#goals Speak Life Over Me; Revival

Even if my 2015 and all the years before were terrible and full of mistakes, I am still enough. I am still loved. I am still precious. I need to do away with the lies that tell me otherwise. I need to let go of fears that are holding me back. Funnily enough these are some of my ‘resolutions’ or #goals for 2016.

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 Old, Alone, Fat, Ugly, Loser, Failure, Hopeless, Under-achiever, Broke, Un-Sexy, Talentless

Not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not Christian enough, not fit enough, not impacting enough, not whole enough, not worth enough.  Not enough.  Not enough.  Not enough

 

The world is quick to bombard us with messages that we need to ‘do better’ ‘look better’ and ‘be better’.

#squadgoals #lifegoals #relationshipgoals #eyebrowgoals #baegoals #hairgoals #goals #goals #goals

 

Each and every January gyms, dating websites, slimming worlds and travel agents, beauticians, clothes shops, language DVDs, and book sellers all cash in on this idea that we need to improve, to do better and to be better, each new year.

This notion in itself is not terrible and one I strive for when making my ‘resolutions’ each year.  I like the challenge and accountability of having things to strive for.  There’s something really great about wanting to better ourselves and push ourselves, but I just think that it shouldn’t be at the cost of dismissing all we have done before, or trashing ourselves for what we have not (or worse cannot) be or achieve.

I can never be someone I am not.  There are some things I am not capable of or called to do.  And that’s ok!

 

Even if my 2015 and all the years before were terrible and full of mistakes, I am still enough.  I am still loved.  I am still precious.  I need to do away with the lies that tell me otherwise.  I need to let go of fears that are holding me back.  Funnily enough these are some of my ‘resolutions’ or #goals for 2016.

 

I have this amazing 2016 planner by Horacio Printing and it begins with a ‘Bucket List’ (Dream, Listen, Plan, Pray).  Mine looks something like this:

  • REVIVAL; Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, Financial. Healthy and debt free. 

Whilst the last couple of years I believe God has spoken to me about Hope and Fortitude (overcoming) this year I really believe He is speaking life over me- Revival.  And I need to speak life over myself, not letting the ‘not good enough’ in. 

  • Rely more on Him, less on me. (Perhaps you can relate?  Can I get an Amen!)
  • Seeing the gifts in everything.
  • Develop my creativity and broaden my reading and mind.
  • Step further into my calling.
  • Travel
  • Invest in relationships!
  • Ethical purchasing.
  • Pray for world issues.
  • Love more freely. Forgive more often.
  • Seek freedom from the past.
  • Commit to a local Church
  • Blog and share my voice.
  • Journal and pray.

 

This amazing planner goes further than just a bucket list however, in setting goals, but also big dreams and refocusing for 2016.  Not just setting resolutions, but asking what are my passions and focuses, and what distractions are getting in the way?  This has been a game changer for me.

2015-12-16 23.06.33-1

 

It asks what do I need to let go of, who do I need to forgive and what fears are holding me back, at the start of each season.

What would you answer?  I found it liberating.

 

Rather than just a bucket list, goals, or resolutions on a tick list; what matters to you?  What do you want to see God change in your life?  What are you making more time for and what can you leave behind?  What word are you speaking over your life? Are you putting on pressure to live up to standards, or are you stepping into amazing plans and purposes?

 

I read a blog at the New Year from one of my favourite authors and activists Jamie Tworkowski who founded TWLOHA.  It is amazing and you should read it all but here’s a snippet (emphasis in bold mine)…

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people. Weddings and children and all your different dreams.
Love.
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?

Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.

 

 

Isn’t that beautiful?!  It had a # on Twitter #welcometomidnight and people shared what they were leaving behind in 2015 and hoped to find in 2016.

 

Reading the # made me weep as it was so uplifting.  ‘Midnight and we’re new’…

 

I want to leave behind fear, guilt and doubt.  I want to fight for justice and ‘move for the things that matter’.  That’s what it’s all about.

