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Moment of Realization

It started out as just a normal Wednesday morning. I woke up too late, rushed to put on my uniform, did something with my hair, ate a piece of toast, brushed my teeth, packed my lunch, and was out the door.

I go to a small private school. When I say small, I’m not kidding. The Upper School building has two stories – one for the Middle School, and one for the High School. The Middle School has around 40 kids in all – nineteen in sixth grade, eight in seventh grade, and ten in eighth grade. There are four classrooms on the first floor and one computer lab.

Upstairs, the High School has nine teenagers in total. There are six in my freshman class, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior. We all have our own cubicle along the walls of one side of the room. On the other side, a whiteboard, a desk, and some chairs make up the English/Theatre/Speech classroom. Across the hall there is a huge storage room and two offices. Down at the end of hall, there is a small library with two tables set up in it that serves as the seminar room.

My first period every morning is Chapel. After Chapel, I walk back with my friends to the Upper School building, rush up the stairs, go to my cubicle and grab my biology binder, and then head back downstairs to the science lab. That Wednesday, however, I hesitated when I got to the High School Room, because on the English side of the room, a projector and several more rows of chairs were set up.

My friends and I waited until one of the teachers came up to tell us what was going on, if there was a presentation, and if we got to skip biology to see the presentation. Well, there was a presentation, but it was for the Middle School, so we were sent down for biology. When the bell signaling the end of biology rang, the biology students and I moseyed on up to the High School room. When we arrived, we found out that the guests were giving a separate presentation to the High School.

The guest speakers turned out to be Guy and Summer Benton, a newlywed couple that work as missionaries in Cambodia. Summer grew up in the town my school is located in. Guy, however, was born and raised in New Zealand. Summer met Guy in a mission team workshop. They became friends over the next three days, and then continued to keep in touch via video chat. When their talks went well into the night, however, they knew they were going to be more than just friends. Guy moved to Cambodia, where Summer was staying, and spent many months learning the culture and language of the people there. Guy and Summer were married in the US on January 5, 2013.

Guy began the presentation by asking us, “Who knows what slavery is?” Everyone raised their hand, of course. Then, he asked, “Who knows what human trafficking is?” Two people raised their hand.

“Well”, said Guy. “That’s what Summer and I are here to talk with you about. I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Guy Benton, and I am proudly from New Zealand, where everyone owns approximately 4.5 sheep. Why the half sheep? I don’t know. I promise you that we do not have half sheep running around; you know how it is – some guy adds up a bunch of numbers, divides it by other numbers, and comes out with half sheep.

“Alright, so who has heard of William Wilberforce? If you haven’t, he was a famous member of the British Parliament. In 1782, William began fighting to end slavery. Time after time, he was unsuccessful in his efforts. He just could not seem to gain enough of the vote. Finally, in 1833, fifty-one years later, his bill to end slavery was approved. Three days later, William died.

“Have you ever met anyone who was so passionate about one thing that they literally fought to their death? Sure, we petition for things, we care about charities for several years, but do any of us actually fight until our deaths? That just goes to show how much he hated the thought of slavery, how horrible it was, how much he wanted things to change.

“Now, Summer, what is the number? Is it eleven million? Okay. Did you know that the total number of slaves that were transported in the slave trade is estimated to be eleven million? That’s counting the slaves who died in the ships at sea. And now, I ask again. How many of you know what human trafficking is?” The same two people raised their hand.

“You, in the back,” said Guy. “Can you give me a definition of human trafficking?”

“Well”, said Josh. It’s basically the slave trade, except done illegally.”

“I couldn’t have thought of such an easy explanation”, said Summer, taking over for Guy. “Human trafficking is pretty much taking someone, usually children and teens, from somewhere, and selling them somewhere else to do whatever they are wanted or needed for. They may become a maid, a young soldier, or used sexually.

“There are three main types of trafficking in the world: weapon, drug, and human trafficking. Out of the three, drug trafficking is number one, then comes human trafficking, and finally weapon trafficking.

“What was the figure? Oh, yes. Approximately eleven million people were transported in the slave trade. It is estimated that already, twenty-two million people have been transported in human trafficking, and the number continues to grow every day.”

I took a moment to let that soak in. When slaves were legal, eleven million were transported. Now, when slaves are illegal, the number has doubled. Why? What is the incentive now that the world did not have a couple centuries ago? That moment I realized how important it was that I try to help end human trafficking.

The word “twenty-two million” does not exactly sound like a big number. I mean, even if I write out the number 22,000,000, it still looks like just a bunch of zeros after a 22. But I challenge you to count out twenty-two million grains of rice – one for each person. Then it will sink in that that’s an unnecessarily large number. Personally, I would not like the number to grow past zero, but if there be a number, twenty-two million is just too much to account for.

