In Thailand, I met with girls who were broken souls, who had been victims of sexual trafficking, forced to work in unimaginable conditions. Girls who had men abuse and mistreat them. In this beautiful country of lush green fields and smiling people, Destiny Rescue has houses with dozens of rescued girls. Each with a story. Each made in the image of God.
One of these girls was Moe*. Moe’s parents abandoned her when she was young. She was raised by her grandparents who were poor, but could not support her education. Moe had to get a job at the age of 15 in a bar, where she became a victim of sex trafficking.
I don’t know the details of Moe’s rescue, but I imagine it was probably risky and dangerous like many of the other rescues. Rescuing girls out of human trafficking is a messy business. There is sexual temptation; there is physical danger—guns are sometimes pointed at rescuers. But there is also a belief among those doing the rescuing that these girls’ lives matter and human trafficking is wrong, and we, as believers need to do something about it.
When our group went to Thailand, we were there to work with girls like Moe. We did this in the simplest of ways. We played games and laughed with them. We told them a Bible story, we played games to teach them English, we learned to make jewelry beside them, we joked and smiled and hoped that somehow their hearts were being healed.
It was a small thing.
I found out from one of the case worker that these “small things” were exactly what they needed: “Time for rest and healing is vital [for the girls], as is learning to do normal ‘kid activities’ like games and activities, painting nails or drawing. It is the simple things that can have the greatest impact.”
Did you hear that? It’s the simple things that can have the greatest impact.
It’s not about changing the world by ourselves, it’s doing one small thing that can have the greatest impact.
When you step out and do one small thing, you open your heart to serving the oppressed, the poor, the sick, the dying, the widows and the orphans. You open your heart to change, to being broken, to becoming more like Jesus.
Serving others isn’t a stagnant experience. Serving others can wreck your heart. It can make you love more, feel more compassion, and give you purpose.
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, prayed that God would break his heart for the things that broke God’s heart. And his prayer was answered: God broke his heart over and over again.
Doing one small thing for someone else means our hearts not only get wrecked and broken, but we also become more like Christ.
We become people who see God’s image in everyone, rather than only those who only look like us. We become people who offer a cup of living water and a helping hand, rather than condemnation, or even worse, nothing. We become people who cry out in prayer to our Father when we see injustice, prejudice and mistreatment of those made in the image of God.
Because we forget that God isn’t just in our churches, but also in the slums, the crack houses, and the red light districts, helping save another soul. When I hear about the men who rescue these girls, going into the red light districts to save one more broken soul from a life of trafficking, it reminds me that God is there, even in the brothels. Because someone’s heart broke for these girls.
Because someone said, “This is wrong and I’m going to do something about it.”
So how do we do something about it?
The first step to serving others isn’t waiting for the right moment. It’s not waiting until you’re retired, or your children are older, or when you have more time.
You might not ever have more time.
Did you hear that?
You might not ever have more time.
The first step to serving is actually saying yes to Christ’s call to serve. For each person, that may be in a different place, but like the caseworker said, It’s the simple things that have the greatest impact. You don’t have to go to Thailand to do one small thing. All you have to do is say yes.
When you say yes, you start to live a good story. When I say good, I don’t mean the goodness that the world gives, but that Christ gives when we do his work, when we follow, no matter the cost.
And it will cost you something.
That is the second thing to know about serving: It will cost you. When Christ went to the cross and died for you and I, he knew it would cost him everything.
Serving will involve giving up something. It will take great courage. It may be inconvenient.
We need to remember that sometimes the things we let hold us back, aren’t really the things that should hold us back. Time, money, childcare are obstacles, but they often have solutions. The real obstacle is often our willingness to prioritize what matters in life.
So here’s a crazy thought: Let’s be the believers who obey when God calls us out of our comfort zone into an unknown place. Let’s be people of God whose hearts break for the things that break his, even when those things are ugly and repulsive and uncomfortable.
Let’s go to the ends of the earth and minister to the broken and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Do one small thing.
I don’t have the answers on how to end human trafficking. All I have is two hands and a heart that wants to serve Christ no matter what.
But I’m learning that’s all you need.
I can do one small thing. But together, we can do bigger things, even when those things break our hearts.
Because it’s through the broken that we learn how to serve.
It’s through serving that we learn that joy is found in the most unexpected places.
It’s through Christ, we learn how to live a good story.
We learn how to do one small thing.
*Names have been changed to protect the rescued girls.