“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” ― William Wilberforce
I was only eight so the drive seemed long.
We were driving from Bangkok, where we lived at the time, to Pattaya, a beach resort less than two hours away. My favorite part of the drive was the monkeys in the trees we would pass along the way.
When we arrived, I loved being on the beach. As a Southern California girl I always loved the beach. Any beach. Although this beach was literally a world away from the Pacific Coast I grew up near, it still reminded me– just a little bit–of home.
What I liked even better was the chance to get away together as a family. None of us were particularly thrilled to be living in Thailand (my dad’s job took us there), so there always seemed to be a lot of tension. There were good things about living overseas, but a lot of hard things too.
Pattaya was one of my favorite good things.
My mom and dad seemed more relaxed there. Even though we were already out of the country, my dad still traveled a lot so we didn’t always have that much time together. But in Pattaya, we had fun. I learned to water ski on a “granny ski” (two ski’s sort of fused together in the front for greater stability). We rode horses on the beach. We laughed and we played.
That was my experience of Pattaya—a place of innocence and childhood fun. A place of escape from the daily pressures of life.
In a few weeks I’ll be back in Pattaya for the first time in over 40 years. Although I’ve been back to Thailand several times in recent years, I’ve haven’t been to Pattaya since I was a child.
Let’s just say it’s not a place of innocence and childhood fun any more.
Today, many eight-year-olds in Pattaya are bought and sold multiple times a night–trapped in the horrors of sex slavery. It’s a place many long to escape from.
It’s a place where innocence is stolen.
AND IT’S NOT OKAY.
Will our little praying team of Jesus-believing, freedom-loving, justice-seeking, incurable fanatics really be able to make much of a difference in the midst of such deep darkness?
I don’t know.
But I do know we can’t possibly make a difference if we do nothing.
So we’re taking a stand. We’re praying. We’re giving. We’re going. We’re speaking out. We’re shining a light on the very real and very heartbreaking issue of slavery that exists today in staggering numbers.
Will you join us?
You can check their website for details, but the premise is simple: On February 27th draw a red X on your hand as a message to the world that slavery still exists and you won’t stand for it.
Again, will a bunch of people drawing big red X’s on their hands actually do anything to save the eight-year-olds (and twenty-year-olds, and five-year-olds, and thirty-two-year-olds-if-they-live-that-long, etc.) being bought and sold on a daily, if not hourly, basis?
Probably not in the short run.
But it WILL shine a light.
And maybe, just maybe, if enough people stand together and say enough is enough …
We will END IT.
And when that happens, maybe one day Pattaya (and scores of other places like it around the globe) will once again be a place of childhood innocence and fun.
PLEASE spread the word among your own spheres of influence–your schools, workplaces, churches, community groups, etc–if we stand together we will make a difference.
I’m attaching a link to Chris Tomlin’s version of the song “God of This City.” The song was written by an Irish band called Bluetree while on outreach in Pattaya: