July 16 – Rescue

rescue rise up

The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.” (Psalm 12:5) 

Read: 1 Chronicles 22:1 – 23:32, Romans 3:9-31, Psalm 12:1-8, Proverbs 19:13-14

Relate: Paul and Theophilus. By dropping those two names right up front, I am guessing most people reading this would be thinking I am about to talk about something from the book of Acts. Theophilus was the man for whom Luke wrote the book and Paul is a primary figure for momore than two thirds of it. But no, I am talking about a different Paul and Theo. The story I have to share is far more tragic than anything we would come across in Acts.

The story I have to share begins with a young woman named Okoangbele Quincy. She was a young woman in Nigeria who worked as a caterer. Through her work, she met a man named Paul at an event in Festec, just outside Lagos, Nigeria. The two seemed to hit it off. They exchanged information and for a couple weeks would call and text back and forth. After a while, Paul introduced her to another friend of his named Theophilus. Theo told her that he knew people in the Middle East and could probably get her a catering job there that would pay far more money. She was interested so Paul and Theo had her, with the help of her family, raise the money for her travel documents, passport, etc. and then she was on a plane to start a new adventure.

At the beginning of June, just over two years ago, her plane touched down and Quincy met her contact, a woman she thought was a travel agent. To her shock and horror, she soon found out that this woman had actually purchased her from Paul and Theo (who split the money) for the equivalent of $6,000 US and Okoangbele Quincy was now a slave. This “travel agent” realized her new purchase might be trouble and quickly sold her to another family. That family issued Quincy her slave clothes. For a month she did everything she could to try and escape her imprisonment but her slave clothes immediately identified her to everyone in Kuwait as a slave. Nobody would help her. Most people would not even talk to her. Finally, Quincy and another Nigerian slave convinced an Indian woman to help them hail a taxi that took them to the Nigerian Embassy. Once there, they were able to explain their situation and were able to regain their freedom.

As sad and as horrifying as this story was for me when I read it, the two words that stuck out to me was “slave uniform”. When I think of modern day slavery, I think of something that happens underground. I think of shady deals, sweat shops, and evil thugs who manipulate and intimidate their victims. This all applies, Quincy spent days recovering in a hospital after her ordeal, but this wasn’t happening underground. She had a slave uniform. Everyone knew what it meant. This isn’t the jungles of Africa that nobody can get to. This wasn’t happening behind locked doors away from everybody’s notice. It wasn’t even in ISIS occupied territory. This was happening in a nation that is supposed to be an American Ally. We fought a war to “liberate” Kuwait. The US still has multiple bases there and in neighboring Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Are we blind, stupid, or heartless?

React: Okoangbele Quincy’s story is one among many. There are about 29 million others who have a story just as tragic, just as real. Sometimes, when we hear numbers like that, it doesn’t truly register what we are hearing. The slave trade is a 32 billion dollar industry. About 7 million of the worlds slaves are exclusively bought and sold as sex slaves. More than nine million, almost a third of all slaves are minors and that percentage is growing as more than half of those trafficked into slavery every year are minors. Two years ago the count was 185 thousand right here in Turkey but that doesn’t count the number from the influx of refugees from Syria over the past couple years who have been exploited and entrapped in their flight. All of these numbers are so large that our minds can’t really get behind them. But there is a very real story behind each and every number making up these statistics. We have a Savior who weeps for each one. Do we? What are we doing to be about His business of rising up to rescue them?

Respond: 

Dear God,
Open my eyes and break my heart. All around me there are those who have found themselves in bondage and are desperate to be free. You hear their cries. You long to rise up to rescue them, but it is primarily through us, Your Church, that You work. Let us be about Your business. With our prayers, our words, our time and our actions, let us, let me be about proclaiming Your freedom.
Amen

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35 thoughts on “July 16 – Rescue

  1. Thanks for getting behind such a meaningful subject. Thanks for your compassion. For targeting the fact that it was open knowledge, designation “slave uniform”. And how interesting that anyone who does not know Christ is subject to a slave uniform, but one not so familiar. I will pray (not saying much).

  2. Sadly, there is no reblog widget on your story. Please respond if you can get one on there. I will post it to FB and Twitter accounts of AppliedFaith.Org.