 

Now 2015 was filled with some incredible times, precious moments with family and friends, trips, amazing events, great books, milestones at work, crafts, fun.  But as with every year there was some heartbreak, some tough times, some lessons learnt, some days not to be repeated and some struggles to overcome.  But I want to leave some of those things in 2015, leave behind the lie I am not enough and let God speak life over me; revival.

#justicegoals #lovegoals #givinggoals #gratitudegoals #mercygoals #revivalgoals #Godgoals

Stop the Traffik ‘Gift Box’ Campaign…

From the 4th until the 7th August, Sabine and I had the absolute pleasure of volunteering for the ‘Gift Box’ Campaign.  As you will hopefully have read in my last 2 posts, we had received training for this and I had been to the launch day, and the excitement had been building up and up.  I whole heartedly believe that if you are passionate about seeing change in an area then it is good to get involved in any way that you can.  I knew that this would be an amazing opportunity to share my passionate with others, and to have a direct effect on the public’s perception and understanding, whilst gaining important research.

“Justice is truth in action.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

This amazing initiative had already been going since the beginning of the Olympics, and even before that we had felt the buzz of anticipation for what was a clever, well planned, and innovative campaign with ‘Stop the Traffik’ and the UN.GIFT – (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking).

Here are their stories…

http://www.ungift.org/knowledgehub/stories/july2012/gift-boxes-aim-to-raise-awareness-during-olympic-games-about-human-trafficking.html

http://stopthetraffik.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/competing-for-your-attention-during-the-olympics/

http://stopthetraffik.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/going-for-gold-in-the-fight-against-trafficking/

31.07.12  GIFT box vital statistics so far:

GIFT box locations: 5
Volunteers: 200
Members of the public who have entered a GIFT box: 2,500
People engaging with GIFT box on Facebook: 16,000
Members of the public who have signed up to support UN GIFT and STOP THE TRAFFIK: 1,750

You can read the lovely Sabine’s account of events here.

On the 1st day, a bright Saturday morning I got up early, ready and excited for a slightly unknown but amazing day ahead.  With my facts researched, the role play’s we had done at the training whirring round my head, my phone full of the info we had been sent, and hashtags for twitter at the ready, I felt prepared but anxious.  As much as our training had been incredible, we didn’t really know what would happen, and a lot would be dependent on locations and the people we met.  However our purpose was clear- Raise awareness about Human Trafficking and help empower people to take action by giving them ways to get involved either through Stop the Traffik or by signing the petition to show their support.  We would also be collecting research information on the types of people we met and positive responses to the campaign.

You can still sign the pledge here.

We headed into London on the train, and ventured towards the location of our box.  As we got closer you could feel the Olympic excitement in the air!

When we approached Southwark Cathedral, right next to Borough Market, our home for the next 4 days, we could see the Gift Box and it all became very real.  We met our team leader for the day (Sabine was also one of the leaders for that day).  We put on our t-shirts that read ‘Things are not always what they seem’ – the message of the box, and the deception of human trafficking.  Our venue, Southwark Cathedral is absolutely beautiful, and from the moment we arrived it was clear that the staff there were so helpful, and that it would be a fantastic location with lots of people passing through.  Our box, was the ‘Forced begging and street crime’ box.  One of the many facets on human trafficking.

There were of course other boxes at other locations such as St Paul’s Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey, which reflected other forms of trafficking like Sexual Exploitation, and  Domestic Servitude.

Human Trafficking is to be deceived or taken against your will, bought or sold and transported into exploitation. 

