Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 515: The New Abolitionists

“There are nearly 2 million children trapped in sex slavery worldwide.”

Operation366_Day517I received an email this morning. You know, those spammed promos that plague our modern ways of communicating. “Slim Your Belly,” read the subject line. Its tag, “’New ‘Skinny Pill’ Takes County By Storm.’” Imbedded, a video titled, “New Secret To Burn Fat Fast.” Sub head, “See why millions are praising this as the ‘Holy Grail’ of weight loss…’”

Now I do realize that there are many who struggle with real clinical and psychological conditions leading to excessive weight gain. I have friends and family members who have dealt with the grasp of obesity, so know that what I am about to say is delivered with humility and concern for those with real conditions. But, this ad was not addressing this group. Its millions of people are looking in the mirror of vanity, or sadly seduced by the facades society puts in front of our eyes.

“See why millions are praising this Holy Grail…” its promo claims, and quite frankly, I’m put off.

Why?

I pause in thought, struggling to identify with my emotions as I look at my somewhat not ripped abs. Which, by the way, are becoming a loved part of my evolving body, and then it hits me hard. You may have noticed a pause in my entries over the last few weeks; yet, another “why” I have to ask myself as I sit in front of my underused keyboard. I take another pause and it hits me again with an unrelenting blast of emotional fire. I let go and type my words?

“We rescue kidnapped children from slavery,” their website reads. Operation Underground Railroad is their name. They are not known by millions, as are the fat burners. But they should be. They are much more worthy of the traffic, and my prayer is that they soon will be overwhelmed with members.

Their promise reads,

To the children
who we pray for daily, we say:
Your long night is coming to an end.
Hold on. We are on our way.

And to those captors and perpetrators,
even you monsters who dare offend God’s
precious children, we declare to you:
Be afraid. We are coming for you.

To those who have read this far,
we plead with you: Donate to our cause.
Donate. We can’t do this without you.

For almost 4 weeks a growing impression has been blazing in my mind and heart. Keeping me awake at night as it silenced me into solemn reflection. How do I fully express the results of an evening that humbled me to my knees in empathy and prayer: a fundraising event that, in a way, is even redirecting the course of our Operation-365 mission?

Our Operation-365 charge, We are We. The Power Of One, our call to action, and you, our true agents of change. You, the “In-the-trench people,” who together are bettering the lives of others as we join in supporting each other, and now, in the causes we are aligning with.

So today, I am charged. At first motivated by the shallowness of a narcissistic drop fat video, and then inspired by a much more sanctified cause, the results and actions of Operation Underground Railroad and their fundraising momentum. Their mission is well-defined and their people are brave and inspired in a grand task–to save children from the dark clutches of slavery and sex trade.

As I said, I’m touched to the very core and am moved to ask for quiet introspection from all of us. A viral plea, if you will, in asking us look away from the facades of the materialistic world, to glimpse outside the box of our differences and cultural temptations, and for a moment, to discharge any of our animosities and fears towards one another. To collect ourselves into common meditation in thinking of the children of the world, of their innocence and of their endless trust.

Now, as we set aside whatever our “Slim Your Belly” flames be, and trying not to guilt trip us, I ask us to turn our attention to a much more meaningful message, the words of a brave husband and wife who have put their life on the line, volunteering their security to participate in a child trafficking sting (Please click her to read more about the process).

Operation365_Day517They’re just like you and I. Everyday people, living everyday lives. The quite ones, the silent majority, doing their best to contribute to a troubled world. Neither of them politicking for fame or fortune as they serve the world in saving countless children from wicked oppressors.

“I think there’s consequences to actions,” Carl passionately advises, “especially those who offend kids. They’re going to have to face those consequences now or later. I think there’s a love aspect, but there’s also a punishment aspect; and, I don’t mind being a part of that part of it either. The people who are going to have to pay the price at some point, for the things that they do.”