  3. Sorry, I don’t know what widgets are (new to the game). And also not clear what story you refer to? Is it my comment? And thanks for the appreciation. However I suggest you visit my blog. Not to brag, but due to a blessed life of breaking, the writings in my blog are meaningful and breakthrough material (say this because I think all of that stuff is automatically subject to reblog). Hoping you can use some of that material. My wish is to reach others with the material written there. I feel the world needs to be exposed to such. Bless you and sincerely; MAO

  4. This isn’t just a problem over there it is also proliphic in the U.S. Atlanta, Ga., I am sad to say, is #1 sex trafficing in the U.S. Most are minors. We have a very sick world but praise be to God we have a Savior that redeems us.

  5. The story you share is jarring to the very core and breaks my heart. We pray against human trafficking almost weekly as new stories come across our pastoral desks! May God have mercy on us as we seek Him for solution!

  6. What is whispered in darkness we must shout at the rooftops. Indeed all of us have a duty to let the truth come out and stand for it. Thank you for giving us important things we all need to know and do something about.

  7. Reblogged this on offbeat on purpose and commented:
    Truth is we are all slaves, either to sin or to righteousness. If we are Christ’s then we are clothed with Christ, Rom 13:14 & Gal 3:27. That’s an awesome uniform. Christ came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, Luke 4:18. Beejai may have some suggestions for organizations to support in this. I only know of International Justice Mission, IJM.org.

  8. My prayers for healing. We live in a sick world and many are too involved (blinded) in their own lives to see the horror. This is an unbelievable realty that many don’t know exists. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I try to give as much as I can through my church and other local organizations like Threads of Hope, from what I understand there is many times more slavery now than there has ever been on this planet. My daughter sews dresses and they send them out to impoverished girls, some of which freed from slavery. We have a ton of hidden human trafficking here in the U.S. and my city, which is not that big, is one of the top 10 … many airports, the smaller flights can smuggle them in and out easier. It breaks my heart its so horrible. 🙏

  10. The story makes my heart sad. It is true that the world we live in still has slaves. What makes my heart break even more are the children that are sold. But this is a great blog. Thank you for sharing! It is an eye opening story that can make people aware of the situation we have.

  11. Reblogged this on Shiny Thoughts and commented:
    How much do we care? Do we care enough to tut and say how dreadful? Do we care enough to do something? Do we care enough to pray with the risk God will ask us to do something?

  12. Powerful post, BJ. We all have people in bondage and in desperate need of being freed right around us — every one of us, every day — our neighbors, co-workers, strangers, even family members. Can we stand up as Christians and say that we are doing the Lord’s work right where we are, as He has called us to? My heart breaks for the world which is in such a state of bondage to darkness under the power of the prince of the air. We Christians everywhere need to be standing, fully armored, praying without ceasing, proclaiming the Gospel to our nation and the world, hearing the Holy Spirit and doing and speaking whatever He tells us. We all need to wake up and stand — God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power. I thank the Lord for the power of your voice, and am including Turkey more specifically in my prayers.

  13. Am from Ghana and it’s really sad how most people from my country wants to go to Kuwait. From those who are able to escape, they tell their stories of how they are being tortured and sometimes go the whole day working without food and water. Sometimes I get annoyed at them. The question I ask myself is why don’t you use the money you used for your passport, visa and plane ticket to start a small job than go somewhere to be tortured. Despite the stories that people share of how they are being treated, people still go every day. Is really sad.

  14. Wow I am astonished by this! We have supported a large ministry in Nepal that helps rescue some who have been entrapped by human trafficking but I never realized that slavery was so public and legal in Kuwait and even Turkey. What are you suggesting can be done?

    • David Batstone’s book Not For Sale is a great read and has links for a variety of organizations that help and I am pretty sure he has a web site with ideas and more links as well.
      Anything donated to The River Walk will go to local refugee work here in Gaziantep. While not slaves themselves, it will be helping a population at extremely high risk of exploitation.

  15. This is very sad…it breaks my heart even more to think that some of these slaves are even minors. 😦
    My prayer is that more people specially those in “power” would extend more effort and action to stop slavery…

  16. Thanks for posting this enlightening and inspiring entry that sheds light on global phenomenon–bondage by any other name is deplorable still. God desire has always been that people be free.That’s why He sent His son as the liberator from any form of slavery.

    The accompanying song was especially moving. Thanks so much.

  17. “Open my eyes and break my heart.” Well said. God, show us the tragedies we are blind or numb to. Lord, give us Your heart.–E.R.Peters

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