My heart picked up a beat or two as our van approached K’Baum Village in rural Cambodia. Last year Heaven’s Family began sponsoring the 60 children of this village through the Human Trafficking Fund, and this was my first opportunity to meet these kids and their families face to face!
I was there to witness firsthand how we’re making a difference in this little corner of the world. We’re doing that by: 1. Teaching children and parents about the dangers of traffickers; 2. Providing kids with Bible-centered after-school programs; and 3. Working to transform harmful attitudes—an entrenched cultural mindset that says it’s acceptable for parents to sell or rent their children—by transforming hearts with the gospel. We’re also looking into ways that we can use micro-loans to lift K’Baum economically so that families never feel the pressures of desperate poverty that often forces parents in many countries around the world to sell their children to human traffickers.
The next day we visited a slum in the capital city of Phnom Penh. About two dozen kids gathered to listen. Their clothing was dirty and tattered. Some wore only a shirt or pants. One came naked. Despite their poverty, smiles of joy quickly appeared on their faces as our Cambodian team member taught them praise songs in their language. My wife Karin then shared a Bible story with the children, and we finished up by playing some games. We left feeling joyful about our encounter, yet sad by their poverty—and their vulnerability to traffickers.
The suffering and abuse of so many children in our world at the hands of greedy, pleasure-seeking adults breaks my heart, leading me often to cry out, “Come back soon, Jesus!” I know it breaks your heart as well. Words cannot express the deep joy and encouragement I feel when I look into the eyes of a child we’re helping to protect from traffickers, realizing that together you and I have touched that one life. Multiply that by the hundreds, and you’ll understand why I’m excited as we move into 2014. There’s hope when, in obedience to Jesus, we step up to the plate and do something.
Because of Him,
Director, Human Trafficking Fund