Why do people hide food under their bed?

With great hopes I entered the grocery store, I had my $4 with me! It was going to be a beautiful day.

Yesterday afternoon I had a friend give me $3 towards food, all I could say was “thank you” because it meant I could go and buy some food! To say I was happy would be a definite understatement.

I had also found the little bit of money yesterday, so I was ready to go on a shopping spree, with $4.20 in my pocket.

I walked through Walmart, looking to see what I could buy with my bounty! Hmm…this was going to be tougher than I had planned, because everything was too expensive. Many things looked good, but I either didn’t have the money or I didn’t want a short term solution, I needed food that could last for three or four days in case I don’t receive money again soon.

I wondered how long could I could make the food stretch if I only ate a little bit of what I purchased each day.

I was taken back to another place in my mind.

I was reminded of the experiences we have had in the past, visiting children in orphanages and other vulnerable situations. The children, when they were fed, would often hide food under their clothes or bed if they had one. They would eat a little bit from the food they were given, but like squirrels would stash away the extra.

I didn’t understand what they were doing until someone told me that they wanted to have food for later in case there was no food the next day.

That’s what living in poverty and lacking food can cause people to do. If you don’t know when you can eat food again, you learn to adjust your consumption, simply because you never know when you can eat again.

So today I bought, spaghetti (no sauce), pancake mix and a loaf of French bread from the marked down section because it’s best before date is tomorrow. Total cost $4.19

I ate a small amount of the bread and never opened the spaghetti or pancake mix. I couldn’t because I don’t know what tomorrow brings.

I will continue to pray for my daily bread!

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Desperately searching for something

I dug in the side of my couch and found a dime, yes .10 cents!

I need to find it. The frantic search began. I lifted up cushions, looking in places I haven’t looked in a very long time, maybe never.

Day 3 of my 40 day challenge has begun, and after eating less than a cup of rice for the past two days I am feeling hungry. I would like to buy a little bit of food but after two days no money has come to me, so I need to think of other ways to earn my $1/day.

I am truly thankful for the learning I am already receiving because it has caused me to already think differently. Here are a few of these ways:

  1. I began my day by praying for my daily bread. It takes on a whole new meaning when you can’t spend money you don’t have.
  2. I have begun to think and pray about others, who through no fault of their own are in this same position daily, not being able to buy anything.
  3. I knew I had to somehow find a way to earn some money. What could I do to earn it? How would I be able to even ask people for an opportunity to earn a bit of money. I understand that when people are truly desperate to provide food for themselves or for their family, that they may be forced to do things they normally wouldn’t, even if the consequences are negative.
  4. If I couldn’t see a way to earn money, I needed to search for money. I dug in the side of my couch and found a dime. Yes .10 cents and I rejoiced. Later I found another dime hidden under some furniture. Now I had .20 but what could I buy. Not much, but I became very grateful for this wonderful and unexpected gift. I also found another $1.25 in an old cup holder, what a blessing!

So today I am a blessed man, because I found $1.45. I am going to give 10% of that back to God for today, he heard my prayer and will allow me to have something to eat.

I am so grateful for this experience, and am praying as well for another $2, so I can catch up on two days with nothing coming in financially, but I have gained so much more and that I cannot put a price on.

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What if nobody knows or sees?

Have you ever felt that nobody really sees you and the struggle you are facing? Do you want people to know? Do you want people to see you? How will they know if you don’t share?

Last night I headed to bed early to get a good nights rest, I have a bed to lay on….that’s something I can easily take for granted.

I was wide awake at 3:00 and thoughts began to invade my mind. The thoughts began to race through this simple mind of mine. I will come back to those thoughts…

I was now 27 hours into my 40 days challenge. I can only spend $1 on food per day for the next 40 days, that is if I have that $1 to spend. I can’t spend my own money for this, I am depending on others to help, ultimately I am depending on God.

The hunger pains had started a bit, but more than those pains was the thoughts. What if no one helps? Can you really do this? Have you just made a stupid decision to put yourself in this situation? What if….

And then I was reminded that this exactly why I am doing this 40 days. I was reminded that so many people we serve face these thoughts, or ones like these every night. They are likely woken up in the night with these same hunger pains and thoughts that immobilize them and cause great fear.

I am sure they want to share their real need and do not want to be seen as begging for help. I am sure it is very very hard to ask for help. It takes great strength to ask for help, and it is a humbling experience.

I think they must wonder does anyone notice? Maybe they are hoping for one person to notice and one person to help, because their need is very real and scary and one person, just one could change their situation.

