This week the soccer team that is in Thailand trapped in the cave are being rescued as we speak. Eight of the boys so far have been taken out of their dire circumstances. Like the rest of the world I have wept and prayed and asked God plainly for the lives of these boys. We need some hope in the world. Not another tragedy. Their discovery and rescue so far is nothing short of miraculous.
And then there’s this other part of me…
You see, I’ve been to the Chiang Rai province where they are at. There is another group of people that are trapped in a cave. They are girls. And while some people are doing something about them, there is not neary enough in order for even a few to be recovered. Their rescue is much more complex. Much more in need of the miraculous. And not quite as sexy as this rescue.
Yes, sexy is an appropriate word. As these are the girls which are sourced for human trafficking. The small villages in this region in and around Thailand and Laos are where young girls are abducted. Because there is little income in the villages, they are told by an astute businessman that their daughters can have a good job in the city. The businessman is convincing. They let their young girls go hoping for a better life for them. Anything for a better life than poverty. It’s an act of love on their part.
But what the girls get is hell.
Time and time again these girls continue to get into the ring of trafficked girls in Bangkok, the prostitute capital of the world, and they don’t return. They don’t live long enough into adulthood typically to return later in life either.
And in Chiang Rai province, the same place where these boys are being rescued, is a Christian ministry that helps young girls learn how to sew. By learning a valuable trade their righteous work becomes profitable. When they have a skill that is profitable, the parents are less likely to let them leave for some “unknown job” out there in hope of a better life. Parents are free to visit. The children are free to return home when needed.
It’s a drop in the bucket. But every life saved is generations of salvation. They and their progeny are kept safe.
What is it in us that weeps and prays and pleads with God for a group of boys to be rescued, but rarely does the same for the young girls of this world? I’m including myself in this question.
“Human Trafficking” seems to be just one more desperately needed cause in the flood of causes worth praying for in the world. There is a genocide of Christians right now in Nigeria, child soldiers in the Congo, lost Syrian refugees wandering the world, issues of poverty in our nation, and a friend and neighbor dying of cancer. Bleeding humanity is everywhere we look. It’s overwhelming to the point that it numbs us.
I don’t want to be numb. But I can’t carry it all. None of us were ever meant to.
Perhaps what draws us to the Thailand boys is that there is the offering of a story of trial, drama, mystery and hope. International hope. A hope that has a beginning point and most importantly, it’s a story with an ending point (which we hope is good). It’s something we all desperately need right now. It’s much bigger than the small number of boys.
We all need a good story.
We all need hope.
We all need something difficult that ends well.
So with that I find the grace to pray for them. Weep for them. Hope for them.
While at the same time remembering there’s a different story running alongside them. A story of young boys and girls that are wishing desperately that they were the ones trapped in the cave so the world would work together to rescue them.
Perhaps because it seems like it is a problem that doesn’t have an ending point that numbs our desires to pray for the trafficked ones.
And while I can’t bear the burdens of the whole world, would you take 20 seconds and pray with me for the girls that are trapped around the world as well?