Not My Life

Written by: Mark Kadel (World Relief Spokane Director) 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING FILM BRINGS ISSUE TO THE COMMUNITY’S CONSCIOUSNESS

150 years ago this year, our Nation’s President at the time, a fellow by the name of Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in this country.  Yet today, internationally, most authorities acknowledge there are more slaves that at any time in human history.  The issue for the Christian community 150 years ago and was convincing a skeptical public that slavery was wrong.  Today, the issue for advocates of ending modern day slavery is to convince a skeptical Church that slavery exists!  That issue, in part, was the reason the World Affairs Council, partnering with World Relief Spokane, hosted a film screening of Not My Life on Oct. 3rd at the Bing Crosby Theater with a panel discussion afterward with local and national experts in the field.

Filmed on five continents, in a dozen countries, Not My Life featured more than fifty interviews with trafficking victims and their advocates in government, law enforcement, civil society, and the private sector. From 10 year-old girls raped in USA truck stops or brothels in India; to street beggars in Africa; to domestic servants in Washington, D. C., Not My Life took viewers into a world that is difficult to imagine.  Turnout at the theater was moderate, but of those who came, many were passionate about the cause.  Those interviewed afterwards all agree that although the film was good, the best part of the evening was the panel discussion afterwards.

Along with local Spokane Police and FBI representatives, the panel also included a WA State representative and representatives from local social service agencies, World Relief and Lutheran Community Services.  The featured panelist was Sandie Morgan, Director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University.  Sandie’s expertise in issues surrounding awareness, education, victim centered services and comprehensive advocacy for changing the public’s perception of women, girls and boys caught in the net of trafficking brought this issue to a new level of consciousness.   Anyone who attended the film screening came away with a new appreciation and level of understand of the magnitude of this evil human rights disaster in our land.

Sandie spoke and a variety of different venues throughout the weekend, including Moody Bible Institute, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, World Relief Spokane and New Life Church in Spokane Valley.  Recognized internationally as an authority on human trafficking, Sandie shared her passion to inform and provide practical ways people can become involved in the movement to end the demand for forced labor and sex trafficking in our own community.  It was a privilege for World Relief to host Sandie Morgan this month and if you want to learn more about this issue or how you can become involved, please visit our website at http://worldreliefspokane.org/anti-trafficking.

Relentless Grace

GiveThanks

Written by: Angie Funnell (World Relief Spokane Ministry Development Specialist)

As the fiscal year has come to an end, we often find ourselves praying in the spirit of gratitude or in a spirit of desperation for God to provide. I pray that we have not forgotten to praise the faithfulness of our Provider. The scandal of the grace we have been given rests in the assurance that our needs are met. He (Christ) has already gone before us and will continue to go before us and provide for our needs.

Whenever I hear a knock on a door at World Relief, I remember the verse, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9, NLT)

Every Thursday our staff meets for a time of devotion, worship and business matters. We religiously circle the room lifting up praises and asking for prayer requests. Often times we hear a knock at the door and someone will open the door and see who is waiting on the other side. Every time this happens I ponder the scandal of the grace we have been given. This grace is relentless… God is always waiting on the other side of the door for us. He (Christ) is patiently waiting for us to knock at the door ask for what we need. He rejoices and praises the work of the Father in this. I pray, we have not forgotten to give thanks for everything he has already given to us. We find ourselves tasked with the urgency of life but our time is a gift which is provided for us by this relentless love. I pray, we have not forgotten to remain in the stillness and peace of this relentless grace.

As the new fiscal year begins, I find myself praising the faithfulness of our Provider. I am pierced by the relentless mercy He continually provides for us. He desires us to knock at the door and ask for what we need. As we enter into a season of giving, I pray that we will not doubt the relentless grace that is provided for us. I pray that we knock at the door and ask for what we need and rest in the assurance that our needs will be provided for… not in our timing, way or measure but His.

World Relief Spokane would like to thank all donors who have helped provide for this successful fiscal year. Our work at World Relief is not possible without the faithfulness of our donors.To make your pledge to support the vulnerable please visit:

Lent_Donation

What do you see?

Written by: Angie Funnell: Ministry Development Specialist, WR Spokane

What do you see?

I see a mosaic of color in the darkness. I see resilience in the weary. I see grace in the pain. I see trust in a handshake or head nod. I see respect in silence. I see God’s Kingdom invading Earth, as followers are persecuted for their faith, and believers are persecuted by injustice. Survivors of these atrocities, we call our friends.