As I sit here writing this post, now 35 hours into this important discovery, I am hoping and praying that one person would help me today, because even that one dollar will make a difference.

I think it will mean that I am noticed!

I think it will mean someone cares!

I pray for His provision.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

I thank Him in advance for His provision.

And….I TRUST GOD

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Three years ago I did this, now in 2019…

A little over three years ago I embarked on a journey to discover what it was like to be to live on less than $2/ day for food. I learned so much and for 49 days I was able to live on less than $2/day, closer to $1.65/ day.

I find myself in a new place in my life, and feeling like a number of things are converging for me to take a new step into discovering how other people may live.

Here is the backdrop:

1. The rising inflation costs in Haiti and so many other nations has meant that families are paying almost double for food, making food insecurity even more real.

2. I have been talking with incredible people that have suffered greatly for their faith and it has caused these people and so many others to lose family, home, the ability to provide for loved ones including food and even death.

3. I have been challenged to set my eyes on heavenly things and not on earthly things and to change my perspective on things. This is going to require a new way to think and act.

So to this end, for the next 40 days beginning today, I will be:

  1. Spending $1/day or less for food
  2. I will not spend money ahead of time to purchase food in advance, I can however choose to not spend my $1 for that particular day and save it to make a bigger purchase in the future for food. So, for instance if I wanted to buy a dozen eggs for $3 I would need to not buy any other food for those three days.
  3. The money I spend cannot come from my personal money, it needs to be something that someone gives to me or hire me for something to do.
  4. Any money that comes to me over and above that $1/day will be used to help others who struggle with food insecurity, being persecuted for their faith or to give to a vision we have to help others.
  5. If I am offered food outside of these boundaries, I will ask that person to give the food to someone else in need or donate the amount of that food to help those listed above.
  6. I will start this process with a bag of rice!

I will also be posting each day my thoughts and what I am learning if you want to follow along.

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Micro finance…helping families, bringing hope

“I am so sad, I cannot provide food for my family.”

“I need to find a way to provide for my family and there are no jobs available.”

These are words that I hear regularly from families we serve globally and even here in our own city. Needs like these are so real and they need a solution.

At times the solution is to provide funding to provide food in a time of crisis, but we need to work towards long term solutions that empower families.

There are a few ways to approach these challenges, one that we have settled on is in providing microfinance short term loans for families. In modern day language this is START UP funding in order to launch businesses for these families.

A few of the key reasons for microfinance are:

  1. Allows people to dream again of a future that is better for them and their family
  2. People can work for their money instead of receiving handouts, thus building self esteem and self worth
  3. Successful businesses can then provide work to other families in the future
  4. Loans are structured so that families can pay back the loans without interest and the loans by nature are small, thus creating minimal risk
  5. When loans are repaid the same money can then be used again to loan to another family.

As an example: a young mom has skill in the area of clothing and sales. She knows where she can buy inventory at a wholesale level. She has a business idea.

She determines, after consulting with others in her new circle of support created by our team, that her start up cost will be $300 to purchase inventory. She can make about 50% mark up on her inventory and can earn about $150-200/month profit. She will repay $30/month for 10 months and at the same time be able to earn about $120-170/month. Before the loan she had no source of income, now she can make decisions about her future and also look to expand her business.

Can you sense the hope?

Would you like to be part of a microfinance loan to a family?

Today we were able to provide two different families in Dominican with microfinance loans and two entrepreneurial partners in Haiti with their first loans.

We will keep you posted on their progress!

Bringing hope to the tired!

Prov 19:17. “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

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Success against human trafficking…is it possible?

“It all started for me when I was 12 years old.” Young lady sharing with us in Dominican Republic

Children being recruited into the hands of human traffickers, it happens every day.

Not just in other countries somewhere far away, if we believe that we are believing a lie.

I think the reason so many steer away from these conversations is that either we don’t know what we can do, we don’t want to see it, or we are afraid to get involved. Maybe it is all three.

But what if we could actually make a difference?

The reality progress is being made.

One of the ways we can make a great impact is by being active in developing community and investing into high risk communities. We must be present, it’s not an option if we want to bring change.

When we intentionally and with consistency make our PRESENCE known, when we are standing with vulnerable families, we disrupt the supply chain, we save kids from a life of abuse and trafficking.

On our recent trip to Dominican we spent time in a small community and did sports with the kids, some girls got nails painted, moms came out and sat with other moms, teens were engaged and taught how to throw a football and we talked. At the end the kids were given ice cream and loved on. They knew we along with our national partners in DR loved them and wanted the best for them.