Our 1st day was long but amazing.  It took a while to get into a rhythm, as there were a few things that you could do throughout the day.  We took it in turns to direct the many passing people to the Gift Box from the top of the stairs, to chat with people outside the box about what the whole campaign is about, to assist them in signing the pledges, and in recording visitors throughout the day.  We had a really wonderful and enthusiastic team who all discovered where they were best places.  My favorite thing to do was talk to people about the campaign as I was so passionate about it, and to tell people about the realities of trafficking.  As I was feeling confident though, I also did a lot of directing people, and encouraged them to go into the box where they could read the real case studies about people brought to England and forced to beg.    Sabine had a brilliant conversation with a staff member from ‘Starwood Hotel’ where the whole staff had just been engaged in training on human trafficking, which is so vital in the hospitality industries.

To be honest, we really did have a varied mix of responses.  Some people were just in a rush to get to an event, or to the market.  Others heard what we were talking about, and weren’t too keen to stop.  Some were very happy to sign the pledge as they care about the issue, but did not want to take any further action.  Some people were clearly just intrigued, whilst others who maybe already had an understanding were outraged at the issue and wanted to get more involved.  It was actually really great to see such a range of responses, as I think it is really reflective of society as a whole.  There are the apathetic, the ignorant, the naive and the action takers.  Each reaction made me even more passionate about fighting this injustice, as no matter where people were on the scale, there is always more that can be done, more we can be educated about, and more ways we can be empowered.  It got me even more fired up to change this horrific injustice.

I think for me, it has always been the apathy that hurts me the most!  I could completely understand those who were in a rush, or those who find it an uncomfortable subject when they are trying to have a fun day out at the Olympics.  But there was one response from a lady that shocked me and the team to the core…

“OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND”

I fekt like screaming at the woman- ‘it is not out of sight!!’  We are stood right here showing you, and telling you.  We have case studies from within your city, your nation, you home.  How can you be so oblivious.  It breaks my heart, because of the nature of human trafficking, it can and does affect anyone.  It could well be that ladies daughter, sister, or friend who is trafficked, and then it would not be out of sight for her.  As I’ve said before, I think there is a notion in our country that  trafficking only affects the poor, the stupid, or people who are ‘asking for it’ rather than anyone, anywhere.  And yet the reality is that we endure the consequences, the products and effects everyday.

Trafficking affects every continent and every country; whether it’s an origin country where people are trafficked from; a transit country where people are trafficked through; or a destination country where people are trafficked to. 

I love this quote from William Wilberforce…

‘You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know’

I guess this is the main reason I love campaigns like this.  Because it means that people will no longer be able to say that they did not know or understand if we tell them the truth and explain it.

As I quoted in my last post, I think this is the key…

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” –Benjamin Franklin

Thankfully of the people we met, even on the 1st day, there are many who are outraged.  We met games-makers, police, staff, games-pastors, and many every day members of public who were happy to engage in conversation with us, and make a stand.

People signing the pledge.
Games Makers getting involved
The Pledge and Info
Our Leaflet

Day 2 the 5th August was equally inspiring for us.  Sabine and I were team leaders for the day, so opened up the box and did the briefings.  Again the team were really excited to have more conversations and engage with people.  We had a tiny bit of rain that day (it is England) but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as we set out again to share the truth about trafficking with people.  It was so encouraging to see people from all nations reading the case studies, signing the pledge and getting involved.  The team were so passionate about the campaign, and it was so inspiring.  We even had conversations throughout the day with a homeless man who had actually been trafficked himself.  We had seen him sleeping on the steps the day before, and were able to offer him contact numbers for people who could help him such as the Salvation Army.  I think again it just re-enforced for us all why we were doing what we were doing- standing outside all day long come rain or shine, because we want to help stop stories like that, and help see change for innocent people.

The rain didn’t even dampen our fight for justice
Lovely English Weather
Our amazing team for day 1 and 2

Day 3 was unfortunately very rainy, but we got a whole new team, and Sabine and I were buzzing from the days before so our spirits were still really high and we were so excited to see further change.

