What’s a guy to do when you’re the only guy on a vision trip with eight women? What’s a guy to do when you are in the back of a bus full of women who repeatedly break out into songs from The Lego Movie? What’s a guy to do when during testimony time the talk trends toward relationship topics? What’s a guy to do? For these things, and many others, a man gives thanks to God for the privilege of being on a journey with so many wonderful, talented, exceptional, and joyful women of God.
There have been a number of instances when I could not participate in the planned activities. I could not tour inside the House of Change where victims of trafficking live nor could I go upstairs at the Dream House, which is a resident program for at risk young women. In the activities with the women, I held back, not sure what would be appropriate. During a pizza dinner we were having with the women at the Dream House, while the rest of our team was painting nails and later doing folk dancing, Allison (our team co-leader) sat next to me and–in a nice way–basically asked, “Just why are you here, Ray?” I had a ready answer: do what I can and bear witness to the rest.
While the rest of the team was touring the House of Change, I pulled weeds in the vegetable garden. More germane to our trip, I participated when we broke up into teams that accompanied Beginning of Life staffers into high schools to offer lessons concerning moral values and character development, which are supported by the state as long as there is no outright evangelizing. Two other women and I visited English classes and discussed the misconceptions about the USA. We had them draw diagrams and word pictures of what they thought of America – lots about Hollywood and the Statue of Liberty. There were many questions about emigration and studying in the USA. The students were all very bright, attentive, and cooperative.
Furthermore, I can and will give witness to the exceptional work of Beginning of Life. I am not new to the issue of human trafficking. I have read the literature and been to the conferences. To my knowledge, I know no other organization providing the breadth of programs and services aimed toward victims and at risk youth in relation to human trafficking as Beginning of Life. I also know of no organization with a better rate of success. More people will hear about the work and I will do my part.
When I first learned of the trip from Helen last winter and told her of my interest in joining, she actually jumped and said, “We got a man!” The idea was that out of a team of nine people, at least one person of my gender would be represented. In the past few years, since gaining an interest in human trafficking issues, I have received comments from various people when attending trainings and awareness events about how glad they are to see a man taking interest in the issues. I always found that troubling.
What’s a guy to do? As in all things, in this area, Jesus is our guide and he had a response as to what a man should do: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25, 37-40)
To the above list, in our time, we could add the child sold to a brothel, the girl duped by a pimp into being a prostitute out of personal emptiness, or the young woman tricked into leaving an economically depressed situation to discover herself trapped in the sex trade with no way home. In our world today, these have become among “the least” with little voice and few options. A man should do what he can and I hope that I will have an adequate response when I stand before my King.