Some aspects of human trafficking are complex, but some things are so simple. If we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, provide education to those who can’t afford schooling or those who struggle in school, spend time building relationships with others and love people….we will see more and more victories.

Maybe you are reading this and want to get involved in this battle. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Help us feed more children. We can feed a person a meal for just .50 cents a meal. We are just shy of 46,000 meals committed in our goal of 100,000 meals in 2018.
  • Help us provide education to more vulnerable kids through sponsorship, we have 10 kids awaiting sponsorship and we need to keep them out of the hands of traffickers. Cost is just $39/month
  • Join us on a Boaz Global Anti Human Trafficking Impact trip to Dominican Republic in the spring.
  • Join our community action team locally in our city as we impact our city through community development and intentional investment. #boazstopht
  • Help us tutor kids locally that are struggling in school. One student shared this week that the other students in her class will never invite her to do group projects because they think she is stupid, so she sits all alone feeling overwhelmed and alone.

We can see more victories, we need two things: people and financial resources. It is worth it!

You can give here:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/34146/donation

One of our community development days in Dominican

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You don’t want to read this story, it’s sickening

“You can have her for an hour for $125, or $250 for the night.”

In order for human trafficking to thrive it needs three components:

One is the supply of people including adults, youth and children

Two is the demand, the perverted people wanting to purchase/rent the supply

Three are the traffickers themselves, those who recruit and arrange for the transaction to take place. They are the greedy, abhorrent ones selling the supply to those who have the demand.

Yes it all sounds like the exchange of commodities, but make no mistake all those in the supply chain, are people. They are created by God with great value, they are not commodities to be exchanged. Yet those who sell (the traffickers), and those that purchase (the abusers), believe that those being sold are simply a commodity to be bought and sold.

We met with a pastor who poses as a buyer/tourist and meets with traffickers. He arranges for them to show him the “commodities” available in order to assist in setting free those being trafficked.

He shared the following story:

The trafficker and I drove down the street in the tourist areas around 3:00 in the morning. I told the trafficker that I wanted someone really young. Half way down the street he said to stop and honk the horn. I did what he asked and an older lady approached the car. She stared into my eyes for what seemed like forever and then she said, “you want someone really young tonight?” I said “yes”

After about 15 minutes the older lady appeared with an almost naked young girl that looked like she was just pulled out of a shower.

SHE WAS 11.

The elderly lady said, “you can have her for an hour for $125 or the whole night for $250″

Our friend could not and would not purchase this young girl. He was there to document what had happened, all he could say was , ” not tonight, I will come back though.”

Sadly for many young girls, even younger than this, there are buyers who will spend the $250. It is so sick! Makes me want to vomit.

What fuels this kind of person to purchase these children for sex. Make no mistake about this, it is pornography.

Pornography completely devalues people, it makes them nothing more than a means to an end.

The same pastor said this, “if a person consumes pornography, they are also human traffickers, because they are paying money for sex, but just in a different location.”

I will elaborate more on is in my next blog post.

Are you human trafficking?

If you are, reach out and get help!

We have two of these paintings available for purchase, $60 each. Proceeds will help us provide housing for those being rescued from traffickers.

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Human traffickers are better at seeing those without hope

Walking through the community known as Esperanza, which means hope, it was anything but a place of hope. If anything it was a place of despair, but deeply in need of hope.

It is impossible to reach the community by driving in a car. It is accessible on foot or on a motorconcho (dirt bike). Buildings are run down, garbage is everywhere, streams are polluted, and yet in is place people are forced to live their lives. Hopelessly, it seems.

Walking the narrow streets and seeing the beautiful people, we saw the contrast. All that we saw screamed hopeless, but as we talked we saw hope and maybe a future for the people if things are done to restore hope.

Where hopelessness in communities lives, human traffickers thrive.

Where access to basic necessities is deprived, human traffickers offer other options.

Where hopelessness in communities live, we as people of compassion and Gods love must thrive.

Where access to basic necessities is deprived, we are called to feed, clothe, educate and invest.

Where the church and those who are called to love avoid these communities, others will fill this void.

The difference between the church and its people, and the human traffickers is this. We both see the same thing, but they are much better than us “at offering solutions”

Jennifer was a very shy 16-17 year old teenager in Esperanza. Her house was a beaten down, semi collapsing home. She lived with extended family and it was obvious she struggled everyday.

