Their gift today – Freedom!

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Christmas morning made all things new for these girls!  

I am pondering a lot about perspective this Christmas morning.


“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  (Isaiah 61:1 ESV)”

A huge thank you and Merry Christmas too to those who are engaged with us in this battle.  This story is your’s too.

Pray continually, Donate when you can.

It’s all about quitting

Garmet worker 1We all set goals.  Things we want to accomplish personally and professionally.  Steps that help us see where we are in the process of doing more with our lives.  I was trained in business in classic MBOs, Management By Objectives.  We used CSFs, Critical Success Factors, to measure progress along the way.  This became a habit for me and something that seems to be more natural now after many years of use.  The objective of Reintegration Programs is to vocationally train and assist in the recovery of victims of trafficking so that they can support themselves in honorable, self-sustaining work and thereby end the cycle of trafficking in their own family by taking charge of their own life.  In the process, we get to show them that we do this because Christ first loved us and commands us to love others, a command that has become a joy to follow.

We now operate four garment production training centers.  One produces custom silk screen t-shirts, polos, pajamas and anything else from a pattern for business, churches and events and can produce several thousand shirts a week.  One produces “part work” – connecting sleeves, collars, cuffs, etc. to bodies of sweaters – known in the industry as “linking”.  These garments produced here in Cambodia can be found in various major stores in the US and Europe but under the lead company’s label not ours.  One produces accessories such as bracelets, necklaces, ankle wraps and has grown into a substantial supplier to a US boutique called Apricot Lane.  One makes accessories like scarves, headbands and also provides creative design work for our local store “MADE” locaated along the riverfront here in Phnom Penh.

But here is my #1 Critical Success Factor.  Get the workers to quit!

I want them trained and measured for their level of achievement.  I want them to make a fair wage with us and feel loved and valued in Christ.  I want them to experience a personal relationship with Christ as their Lord and Savior and them I want them to quit.garment worker 2

Young children go into our school when they are rescued, but mid-teens and up come into our training centers within weeks of their rescue.  They are still recovering.  They are suspicious of everyone – rightfully so.  Scared and anxious are understatements.  But they walk into a training center and see other workers, some they might even know, and the faces they see are inviting, encouraging.  Some have even reached the stage of finding happiness for the very first time in their memory.  So in come the new workers and we interview them and begin the process of preparing them to quit.

You see quitting is the graduation day for many into a life reintegrated.  It is a day of celebration when they leave to fulfill a dream.  Sure we have some who drop out; many of those come back just days or weeks later.  But the ones who “graduate” by quitting represent a very important Critical Success Factor to this Incurable Fanatic.

In November, we had three “graduates”.  They came into our work with no self-respect, no hope for tomorrow, no belief in God, no concept of love.  We got to see the light come on for these graduates.  While with us, one developed a dream to become a baker, another to become a mechanic, and yet another, to independently run a sewing shop.  All three quit in November – or better said, graduated to pursue those dreams.  SUCCESS!  CRITICAL SUCCESS.

garment worker 4Thank you for being a part of the stories we get to engage in.  Lives are changing.  These stories are not ours alone but also the stories of those who support this work to fight a battle for the lives of sex-trafficking victims.

If you support us already, we are ever so thankful.  If you have not yet engaged this way, keep praying for us anyway.  If God provides, perhaps financial support will be something for the future.  Either way, stay with us for the stories and help us end this atrocity of our generation.

DONATE when/if you can to continue to work to Rescue|Restore|Reintegrate|Prevent child trafficking.

If you would like to promote awareness in your church, business or community we invite you to host a human trafficking awareness event in your area.  Bring churches, concerned citizens, schools and neighbors together to fight back for the lives of children.  For information on an event, contact Meredith W Ramsey.  It’s simple.  It’s effective.

Lesson’s from Grandma’s Kitchen

grandmas_kitchen_signWhen I was a little boy, pre-school age, I used to love to be in the kitchen with my grandma.  We called her “Ouie” but that is another story filled with fun, but not now.  Right now I want to focus on the joy I used to have to be with her in the kitchen.  As I think back, I loved being there with her because when she was in the kitchen it usually meant great treats in the works.  I can actually remember during one of her visits to our home making the decision to not go out and play with the neighborhood kids because Ouie was making her way to the kitchen with a bag that looked like it contained chocolate chips.   I was at least going to investigate before what she was up to before heading outside.  Sure enough, I caught a glimpse of the ingredients coming out of the grocery bag and I quickly forgot the call of the outdoors.

