As many of you reading this probably already know, I was in Kenya this past summer for 10 weeks doing service work through a program called Duke Engage. For those of you who didn’t know that and don’t know who you’re reading, hello! My name is Brian. I’m from Cumming, Georgia and am studying global health and economics at Duke because there are people all around the world who die just because they’re poor and that’s ridiculous and needs to change. My prayer is that God will use Simple Charity this school year as a means of that change.
Over the summer, I met some kids who astounded me. At Lenkai Christian School in Kimana, Kenya, there are teenage girls who have been rescued from being sold into marriage to 50-year-old men. There are also two little albino boys whose body parts could be sold for thousands of dollars to witch doctors in Tanzania. These children were the first trafficking victims I had ever met. As I got to know them better throughout the ten weeks, I was astounded by the normalcy of their everyday lives. They were schoolchildren, studying subjects like science, English, and history each day, living with peers in crowded dorm buildings, and playing soccer on the field in their free time. However, sometimes I would catch one of the girls – I’ll call her Claire here – staring into space, her usual smile gone, her typical eagerness to greet me absent. Now, I knew a lot about this girl’s story in particular. She’s been through hell. I can’t imagine what must sometimes go on in her mind.
In Isaiah 61, we read:
“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 brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
This verse does a few things in us. First, it reminds us of what we know. On this planet, there are poor who need good news, broken hearts that need binding, and child captives who need freedom. Second, this verse teaches us that the Spirit of the Lord is involved in the healing of the hurting. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” If you are a Christian, that same Spirit who is upon the “me” of this passage is upon you. Thousands of years after this was written, He is still in the business of redemption.
This summer, I saw God’s Spirit working through God’s people to bring liberty to captives. John and Dorcus Parit are a hardworking, God-fearing couple from Nairobi who lead the Lenkai Rescue Center in Kimana, Kenya. They are close friends of Amy and Clay Churchill, the founders of Just One Africa, and are currently hoping to purchase a new facility to provide a home and mental health care to orphans and vulnerable children in their community. During Simple Charity’s Liberty theme, we want to help them with that. The home will be called Hope Beyond Transitional Center. John and Dorcus are motivated to serve by Jesus’ goodness and love. Jesus is working through them to bring liberty to children who are at risk of being trafficked. Children like Claire, who after being rescued has surrendered to Christ as her Lord and Savior. When she is enveloped in darkness, her faith gives her light.
In Luke 4, we learn who the “me” of Isaiah 61 is:
“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Jesus is liberty to the captive. He is reconciling all things to Himself. There are some Christian non-profits that might end a blog here after one final call to action. I’ve shown you the problem, the solution, the relevant Scriptures, so now, give here, and you’ll make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I want Simple Charity to go one difficult step farther. The truth is, the reality of child trafficking should disturb something in our lives. How could it not?
Mental health and trafficking are popular causes now, especially on college campuses. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you would say that you are passionate about one of them. I’d like to know what exactly you mean by that. Jesus tells us in Luke 12 that our heart follows our treasure. In other words, show me where you invest your extra time and money, and I’ll tell you what you’re actually passionate about. If you spend your free time watching Netflix and your extra money buying clothes, no matter what you say about mental health and trafficking, you’re probably passionate about Netflix and clothes. C. S. Lewis puts it best: “If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” This is true because we invest in what we love, and we ought to love people.
Hope Beyond Transitional Center will cost a total of $65,000 to be operational. That means, people are going to have to collectively give up $65,000 worth of other stuff in order to make it happen. Friends, let’s make it happen. You might be like me and not have much money to give now, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Right now, we’re at $25,000 for Hope Beyond. If 2,000 people give $20, we’re there. Given Simple Charity’s current sphere of influence (from Duke to UGA to Forsyth County, GA to UF) and the magic of emails and social media, there are certainly 2,000 people with $20 to spare within reach. It’s going to cost us something as students, but I believe we’ll find the Spirit of the Lord come upon us like never before when we proclaim liberty to the captives.
One final important note. When you give, make sure to put “Simple Charity” in the comments. If you do, your donation will be matched in the month of September by an anonymous donor. This donor friend has promised to match up to $10,000.