“I am currently a social worker at a home in Cambodia that rescues the young girls who have been trafficked and sexually abused,” continued Summer. “The other volunteers and I help to give these girls therapy, an education, and a life. Most importantly, though, I help show them the love of the LORD.”

“I can see how some of you have reacted,” broke in Guy. “I was a teenager when I learned that some girls are trafficked to be sexually abused. How do you feel right now?”

Some of the guys said they wanted to laugh, but Guy understood that they didn’t want to laugh because sexual trafficking is funny. It’s because it is an awkward subject, and guys laugh when a situation is awkward. Summer asked the girls how they felt knowing that girls our age are being abused in such a way. We were all silent. What were supposed to say? “It’s a really nice presentation, but I would rather not know”? Or “I feel abused just thinking about it”, or “I plead the fifth”? Silence was the best answer; I myself did not know what to think. I still don’t. It troubles me, but it also scares me just a bit, to think that are people in the world who would do such a thing. But Summer understood our silence just as Guy understood the boys’ laugh.

“So now you know about all we are here to inform you about, but what are you going to do with the information?” continued Summer. “Are you going to walk away and pretend like nothing just happened? Or do you want to help, but you just don’t know how? You might be thinking ‘I’m just a lazy teen, with no way to do anything to fix this’.

“Well, the biggest thing you can do to help is pray. Yeah, yeah, I know. Adults are always telling you to pray for this, and pray for that. But how many times do you actually pray for whatever you’re supposed to pray for? How many times do you actually pray on your own? How can I trust that you will actually pray to God to end human trafficking? Well, I can’t. So, if you don’t pray, I ask that at least think about it today. That’s all I ask. Think about it. Think about what we talked about. Think about what it would be like to be trafficked yourself. Let your heart into the matter. So many times nowadays you are told to not let your heart get involved, to only think about it rationally. Ration can come later. Today let your hearts speak. And if your hearts send up a prayer to God, then your hearts send up a prayer to God. If not, that’s okay.”

“How do you rescue the girls you take care of?” Josh asked Summer and Guy.

“Well, most would think that the best solution would be to buy the girls out of bondage,” answered Summer. “That is actually the worst solution, however, because all you are doing is putting money in the trade that allows the transaction of more people. Instead, the organization I work with hires ex-FBI and police officers to track down where the girls are, and who is keeping them. We then send the officers in undercover to where the girls are to get some more information, and then they go and tell the local police. The girls are then freed, and the people who had recently owned them are sent to jail.” Guy and Summer answered some more questions, showed us a video, and then realized that they had run out of time.

“May I end this in a prayer?” asked Guy. We all stood and bowed our heads. “Dear LORD, we ask you to guide us on our path of life, and to help us make the right decisions. We ask that you keep all of us here today safe, and that you bless the poor, the persecuted, the sick, the hungry, the needy, and the abused with anything that they need. We ask that you please put love in the hearts of the evil, and direct them onto your path. We ask all this, gracious LORD, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

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I have had plenty of time since that presentation to do exactly what Summer asked us to do: think about what we talked about that day. And many different things have come to mind.

The main thing being the prayer that Guy said at the end of the presentation. Most importantly, though, the phrase “…please put love in the hearts of the evil….” I asked myself, what exactly is evil? My first answer was that the Devil was evil, but I struck that down. You see, the Devil is evil but evil is used as an adjective there. The Devil is not evil itself.

My next question was did God create evil? Nothing exists that He did not create. But how could God create evil, when He is purely good? Am I trying to blame God - the one forgiving me - for the sin I commit? That makes absolutely no sense at all.

Well, if God did not bring evil into the world, then who did? Most people will tell you that it is man who brought evil into the world. But if you look back on the Garden of Eden, evil was already in the world before man fell into it.

I had to find the answer to my burning question. So I grabbed my Bible, and laid it on its spine. I let the pages fall open to a random page, hoping the LORD would show me a passage that would hold an answer. And indeed, He did. The Bible opened up to the very beginning of the Gospel according to St. John. I began reading.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5 NIV

I finally was given the answer to my question. Just as darkness is simply the absence of light, so evil is simply the absence of love. God did not create evil - He created love. But God knew that his love would not be seen by all. His love would not be seen by those in the darkness, those who saw evil. Therefore, Guy’s request from God to put love in the hearts of the evil is really asking Him to shine a light in the darkness.

So, the prayer from all of us to God should not just be to end human trafficking, to free all those who have been taken, and to direct all of them onto your path. Our prayer should be for God to give us his light, to give us his love. But not only that, we should pray that we will accept all His love in glory everlasting, forever and ever.



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