Shared Space: The Sold Project

solddesktop800x600I’m starting something new, Shared Space.  One day a week I am going to give my blog space to share about a person, cause, book or project. I am so excited to introduce you to friends I love, issues I care about, ideas with which I resonate, and projects that I believe in.

Rachel and I sat down for a glass of wine and started swapping stories. She and I had met at an event earlier that year and had wanted to connect since. As she shared her story and the story of her work with a small group of us I was immediately drawn to her heart for others and passion for justice.  She and a friend found and run an NGO called The Sold Project, based in Thailand. Their work is astounding.

Below is a bit of their story in their own words:

How it all Began

In the summer of 2007, a group of 20-somethings journeyed through Thailand with a common mission: to expose the plight of children trapped by prostitution. Previous research brought forth a host of statistics and facts, which demanded further investigation; they needed faces, names, stories, and most of all… answers.

In February 2008 The SOLD Project Rough Cut was screened to friends and family and many people began asking what they could do to help. In response to this question we created the non-profit, The SOLD Project, giving every day Americans an effective way to respond to the situation: prevention.

A second trip in June 2008 completed the footage necessary to create the documentary “The SOLD Project: Thailand” a collection of short films that expose the truth behind child prostitution in Thailand and the hope that exists in prevention.

The film was then screened in 25 different cities in America through The SOLD Project Tour, and countless other cities as individuals purchased the film and hosted screenings in their homes, schools and faith communities.

Who We Are

We are people passionate about preventing child prostitution: our goal is that no child ever be exposed to a life of exploitation. The SOLD Project Scholarship Fund was founded in May 2008 when we learned that many children drop out of school due to poverty and end up in situations of exploitation. We began offering educational scholarships to children at risk of exploitation: partnering up a student with a sponsor [you!].

A year later our scholarship program grew into the more holistic, The FREEDOM Project. The FREEDOM Project is made up of 1) Scholarships 2) Mentorship for every child that is sponsored 3) A resource center for the community and 4) Human Trafficking Awareness Programs at the school starting in every 6-grade classroom to teach the children about the realities of human trafficking and prostitution.

The Sold Project’s Mission is to prevent child prostitution through culturally relevant programs for vulnerable children and to share their stories to empower creative, compassionate people to act.

Rachel and I have connected as women who are passionate, women who are creative, women who love the way of Jesus, women who have a desire to see justice and love given to all. Our friendship has grown as we’ve listened, cried, celebrated and experienced life. Take some time to read their story, check out their work and pray for those at risk and those who are now trapped in the horrific underground world of sex slavery.

Also, take some time to pray for Rachel and her work. You can follow her on Twitter at @raegoble Or Take a moment right now to leave a comment of encouragement or prayers for their work! Let’s share some heart space with Rachel and the life changing work of The Sold Project!

Coffee and loving people

fair-trade-certifiedI care about people. I actually really really love them, all of them. This can, at times, get me into trouble, or at least make life a tad inconvenient. Today I have been doing some research on buying fair trade products for an event I’ll be helping with later next month. When fair trade became a word more commonly known, I thought it was a left wing, hippy conspiracy that was just tricking people to spend more for the products they love. I didn’t understand what the driving was behind fair trade. I wasn’t informed and at the time, social justice was not something evangelicals cared about. Social justice was for those who didn’t care about the gospel and only wanted to do good and make life comfortable in the here and now. My assumption was that those who cared about social justice did not care about eternity and did not care about gospel. Boy, was I wrong!

Several years ago I was part of a team of people who were writing curriculum on a Kingdom response to Social Justice issues. I was given a module focusing on the idea of a Kingdom and our buying practices. At first I thought to myself, “why was I asked to help with this? I don’t know anything about why it matters what we buy?” I began my research and the more I studied, the more I understood why this topic ended up with me. My buying practices matter, because I love people. My buying practices matter, because of the gospel.

Working on this particular writing project was a part of my conversion. I grew belief in a new area. I understood a deeper reality of the gospel. The gospel, the whole gospel cares about whole people. The gospel sets people free, in eternity now and in eternity to come.  The gospel binds up the broken hearted. The gospel makes beauty from ashes. The gospel does not wish one well and walk away.  The gospel saves. The gospel loves. Buying fair trade matters because of the gospel. Caring about the fair treatment of people matters because of the gospel. Choosing to steward my money, matters, beyond frugality, because of the gospel.

So, today, as I was researching chocolate, coffee, tea and wine I was finding myself growing impatient with the process and wondered if I could justify spending more for products that I could easily buy for much less. Then, I was reminded of the gospel. I was reminded that as one who stewards that which I’ve been given, by a King who loves people, I can not only justify the extra, but it is just for me to do so.

Sometimes, loving people is costly in unexpected ways.

How have you experienced love at the cost of someone else?

Check out Trade As One and Westrock Coffee for great finds on fair trade products.