Interesting to me is to think back on what drew me to my grandmothers side.  At that early age, I was not thinking, “wow, this lady loves me.  She has my best interests in mind all the time.”  No, that would have been a level of critical thinking that I just did not have yet.  But, I did think, “wow, this lady loves me.  She makes great stuff that I like.”  At this stage of my life it was all about me.  I did not understand the depth of commitment that compelled Ouie to go to such lengths to demonstrate her love for me.  I just knew she gave me good stuff in a measure that exceeded what my Mom or Dad might let me have.

One day, I remember it oh so well, she was melting some chocolate chips on the stove.  I was at my place sitting on the counter closer to the stove than she had told me to sit and when she lifted the pan from the burnt orange burner on the stove she said, “now don’t touch that, it is HOT!”

Guess what I did next?  I can look at my hand all these years later and still remember well the lightening quick pain that shot through my entire body as my hand came away from that burner with the crescent shape of the rings clearly marked on my little hand.  I have never come close to making that choice again.  I learned “first hand” that stove burners are HOT.

As I ponder this event from my early life I wonder what kept me from being obedient to Ouie who I knew loved me?  Why had I so quickly disobeyed her direct guidance?  Sure, easy to chalk it up to childishness but is that all there is to it?  I think there is more.

You see, I did not understand love at that time.  Not understanding it did not keep me from experiencing it but it did keep me from understanding how it works.  Where it comes from and how it directs my path.  At that stage of life, I thought love was about getting something.  If someone, in this case Ouie, loved me she gave me stuff.  End of love story.

But love is so much deeper than that.  Love is about a commitment that.  If I had been a deep thinking 5 year old, I would have thought, “now why does this woman who loves me want to keep me from touching something so inviting?  What could be her reason for keeping me from something that looks like fun?”  Not me, not at 5 years old.  Ouie told me that because she knew the outcome before the event.  She warned me of the eventuality of touching that hot burner and she cared enough to say “NO.”

God is the same way.  Before I understood love, God was  loving me.  Before I knew the pain of disobedience God was loving me.  Before I knew to ask for forgiveness, I was forgiven.  Scripture tells us in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (ESV).

grandmas hugThat brings me back to Ouie.  She is the first example of love that I remember in my life.  God placed her in my life for me to learn about love.  When I touched that hot burner, I learned about love.  The very person who advised me not to touch it was quickly holding me tightly in her arms and working to comfort and care for me.  She did not cast me aside for disobedience.  She did not quickly pull out a ruler to spank me (though that did happen on a number of other occasions).  She knew my pain and that a lesson was being learned but right then, at that moment, what I needed most was love.  And I got it from my Lord through Ouie.

This is a blog about life and work in the field of ending sex-trafficking.  Specifically, this is a blog about our work where we are presently engaged in Cambodia.  So how does that life event fit this cause?

This is a country with very few “Ouies”.  An entire generation of children have been raised up with parents, relatives neighbors and other adults who not only fail to love they failed to protect.  They often have been the inflictors of pain.  The young people here have not had the learning experience of love to even conceptually understand it much less believe there is a God who loves and LOVES THEM.

Let me be careful to avoid misleading.  It is not knowing that activates love but it is knowing that activates understanding.  The fact is God loves me and you even if I don’t know it.  But understanding that has changed my life decisions.  I had many “Ouies” in my life.  They helped me move from knowledge to understanding to action.  That is what witnessing does.

Here, in the world of sex-trafficking, young people don’t see any “Ouies”.

That is why we are here.  That is why missionaries are sent.  Sometimes we spend a lot of time even on the mission field focusing on the rules of faith when we need to focus on the purpose of faith.  We need to help people here and wherever we are – wherever you are – understand that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 ESV).

We are in Cambodia, we are in this cause to show the love of Christ to a generation that has few examples.  We are here to help them to be transformed by knowledge to activate understanding so that it becomes action.  So that a new generation will grow up with “Ouies”.

If you support our work here, we are so very grateful.  If you don’t yet support our work, please consider a monthly gift to keep us engaged in this work.  We have been called to this I am certain.  Are you perhaps among those called to send us?

Perhaps your church would find a co-mission by partnering with us with monthly support or even your business might want to be aligned with the work of the Gospel to end sex-trafficking of young people.  Click a link and find out how you can be a part of sending us.

Thank you to all my “Ouies”