By Jenn Lewis
I’ve been reading a book about modern-day slavery and human trafficking called Refuse to do Nothing by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim. Julie Davis gave this book to each of the WOW board members and from the moment I started reading it, it struck a chord. It’s not an easy topic to digest but this has to be the best book I have ever read. I knew my life was easy in a global comparison and that I’ve been living a very charmed life, but it’s like my eyes have been fully opened. And I’m learning that this is isn’t just happening on the other side of the world, but it’s happening here in the US. Even here in Ohio! Why isn’t it on the front page of the newspaper? Why isn’t it the first topic of discussion on TV? For those who know about this, why do we stay quiet? I cannot go back to living my life the way I was. I just can’t. I won’t. I refuse to settle back into complacency and turn a blind eye.
It’s overwhelming and it’s hard to know how to help or what to do. That’s been the best part of this book - It doesn’t just give you the information to educate you. At the end of each chapter there are suggestions of ways to “Take Action”. Along with thousands of others, my family and I have decided that we will no longer buy chocolate that is harvested through child slave labor. I know that Fair Trade issues can be heated and it isn’t the ultimate solution to the problem, but it’s at least something that I can do. I can’t make chocolate chip cookies for my children when I know that over 40% of the world’s chocolate is affected by or connected to child labor. (And a majority of those children were either sold by or stolen from their families.) Yes, this means that instead of spending $2 on a bag of chocolate chips at my local grocery store, I will now spend over double that and it will be more challenging to buy. But can I really say that those dollars and that time spent are more valuable than that child in the field? My heart breaks from the pain and turmoil I’ve read about and I know God has pressed this onto me.
I am only a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I do not have millions of dollars to give. I cannot move to Africa and work with these farmers until all the children are free and treated fairly. BUT what I am is a daughter of the Most High King. I do have God’s power at my fingertips. And I am willing to step forward and to be part of the change.
And it doesn’t have to be just one area of trade like chocolate or coffee. It can be coming alongside organizations like Rahab Ministries, who help rescue women out of slavery right here in NE Ohio.
Renee Stearns said “In all likelihood, I will never be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for another person, but I do need to hold loosely my time, my possessions, my relationships. Whatever it is that I value most, I need to be ready to relinquish it, to lay it down, to follow the example of Jesus, who said, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’”
I refuse to do nothing. Will you?
(For more information visit these sites: foodispower.org, slavefreechocolate.org, rahab-ministries.org.)