We used the rain on day 3 as an opportunity to talk to the lovely people and staff inside Borough Market, who were lovely.  Sabine had been getting our Coffee for the past couple of days from ‘Flat Cap Coffee’  @FlatCapBorough in the market (a recommendation on day 1 from Laura).  They were really supportive of what we were doing.  They recognised our t-shirts each day, came and had a look at the box, signed the pledge, put some of our leaflets on their stand, and even blessed us with coffee!!  Again it was so encouraging to see people supporting a movement for change in a practical way.  It was brilliant!!

So great to get support from all around!

Another thing we really loved seeing, which we saw a lot on the last couple of days, was the reaction from parents with kids.  Understandably some of them were cautious about the content of what we were talking about.  But the great thing about the ‘Gift Box was that it caught everyone’s attention, especially kids who loved it!!  Many kids walking past would ask their parents, ‘what is that’ and it was fantastic to see parents explain the issue of human trafficking to their children in a sensitive way.  As someone who is passionate about kids ministry, it was really exciting to see even the youngest generation being taught about those who suffer injustice, and to know there are people who are helping.

Inspiring the next generations
Our awesome team day 3 and 4
Amazing volunteers with a heart for justice!

Overall, the whole experience of volunteering with the Gift Box was amazing.  The majority of people we spoke to were supportive and hopefully inspired themselves.  We heard so many stories during our time there and on social media of the other locations having the same experiences, and it was so so exciting to think of the amount of people we must have interacted with and shared the truth with, and hopefully empowered to make a change.  I was so grateful for the staff at Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, the Games makers, Game Pastors, Police, volunteers and so many amazing members of the public who signed the petition!!

As Stop the Traffik tweeted-

#2012 more inspiring conversations around #GIFTbox generating a global, community driven response to #humantrafficking

For stories and more experiences about the Gift Boxes visit the Gift Box website – http://ungiftbox.org/

I can’t wait to hear more of the stories and stats that come back from this campaign across the Olympics and Paralympics.  I hope my  experience has encouraged you to make a stand against trafficking!

And just to show taking a stand can be fun…

‘Gift Box’ Launch Day & Seminars…

On July 7th 2012, I went to the launch day for the ‘Gift Box’ Campaign at the Oasis Centre with ‘Stop the Traffik’.  It was a really exciting day full of special guests and seminars, where again we were equipped to fight against Human Trafficking.  I want to share a few stories, facts and words of encouragement from the day, tell you all about the Gift Box Campaign, and share some more lessons I learnt about being equipped.

Now for me, this has always been an important quote…

 

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” –Benjamin Franklin

 

I realise that although I may not be directly affected by trafficking (although it is on my doorstep, and affects many products I buy, and many of the girls could be my sister, my mother or my friend), I should be as outraged and as passionate for change as those who are.  Especially as those who are suffering this great injustice are often not able to speak out or defend themselves.

 

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.” 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Martin Luther King Jr

 

For these reasons I am always so passionate about getting involved in any campaign, action, petition, prayer or otherwise to fight trafficking.  And as I said in my last post I think it is so important to equip yourself for the fight.

The ‘Gift Box Campign’ was an amazing joint initiative between Stop the Traffik and the UN.GIFT – Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.  Visit the website for the campaign here.

The Campaign had 4 types of art exhibitions based on 4 types of human trafficking- Sexual Exploitation, Forced Labour, Domestic Servitude and Forced Begging.  Each exhibit looked like a giant present, which on the outside had some of the lies or promises made to people to deceive them into being trafficked, and on the inside real case studies of trafficking within the UK.  It was a creative and excellent idea to share the shocking reality about trafficking and ask people to sign a petition to present to the UN which you can do online here.

As I said the launch day was full of amazing guests and speakers.  First the Ambassador of Qatar, who will be hosting the Gift Boxes during the World Cup, and who are doing a national strategic review on trafficking, shared the fact that this is a human cause that effects everyone everywhere.

Steve Chalke – Special Advisor against human trafficking to the UN, and founder of Stop the Traffik shared that our aim should be to make the risks higher and the rewards lower for traffickers so they will have less incentive to make money from trafficking.

