2018 PASSION PROJECT

Over the last few years, I've had the privilege of meeting people all over this beautiful world and hearing their stories. Meeting new people, sitting in their homes, sharing a meal or cup of tea together, this has changed me. It's made me more compassionate, more empathetic, and more understanding. This is not a privilege that I take lightly and one that I want to steward well. I'm constantly surrounded by people and stories that inspire me and transform my heart.

As I look at our divided world, I can't help but think that if more people could hear the stories and experience breaking bread with people who are completely different than them, it would change the world as we know it. I've wanted to capture and share the stories of people that I'm meeting and the cultures I'm immersed in for the last couple years. 2018 feels like the year to do it.

Images by Caryn Noel

Images by Caryn Noel

I might be an idealist, but I hope that this small gesture of sharing stories will change our hearts and minds, challenge stereotypes, and ultimately restore identity and dignity to those who are desperately misunderstood. We don't have to give in to the "us vs them" mentality. We don't have to live divided, fearful, and judgemental. No, we can live in a world where we invite, accept, and relish in our differences. This is how we fight against division and move towards unity. It's how we fight against hate and move towards true, unrelenting love for others.

This is a passion project for me; something that compliments what I'm already doing. I'm praying for courage to share with my whole heart what I'm learning and experiencing from the incredible people that God has placed all over the world. I hope you enjoy the stories that will come from this little passion project of mine and pray it changes you like it will me. 

KNOW YOUR ABCs

People often ask me, "how can I get involved in the fight against human trafficking?" While some of us want to dedicate our lives to this fight, it's not necessary for everyone. In fact, if we ALL would simply embrace a lifestyle of freedom, we would have a greater impact on this injustice than we currently do. 

A great place to start is to know your ABCs.

1) ADVOCATE

Use your voice and influence to create change. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, live in the USA or don't, we can all educate ourselves and those around us. I'm sure we all know 2 people who know little to nothing about human trafficking. Start by educating and equipping those two then expand your efforts as time goes on. Or host a prayer gathering to educate your friends and stand on the front lines of this fight. Just use your voice!

Resources: 

A21 Campaign, Prayer Guide
End It Movement
Global Slavery Index

2) BUY

Once you're educated about the basics of trafficking, start learning about the goods and industries that are most affected. For instance, "68% of raw materials, such as cotton, cocoa and coffee, contain forced or child labor (U.S. DOL). U.S. brands including Forever 21, Gap Inc., PepsiCo, Nestle, Hershey’s, Nintendo, and Disney source some raw materials from factories and farms that employ slave labor."1 What we purchase, matters. Shop ethically as much as possible. And I realize you might not be able to afford certain things, but you CAN tell corporations you don't agree with injustice. Buying products made by survivors is a great place to start! Visit the Holistic Consumerism page for more information.

Resources: 

Slavery Footprint
Made in a Free World
Free2Work

3) COMBAT

Whether you're using your talents and abilities to directly benefit an organization or you donate to one you believe in, it's important to support those who are combatting this issue everyday. Also, take out your phone and put in the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (1-888-373-7888). Use this to report a suspicious situation, share it with your friends, or give it to someone who you believe is at-risk or currently being trafficked. 

Organizations to consider supporting: 

Not For Sale
Nomi Network
As Our Own
Restore NYC
International Justice Mission
Polaris Project

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(1) Info provided by Nomi Network