It's the second week of my anti-human trafficking training, and we are on "retreat" at the hotel at Clifty Falls state park. (All this means is that the other conference rooms at OMS headquarters were previously booked, so we came off campus for our week's sessions.) It really is a beautiful setting. We're about ten minutes or so from Kentucky. If I look from the far right corner of my bedroom window, I can see a tip of the Ohio River in the distance. (The view of the river is spectacular from the dining room windows. If the weather were a tad warmer, I would definitely enjoy exploring the grounds and visiting the many falls in this state park. Another time.)
Yesterday afternoon after our mid-afternoon arrival, Shirley had a great object lesson for us on clay pots. She gave us each a small clay pot, told us to break them, and then write encouraging notes and scriptures on the pieces. We are then going to glue them back together so that we'll have a visual reminder that the people we are ministering to are broken....but who have, hopefully, been restored through the grace and saving mercy of Jesus Christ. I was reminded that whole clay vessels do not make the best lanterns. They're too dense for the light to seep through. But clay vessels that have been broken filter the light much better. Through these transformed, redeemed lives that were once broken, we can see fully see God's mercies. What He's brought them through to become the Light-infused individuals they have become. I'm also reminded that my heart must continually be broken for these people. A broken heart encompasses more compassion than a cold one.
After dinner and my presentation on the spiritual and socio-economic needs in Mexico, we watched "Amazing Grace". We own this movie, so I've seen it a few times. Yet, I'm always struck by the cruelty men are capable of. How is it even possible that mankind can treat their fellow human beings this way? It was a theme reiterated to me this afternoon when I finally watched "Schinder's List" for the first time. I cried and cried seeing the animalistic treatment of the Jews by the Germans. Shooting them for no reason. The degradation of their fellow man. The horrors those children were forced to witness. I cannot even imagine the psychological scars that had to have left on the survivors. I think the ones who were killed were probably the lucky ones. Their torment ended. There were scenes upon scenes where children were ripped out of their mother's arms. One in particular where it was a girl torn from her mother. I imagined how I would feel if my own two precious daughters were torn from me and I wept. How would I feel watching my sons shot? I cannot even begin to fathom the things these people endured.
The horrific thing is that these atrocities have not ceased. They are not simply a part of "history". They continue today. Children are ripped from their mothers' arms. People are shot or killed for no reason. There is forced slavery. People are beaten. Raped. Degraded. It happens every day. We can say, but I'm just one person. What can I do? Oskar Schindler was one man. And look what God enabled him to do.
Lord, Jesus, help us to take a stand wherever we are. Help us, as individuals and as a whole, to put an end to the atrocities committed. May there be men raised up who can hold other men accountable. To teach them what it means to be men of God. May there be men and women raised up who will join the fight. To not simply look on from the sidelines. Help us make a difference.
Help me make a difference.