Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thoughts from the Ride...

Last weekend I had this thought. It was during the Ride-4-Love, an annual fundraiser put on by our fabulous 518 Network of churches, taskforces and student groups to raise funds and awareness for us. First, let me just say that upstate NY is a beautiful spot in this country. And last weekend it was spectacular. The air was crisp and cold. There were patches of leaves turning to bright fall colors but for the most part the land was still green from all the rain.

Over 100 riders gathered together, all raising funds and riding a few miles (either 10, 25, 50 or for the brave 75) to be active in fighting towards the end of child sex slavery and exploitation.

My fam and I drove up to put our efforts in the ride (hubby and I pictured above). We signed up to ride 25 miles which was a feat for us with our 22 month old hooked onto the back of my husband’s single speed bike. Around mile five I looked up to see a beautiful scene. It was still early in the course so the riders were pretty thick in number, working their way along together. I was riding along and a little kid passed me, and next his mother, and father…then a group of college students, a few riding a tandem bike…men, women, kids…young, old…all riding together. Each as they passed had their bikes and helmets and a bib with numbers. This was different from the tour de France in many obvious ways but the most striking was in the number…

We all wore one number… her number.


Each of us, not working for ourselves but for someone else… It was this beautiful picture as each rode by. I sat back on my bike and just took the moment in. We weren’t racing the clock. We weren’t keeping track of individual numbers but for a moment putting all that down to wear 146. Thoughts like, “I wonder if that boy riding knows that what he is doing now might actually enable another child in this world to ride free someday?” Or “does that mother know that right now she is looking after more than just her own children by giving of her time, resources and prayers?” As I peddled along I thought about those racing and advocating for freedom, and the children we serve. I wished for a moment we could all ride together…and prayed for a world where such could happen. A world where justice, grace and love ruled. A world that was free, truly free…

If you’ve ever heard Rob speak about what he thinks it will take to end this you might remember he says one of the key components we need is personal engagement. We need to allow the issue to personally affect us so that we will respond. We are often creatures that don’t engage until we see it, until it personally affects or offends us. He often says, “we usually don’t care too much about cancer, for example, until our son gets leukemia or our wife gets breast cancer and then we are off running marathons, raising money for the cancer society.” Last weekend I saw the opposite of that taking place. There were 100 people allowing an issue to affect them as they rode that morning. And there were hundreds more who sponsored the ride and allowed the issue to affect their pocketbooks. People coming together to raise their voices as if to say, “I want to let this affect me. I’m not ok if it doesn’t affect me. I am actively creating a world, fighting for a world, where we all are free.” We all rode that morning remembering and honoring a girl we’ll never meet, or even know her name… and yet somehow we all were choosing to personally engage.

I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to the 518 Network that have worked so hard over the years. Thank you to all our campus chapters, to our taskforces, to our supporting churches and friends. Thank you to Bethany, Matt, Karen, Marie, Shellie, Casey, Zach, Bert, Joel, Ed, Kristi…to all those who are leading the way, choosing to engage, the list could go on and on. Day in and day out, you work with us, think of us. Work for children, think and pray for children. That moment on my bike Saturday I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving and asked that this kind of Love will lead the way to a world where all are free!

So thank you, and lets keep trekking!

PS For those that were interested, Andrew, our events coordinator, is pictured above during his ride-4-love. You’ll be glad to know HE FINISHED the 75 mile ride!!! He was amazing and proudly wore her number the entire way…reaching a different level of being personally affected and engaged.


TaraB said...

I've been following your blog for some time now. Every time I read it I'm inspired. I believe that the key to a full life is living a life outside of yourself, a life centered around the service of others. You guys are doing it. You're living it. May your lives be forever full.

John said...

Hi, I ran a post today that featured two of your videos on my blog here:


One question that came up about your introductory video. Why wasn't 146 bought out of the sex trade?

Thanks, John

Marilyn said...

Thanks for asking, John.
Such a good (and complex) question.

Love146 does not purchase children as a means of rescue from enslavement. Though this may seem like an appropriate response it is in fact contributing to the problem. The purchase of a child financially supports the very systems and structures of abuse that we are fighting. Financially supporting this system contributes to the circle of abuse by allowing the brothel owner, mamasan, or trafficker to simply purchase another child. In some cases, it actually increases the number of children trafficked. We support and endorse the work of rescue agencies and law enforcement that not only remove children form brothels but also shut down brothels, convict, and sentence the exploiters.

While this answer is hard, it's something we take very seriously.
Thanks for bring it into the discussion.


John said...

I appreciate your directness in your answer. I will relay it , thank you!

The two videos I posted moved quite a few people today as well. Thank you for what you are doing. Blessings, John