I am behind the scenes, but I listen. I see the hope in the hurting, as our friends wonder down our halls to meet with their new friends (Case Managers). As the Ministry Development Specialist, I raise money for these friends to become self-sufficient and replant their lives in hope.

Recently, World Relief Spokane had the privilege to host President & CEO of World Relief, Stephan Bauman and his wife, Belinda Bauman. Please take the time to listen to Belinda Bauman, as she speaks on behalf those who have been silenced and shares what she sees: Superhero Moms of Congo

Stephan and Belinda Bauman were the featured speakers for World Relief Spokane’s annual Benefit Dinner at The Glover Mansion. All proceeds went to a continuity giving program, which provides Refugee Sponsorship, for newly arrived refugee families. During their visit to Spokane, Stephan spoke to the University population at the Moody Bible Institute as well as the Gonzaga University student body. Stephan encouraged the students to ask themselves, “What do you see?” Bauman spoke to the injustice in justice and provoked conviction in silence. He encouraged us to enter into the hurt and vulnerability, because what we will see will change the pattern of our thinking. Stephan and Belinda urged us all, to be unapologetic, as we share what we see.

On behalf of the survivors of injustice we call friends, I leave you with this, what do you see?

The Tigers That Corner Us..

Merideth  Jeffries holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and has been part of the World Relief Spokane community since 2009, serving first as an intern in the employment department and later as a Resettlement and Placement Specialist for two years. Deeply moved by the resilience and beauty of the people and cultures she was serving, she wrote a series of poems and essays about her experiences working with refugee communities in Spokane as part of her graduate thesis. The poems that appear here are the first section of a larger collection entitled, The Tigers That Corner Us. Names of individuals have been changed to respect their privacy. Merideth remains connected to World Relief Spokane as a volunteer tutor in creative writing for ESL students.

Written by: Merideth Jeffries

Duh Ceu

You barely made it through your education,

risking your life to sneak across the border

into India to study God’s word. And like Paul,

you went to jail for preaching.

I remember all the stories you told me,

though sometimes I doubted they were true—

like the one about the tiger you fought,

and catching swallows in butterfly nets as a boy

to take to market.

But mostly, I remember

the day I tried to do the right thing

and it was misinterpreted,

received with anger.

All you said to comfort me was, “When Jesus walked the world, many were healed. Demons fled from souls long suffering, sins were forgiven and still, they hung him

on a cross and put thorns around his head. “

And I remembered you said the tiger bared his teeth

as he tried to corner you,

that you were scared but you lived.

Girl From Tediim Township, Chin State Myanmar

This afternoon, Za Lun Mang sits on my lap. We look at photos

because we can’t speak to each other in English.

At the picture of the peony, she shouts, “Pak!”

She smiles and looks up at me, “Fl-ow-er: Pak,” she says,

not wanting to leave me out, teaching me.

And though I try to understand

what her mother means when she motions

to me or to something around the house,

or when Za Lun Mang laughs at my attempts at pronouncing

Lun Dam: Thank you,

I am left out,

and my country will does the same to her.

The Tower of Babel has swayed

and fallen, the bricks scattered into nonsense,

but Lord,  I think, it’s not a tower to heaven that I want,

only to listen better to this girl.

Moth Orchid

Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis, thrives in warm climates, it  can be found growing wild in Parts of Burma, Malaysia and the Himalayas

I saw a moth orchid on the receptionist’s desk at work,

its fleshy, wine and white blossoms open. The stem curved

like a woman’s back, as it stretched toward the tinted window.

Last winter I ran into Van Nei Sung in Walmart buying groceries

with Zung Tin and saw a flake of snow still cold,

resting on the curve of her dark hair. She smiled warmly,

but I couldn’t help thinking she felt cold and far away from home.

My Hindu Friend Blesses Me

Gyanu tells me, his last name, Bahadur means brave,

his sister’s name, love.

“And yours?” he asks.

“My parents didn’t know when they named me,

but my name is Welsh for protector. I don’t know how well I do that.”

“No wait…  it means protected” he says.

I smile, thinking, how would he know?

“Someone,” he says, “Your husband, maybe someone from above protects you,

but also friend, it’s your moral obligation to protect.”

I know he is right.

But I measure the width of my hand

and see it’s only as wide as the mouth of my coffee cup.