Ilias Chatzis from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also spoke about the fact that trafficking is not just on the margins of society or in the darkest places, but that it is everywhere.

We heard from the Mexican President of Special Commissioning against Human Trafficking, who encouraged us that whilst it took Wilberforce 18 years to pass his law, in Mexico it took only 3 to pass a law to stop all chains of exploitation, and they are seeing major breakthrough.

Kevin Hyland Detective Inspector of SCD9 who are setting the example against human trafficking shared that the ‘Gift Boxes’ are symbolic of what we are trying to achieve as a whole- to get the message out to as many people as possible.  If only 1 person is rescued from human trafficking then it will be a success.  It has to be a local, national and global fight!

The Gift Boxes were not in the stadiums, but where all the tourists and visitors would be.  In St Paul’s Cathedral, West Minster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral/ Borough Market, and many other key locations.  20 Million People  will see the St Paul’s Box alone.  The Gift Boxes will also be rolled out over the next 10 years at future global sporting events.

We even had a video message from Major of London Boris Johnson showing his support against trafficking!

 

 

The ‘Gift Box’ being officially unveiled in typical British weather…

The Gift Box proto-type…

To read the Stop the Traffik blog on the day click here.

 

After the launch we had the great pleasure of attending 2 seminars put on by the Stop the Traffik team.  The first was about Influence, by Simon Chorley UK Co-ordinator.

They talked all about the different spheres of influence we can reach from our local schools and government, police forces, and media, to national and international government and agencies.  It’s really important to find out what department trafficking lies within for your local police force.  It’s also great to engage with your neighborhood schemes.  Partnering and making connections within your communities is vital to see change happen.

I also went to the seminar on Media, as I am a firm believer that media, in particular Social Media can be a powerful tool for spreading the message about the reality of human trafficking, and how to fight against it…

 

 

There are so many ways to get informed, then so many ways to get your message out- YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/Google+, Radio, Local/national press, Blogs (WordPress/Tumblr), Stunts/events, Posters/flyers/leaflets, Contacting key local stakeholders i.e. schools/MPs, Local events, Fundraisers etc.

There are some challenges such as apathy or ignorance, but I believe if you are genuine, transparent and persistent with your message, and speak to the right people, that you can make a profound difference even through media.  It is all about dialogue not a monologue however, so don’t just bombard people with a message.  That’s why the Gift Box is such a great campaign as it opens up conversations.  There are lots of resources available on the Stop the Traffik website.

Here is a powerful Youtube video from Stop the Traffik that I love…

 

 

Stop the Traffik also have a chocolate campaign at the moment. Cote d’Ivoire is a country in the west of Africa which produces more than 35% of the world’s cocoa crop.  1.8 million children work in the cocoa sector in Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana.  Hundreds of thousands of these children are trafficked and kept as slaves on cocoa farms.  To sign their petition click here

 

“Make no mistake about it, trafficking is torture.  It must not be allowed to continue…” Emma Thompson

“Criminals take advantage of the fact that human beings are the world’s most precious ‘commodity’.  Let’s finish what Wilberforce stared.  We can stop the traffik.  And we MUST.”  Daniel Beddingfield.

 

Again I will ask- what can you do to get informed, equipped and empowered to stop human trafficking.  Can you fund-raise? Petition? Spread the message? Use social media?  Whatever it is…do it!

I will share more in my next post about how me and the lovely Sabine got on during our 4 days volunteering for the Gift Box Campaign.

And I will leave you with this quote…

 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”. – Edmund Burke

Fighting For Something…

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”

As a Christian, I am so often challenged to stand for something, to fight against an injustice, to help something; someone.  Sometimes it feels like there are so many injustices to fight against I don’t know where to begin.

One thing I love about God is that He is so good at giving me direction and purpose.  I know I can’t do everything, yet He still challenges me to do something.

