Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, He advocated for those in need at every turn. He did not heal people for the publicity or praise from a crowd, He healed people because He genuinely loved them. As Christians, the gospel should create in us a genuine concern and passion for those in need. After all Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments, didn’t He?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I have found that without doing it on purpose, we tend to hold on so tightly to the first part of what Jesus commands us. We love God with all our hearts yet forget the latter, that we are called to love people with the same passion.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
In the Ukraine and Moldova, there is a strong culture for sex-trafficking. Statistics show that 2 out of 3 girls coming out of state orphanages will be targeted at the young age of just 16. 60% of orphaned girls will get trafficked. 12% will commit suicide before their 18th birthday. Almost 50% will die before their 21st birthday. While kids are in the orphanages, they are provided food, healthcare, housing, and education. However Once they turn 16, the orphans age out of the system and are expected to make it on their own which is when they are at the highest risk for being trafficked. Criminals and traffickers draw them in by offering them the essentials that they are now in desperate need of. They offer them survival but strip them of a chance to live.
Joe Savage, a man with a heart of mercy, is now able to say, “We are helping as many orphans as possible find safe and loving homes. We are going to accomplish this mission as rapidly as possible so that we can give life and hope to the orphans before they fall into the hands of darkness, despair, and death (aka – traffickers, criminals, &suicide).”
Pastor Roger Daniel, a pastor and mentor to my leaders, once said “Your mission is to tend to your greatest dissatisfaction.” I saw this first hand during the first couple of weeks with Abante as my team partnered with the Roads of Hope organization founded by Joe Savage. God laid a burden on one mans heart and out of it came an entire ministry dedicated to rescuing orphans from the Ukraine and Moldova. One man saw a need for children to be brought out of the darkness of unimaginable circumstances and into hope; hope to be loved, hope for a family, and hope for a future. In the short amount of time that I was able to be a part of roads of hope, I saw the heart of this ministry being put into action. The team and I spent time getting to know ten boys and girls ranging from ages 6 to 15, each from a Ukrainian orphanage. Each child had a unique and heartbreaking background, yet because of this ministry, there was a sense a hope that their future would one day be brighter. The goal of Roads of Hope is to bring the child out of darkness, save them from their almost inevitable fate, and place them in a loving adoptive family so that they are given a chance for a future.
The Roads of Hope team has done an incredible job of making an impact on the issue of Sex-Trafficking in The Ukraine and Moldova. Out of the ten kids that I spent time with, all but one had a family lined up willing to adopt them. God called Joe and the rest of the Roads of Hope team to what seems like a hopeless situation and He has used this ministry to make a real difference in the lives of these children. While this particular issue is focused in another part of the world, the reality is that social injustice is occurring in every corner of the globe. It is even in our back yards.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
The challenge is not if God is calling you to minister to people. The challenge is what, where, and to whom is God calling you to minister. In order to discover your mission, you must first answer this question:
What breaks your heart?
For more information on Roads of Hope visit their website at https://roadsofhope.org/