I asked Jennifer about her family and about school. She shared that she loved school and was pretty good at things and needed help with a couple of subjects.

All the while, as we were talking we were being observed. Young men, about 5-7 years older than Jennifer sat around with their gold chains hanging around their necks, playing it cool, but still watching us closely.

Jennifer is with certainty, one of the next potential victims of this horrible industry. She is pretty, vulnerable, lacks basic needs like food and clothing and lives in a community without hope. There is literally nothing in her community to offer her hope.

My question is: Why? Why do we avoid hard places? Where are we?

You see, when we avoid ” hard communities”, globally and in our own cities too, communities where hope is a scarce commodity, human trafficking can easily get a foothold.

I think it is time to get out of our safe places, including our churches, and be involved in people’s lives. We need to build relationships with people, genuinely care and help to bring hope.

It is life or death, it prevents unimaginable atrocities in people lives.

What can we do, you and I, what can we do?

We need to find communities “sin Esperanza”, without hope.

We need to build relationships with people

We need to meet real needs, not just give money.

We can do this. Saving even one life is so worth it!

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“I never want to have a baby girl”

“I was 11 years old when I was forced out of my home by my mother” A woman who is being trafficked

“My mother never wanted me and left. I was a burden to my father and stepmother. I was never loved. I had no one to care for me.” A young mom and recent victim of trafficking

When the core values of a family do not exist in a healthy manner, children become more vulnerable. When a child feels unloved, unwanted and they struggle to know their worth they become more vulnerable.

As we sat in the restaurant interviewing two amazing young ladies, what we saw was a beautiful tragedy. These words don’t really go together, but neither did these two worlds seem to fit together. It was broken and messed up.

Before us sat two beautiful people, whose lives were anything but beautiful. They were abandoned by family and forced to sell their bodies to survive. One mom has two little boys, two babies brought into this world because of forced prostitution.

Let me paint the picture:

A young girl is forced to the streets to sell her body in order to provide food for her and her family. She becomes pregnant and has a baby. This baby was not conceived by an act of love but an act of desperation on her end, and by an act of abuse and dominance on the end of the men who view her as an object of their sexual desires.

As a result of having this baby, the mom has to feed and care for this baby. She can only go back to one source of income. Her body, that is really no longer hers. It belongs to someone else. During this time another baby is conceived, not by love but by desperation and abuse.

Now a second baby exists for this young mom and the need has increased. There is only one way to provide…and the cycle goes on.

She hates her life, she hates everything about it. The men who force her to have sex, the men who completely devalue her and abuse her.

Yet she loves her babies because she does not want to reject her children like she has been rejected.

The only good thing for this 22 year old is that she has not given birth to a baby girl. She would not be able to handle things at all if she had a girl, because “I would never want to see my daughter go through what I have been through and continue to live in”

One of the factors/common denominators we see in human trafficking is this: brokenness in families, caused by a lack of love and the lack of basic necessities which all children need, opens up families to generations of trafficking and abuse.

What can we do?

We must be present in the lives of families experiencing hardship and pain to allow them a safe place to share their needs.

We must build community and trust with families who will experience traumatic things, or where addiction is prevalent. These people need to know they can reach out to non judgemental people who will love and help.

We must show people the love of Christ, through our actions and not just our words. When people see we love them for who they are, that we are not “loving them” for what they can give us, they can begin to understand what love truly is.

Thoughts….

Tomorrow we will look at another common factor

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Human trafficking and the common denominators are…

Who are the people most often targeted and victimized by human traffickers?

Girls, especially those who are living in vulnerable situations.

What makes these girls most vulnerable?

Lack of food, lack of opportunity for education, broken families, lack of healthy community.

Human trafficking is the most disgusting “industry”, one that completely devalues Gods creation. It takes a human being, and makes them into nothing more than a commodity.

Who are the ones purchasing these girls?

What we observed during our one week focus trip in Dominican Republic was this, the industry is fuelled by white, old men from North America and Europe who think they are doing this country a great service by providing money into an economy that is struggling.

They do this by purchasing sex via pimps and hustlers, sex from girls of any age. They simply don’t care how young these precious girls are because they are “helping to provide money to a poor country”.

Over the next few days I am going to be sharing real stories from what we experienced. It will be raw, and real. It will shed light on trafficking happening very close to home also.

These are the same factors and stories that allow trafficking to prevail in our nation and cities.

Pornography, greed, brokenness, hatred, abuse and much more are what will be discussed.

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