I love my job with a passion.  I love the privilege of working for Compassion UK, and knowing that I am contributing in some way to help fight against poverty and injustice, one child, one life at a time.  I love the fact I am able to reach into the life of a child and help them in a simple small way.   I love sponsoring Julio in Peru, and Prity in Bangladesh.  I love knowing that I am fighting in a small yet profound way for their precious lives.

Yet there is still so much more to do.  Recently I watched the film 58 which highlights the injustices in life, yet the amazing power of the Church to overcome.  You can follow them on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/live58now or visit their website http://www.live58.co.uk/ to find out more.  It got me thinking about all the issues, and all the ways I could help.

Then in Church last week I heard an amazing talk by Christine Caine (http://twitter.com/#!/ChristineCaine) all about A21 and the work they are doing to fight against human trafficking.  This is something God has really been speaking to me about recently.  So many people think that slavery or the trafficking of people is an archaic practice that was overcome by those such as Martin Luther King Jr.  Yet today there are 27 MILLION modern-day slaves.   That is staggering.  This number floors me because I cannot comprehend how in a world like ours today, that this can be true. And those are just the ones we know about.

Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that 80,000 of these are in Europe!  This is something the Church cannot be silent about.  This is something I cannot be silent about!   I hear statistics like this, teamed with those such as the fact there are 21 Million orphans in Africa alone, and it breaks my heart,  I do not know what to do.

Yet I am also reminded that there are 1 BILLION Christians on the planet, who if mobilised properly would be a powerful force to fight against these injustices.  So, is the Church fighting?   Am I fighting?  Or am I staying silent, like the Church by en large stayed silent during the Holocaust, during wars, during travesties.

In Luke 10v30 the priest and the Levite walked past the hurting man.  Most likely not because they didn’t care, but because they were ‘too busy’ in their own ministries to stop and help.  But like the Good Samaritan, I never want to be too busy.  I want to be moved, interrupted and inconvenienced if it means I make a difference.   Helping that man took the Samaritan’s time, money and resources.  But it was worth it.

Crying and getting emotional about these issues is not Compassion.  Compassion is being moved to do something.   In Luke 30v34 the Samaritan had compassion SO he went to him.  He set him on his own animal.

I watched these videos and I was moved to do something more than just cry over this horrific injustice.  Because this is something that affects everyone; it could be our sisters, our cousins, our daughters, our friends.

 

 

 

 

Like Moses, we can say so often say “But God…” …I am only a woman, I am only young, I am single, it is too hard.  As if God doesn’t know exactly who we are, how old we are, how capable we are.  I know that my greatest gifts God has given me will never be ‘enough’ to do all He has called me to do.  But He is not looking for super heroes.  He is looking for willing hearts who will let God’s supernatural power flow and work through our natural bodies.

So…what can I do?  What can you do to fight this horrific crime that is often happening right under our noses?

On the A21 website they have a brilliant article about 21 Ways To Help    http://www.thea21campaign.org/21-ways-to-help.php

This can be anything from powerful prayer, speaking out, fasting, buying fair trade products to reduce the demand for products made by slaves (http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/), or supporting financially.  Even this Christmas you could help by buying gifts from somewhere like ‘Heaven’s Attic’ ( http://www.heavensattic.co.uk/)  a store that give 12% of sales to anti trafficking movements such as A21 and http://www.stopthetraffik.org/ 

One way to help I am passionate about is sponsoring those at risk.  Because poverty is a major contributor that can lead to human trafficking, sponsoring a child or woman in poverty-stricken areas that are also ranked as high origin countries for trafficking can help make a difference. Check out www.compassionuk.org, to see how you can start sponsoring someone in need today!

Please don’t say, I didn’t know, or I don’t know what to do.  Even if it something small or simple there is so much we can do to stand with these women and children trapped in this terrible injustice.   I aim to challenge myself daily too.  To do something, to stand for something, or if not I might as well fall for anything.     x