was capable of restoring humanity to the way God intended. But during a vision, John was reminded of a different kind of lion that protects and perpetuates life. John wrote, in his book of revelations, about this redemptive reality that was revealed to him. John wrote, “Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” (Revelation 5:5a) We can either choose to fixate on how evil lurks at the door and, at times, finds its way inside; or, we can focus on how God has created a way of escape and has empowered us to both find freedom and offer others freedom who have been taken captive by the enemy’s ploys.
For over a decade, Justice Ventures International has sought to not only liberate those enslaved in the sex trade/industry, specifically in India and China, but also provide those freed with rehabilitation to heal and find faith again in humanity, and even God. JVI’s initiative is to partner with local and international resources (legal, medical and vocational) to holistically secure a new way of life for people formerly caught in the snare of sex slavery. It is one thing to logistically liberate someone from slavery and another to provide practical opportunities for long term hope. JVI’s initiative focuses on the high trafficked areas of Southeast Asia and highlights how multi-generational enslavement is real and requires a familial approach to implementing restoration for all members of the family. JVI is well aware of the epic problem of human trafficking that affects individuals, families, communities, countries and our world; however, they are also keenly aware that this is not where the story ends. They are part of telling the ongoing story of victory over evil by taking action, advocating for and achieving freedom for those in need of it. There is comfort in the reality that light is more powerful than darkness; and where suffering is experienced, grace extends farther to overcome, rescue and redeem.
- Peaceable Kingdom; painting by Edward Hicks 1834
- The Church Around The World Bulletin: www.tyndaleperiodicals.com