Traveling with the Navy, you see a lot of things you don’t want to, if you open your eyes. Spending so much time in places like Thailand and the Phillipines, you see what poor looks like. That is, if you open your eyes and make it past the first bar near the pier.
One of the times I was in Thailand, a woman tried to sell me a baby. Now, I don’t know if it was her baby, an orphan, or a kid she stole…but she tried to sell her to me…for the equivalent of about $30. And all I could think is yes, absolutely. Let me take this child and raise her and give her a better life…and if I take her, I know she isn’t going to end up in a pedophiles home, or a sex trafficking ring, or any abusive home…of course…I also knew it was illegal and immoral to buy children, and it would be awful hard to raise a baby while hiding her on an aircraft carrier…but that moment stuck with me, and I believe it always will.
When you walk off the ship in Manila, there are fathers and brothers lining the bridge that gets you from the pier to the Mall of Asia…and they have pictures of their daughters and sisters…some are trying to sell them to you, some are trying to pimp them to you, some are just begging you to marry them and take them to America and give them a better life.
It is a whole different world to live in…it’s like walking through DTLA or Chicago or Hartford or any major city…only it is an overwhelming amount of children, and there are no shelters or food banks or hope.
While driving home from work during the last week of January, I got caught in the disaster of the construction in the 91…or as we like to call it, Coronageddon. And I got forced to get off the freeway in a totally unfamiliar area. While navigating my way back to familiar surface streets, I drove by a church. Now, I’ve probably driven by this church a dozen times, and never seen it. But that night, I was paying such close attention to my surroundings because I didn’t quite know where I was, that I saw it. And what made me smile was that it had the same name as my church from Japan. Now, I knew they couldn’t possibly be related, but it brought back so many good memories, and Chris and I had been searching for a church…that I had to check it out.
So, we go…and the few things that bothered me a little and would normally make me walk away, well, they were outweighed by this overwhelming sense that i need to be there. And I can’t explain it…so we keep going each week…and it finally becomes clear. The pastor, his wife, and a few people from the church do fairly regular mission trips to China and different parts of Africa. And they work with orphans. Kids who have no hope…and they bring them stuff to help brighten their lives…soccer balls, blankets, jackets, and the word of hope and love. Hey, now, I can’t afford to go to China and leave my job that long, but I do have the time and ability to make things for these kids. It’s a small way I can help…a small thing I can do to try and make even the slightest difference in the world.
So, this month has been dedicated to making hats and blankets, and hopefully some stuffed animals, for these kids. And I wish I could be there, but maybe, if I can help enough now, one day I will be able to be there. The trip leaves the first week of April, so lots of time is being dedicated to this project. And I couldn’t be happier about it.