Melanie – “I have to wonder where these people come from. These sex traffickers. What’s their background, why are they the way they are? I think about that.”

Carl – “I think, we should be teaching people the importance of families. I think that’s the core of any civilization. Any. The importance of keeping family structure intact, you know, so the kids are raised in homes, where they’re taught good values, and they’re not raised on the streets or they’re not being abandoned, or whatever else. I think that’s where it all starts, with solid families.”

Melanie – “I’m a huger and a lover, and I think love goes far with everyone. No matter where you come from. People just need to be loved. No matter what they’re going through. I think that would solve a lot of problems. There are people who I love, where I don’t necessarily agree with what they’re doing. But it’s almost when they need love more. When they’re down in the pits. You just have to keep trying, even if they push you away.

‘”I’ve worked with a ton of foster girls, with a family that took them in. They were 16-17 years old and I would love them. I would hug them. They were rough girls. They had a rough, rough, rough past. I would hug them. I would love them. I would tell them that I loved them, that they were beautiful, and you know, those girls, they’ve moved on and moved out of that house, and they still reach out to me. In fact, today I just got a Facebook message from one of them that said ‘Mel, I miss you.’ This is a girl who’s had a terrible life, you know, from home to home to home to home. So that’s why I think that love just does so much for people. That’s all they need.’”

Melanie talks of forgiveness, a concept so hard to grasp when you think of the “Monsters” who prey on children.

“I think it’s really hard and I think people who can do this are amazing. The people who can forgive people who do terrible things to them. You look at Elisabeth Smart. She looks like the kind of person who probably forgives the guy who did all those really bad things to her, and you look as an outsider. You look at that and you say, ‘how is that even possible?’ But I think of people in those situations. If they can forgive? Then certainly, I can. I think that’s such a remarkable thing about so many people who have had horrible things done to them. They find a way to say ‘I forgive you.’ We’ll let God be the judge, but for me I’m for forgiveness.’”

To the children
who we pray for daily, we say:
Your long night is coming to an end.
Hold on. We are on our way.

And to those captors and perpetrators,
even you monsters who dare offend God’s
precious children, we declare to you:
Be afraid. We are coming for you.

To those who have read this far,
we plead with you: Donate to our cause.
Donate. We can’t do this without you.

The question is served. Do we open our minds, eyes, actions, and even our pocketbooks? Operation Underground Railroad calls us the new The New Abolitionists.

You and I. We. The silent majority, people of all circumstance working together; able to do what we can to shut down a multi-billion dollar industry of perverse and monstrous works.

Carl has spoken of, and puts himself on the front line, in offering consequences to the offenders.

Melanie cries a tear of forgiveness to fill and heal the hearts of the victims, and Tim Ballard (founder of Operation Underground Railroad) along with his team of warriors and brave volunteers are putting words, prayers and donations into action.

Underneath it all, the power of the grandest healer: LOVE

Carl – “I think love is putting someone else’s needs above your own.”

Melanie – “Yeah, and caring. A deep want to care for others or help others.”

Carl – “I think a lot of it is around being…”

Melanie completes Carl’s sentence as they speak in unison, “…Unselfish.”

Carl concludes, “Love and selfishness are opposites. Love is putting somebody else in front of you.”

The track is in front of us. Whether you can help the Abolitionists of The Underground Railroad or simply do something to better the community you live in, even keeping a watchful eye upon the children in your reach.

Tim, Carl, Melanie and all working on the railroad, our prayers are with you, and more powerfully, with the children in bondage who you are working to rescue. We pray that they may be saved and the perpetrators brought to justice.

To the children
who we pray for daily, we say:
Your long night is coming to an end.
Hold on. We are on our way.

And to those captors and perpetrators,
even you monsters who dare offend God’s
precious children, we declare to you:
Be afraid. We are coming for you.

To those who have read this far,
we plead with you: Donate to our cause.
Donate. We can’t do this without you.

Talk soon my good friends,

Richard

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