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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IJM working with Congress to protect children world-wide


Dear Friends,

Knowing that you have supported IJM’s efforts in Congress to strengthen U.S. anti-slavery policies, we thought you would be pleased to learn that IJM’s top legislative priority, the Child Protection Compact Act, was introduced in the Senate last week!  Just before the Senate broke for the Easter recess, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced this legislation which, if passed, would grant new authority and resources to the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP).

As many of you know who have worked so hard promoting this legislation in your own districts and states, the Child Protection Compact Act (HR 2737/S.3184) is aimed at eradicating trafficking in children in select “focus countries” that will receive multi-year assistance to build public justice systems that investigate crimes against children and prosecute perpetrators in numbers sufficient to deter and eventually eliminate the crime.  The legislation also authorizes increased assistance for victim care.  An important feature of the new legislation is the requirement that “focus countries” and the United States agree on a “Child Protection Compact” that sets measurable objectives for rescuing and caring for exploited children and prosecuting perpetrators. 

We at IJM are grateful to Senators Boxer, Brownback and Cardin for their leadership on this important legislation.  Despite an ambitious Congressional agenda this year, the Senate bill was introduced thanks to them and to the enthusiastic grassroots support from their states, including many of IJM’s constituents.  Local leaders such as Jocelyn White and Mark Fisher in California volunteered tirelessly to make sure Senator Boxer knew it was an issue that her constituents cared about and helped make it a priority for her.  All of your efforts to get your Representatives on board (to date nearly 100 House members are co-sponsors!) helped to build support in Congress and bring about the Senate’s introduction of the bill. Every call, letter, or meeting with your local Representative makes a difference and helps us further leverage this legislation.  Now we need to work for passage in both the House and Senate!

We’ll be contacting those of you in CA, KS, and MD to ask for your help with thanking your Senators for their leadership on this issue.

Please see below for a copy of the press release from Senator Boxer’s office. 

Many, many thanks for all your help bringing us one step closer to the finish line!

Gratefully,
Holly, Eileen, Erica, and Annick
IJM’s Government Relations team

Press Release from IJM


OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 26, 2010 

BOXER, BROWNBACK AND CARDIN INTRODUCE BILL TO PREVENT CHILD TRAFFICKING
Legislation Would Aid State Department in Combating Exploitation of Children

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) yesterday introduced the Child Protection Compact Act, a bipartisan bill that would give the State Department additional tools to combat child trafficking, exploitation and enslavement.  

Senator Boxer said, “Trafficking, exploitation and enslavement of children are problems that demand urgent and sustained leadership.  It is my hope and expectation that the Senate can act quickly on the Child Protection Compact Act and provide resources in an innovative way to protect the lives of vulnerable children around the world.”  Senator Boxer chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues.
Senator Brownback said, “Modern-day slavery, in all its forms, is an atrocity that must be stopped.  I am a proud co-sponsor of the Child Protection Compact Act, which will provide assistance to countries to rescue children from exploitation and trafficking.  We must do all we can to help the millions of exploited children around the world who cannot advocate for themselves.” Brownback is the ranking Republican member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

“Children are most vulnerable to fall prey to human traffickers, which is exactly why this bill is so critical,” said Senator Cardin, chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “To show the seriousness with which we take the issue of child trafficking, we must provide this help to governments who need it and have shown a commitment to protecting children.”

According to the International Labour Organization, 1.8 million children worldwide are exploited for pornography and prostitution, with many more exploited through trafficking and enslavement.  But even when less developed countries wish to combat such practices, their governments often lack the resources, infrastructure and expertise to tackle these problems.  The State Department currently provides grants to non-governmental organizations to combat child trafficking, but that funding is often dispersed widely and stretched thin. 

The Child Protection Compact Act (S. 3184) aims to bring additional financial resources and a more targeted approach to child trafficking by authorizing the Secretary of State to enter into three-year “Child Protection Compacts” with countries that are eager, but currently unable, to combat the high prevalence of tracking within their borders.  No country would be eligible for more than $15 million in assistance over three years, and participants that violate compact requirements will lose funding.

This legislation was developed in collaboration with the non-governmental organizations International Justice Mission and World Vision.

A similar bill, H.R.2737, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) with 95 bipartisan cosponsors.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

noodleboy

I'm trying Tumblr.com as a possible blogging platform instead of blogger.com. Anybody out there use it? What do you think? Here's mine: noodleboy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Start Here Book Summary

I really like this publisher which is why I suggest their books from time to time. So, while I haven't read this one yet, I was intrigued by the summary and so asked for a copy to review. Here's the summary.

At the age of eighteen, Alex and Brett Harris wrote Do Hard Things—and launched a movement that would change a generation. Young people around the world were ready to be inspired, ready to move beyond complacency, ready to rebel against society’s low expectations.

Now the highly anticipated companion book, Start Here, answers the questions Alex and Brett have received from thousands of teens on their worldwide conference tour and popular online community:How do I get started? What hard things does God want me to do? How do I keep from getting discouraged or burned out? What is the best way to inspire others?

Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide for young people who are ready to take the next step and blast past apathy. Let the rebelution continue.

Alex and Brett Harris are the coauthors of the best-selling book Do Hard Things,which they wrote at age eighteen. Today the twins speak regularly to audiences of thousands on The Rebelution Tour, maintain a hugely popular online presence through their blog, TheRebelution.com, and have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers currently attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia.

Note: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Duty or Delight?

"A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own." (Letters of C. S. Lewis/1966, p. 277)


So when you get flowers for your wife, do you do it out of duty or delight?

Be the Hole

Phototropism is when a plant grows toward the light. So if, for example, a plant is put under a box with a hole in it that allows sunlight through, over time, the plant will grow towards the hole the light is shining through.

We can apply this to our daily walk as well. If we see our world as dark (spiritually) and people apart from God as light-deficient, then if I "let my light shine" wherever I go, other people (like the plant in the box) will be drawn to the light I'm shining. We're like the hole, God is the light and the rest of the darkness is like the world we all live in. 

Because we start out separated from God, there are people all around us each day who walk in darkness. That means they are walking in the dark. But when they see Christ-followers being patient with difficult people, quick to forgive, and serving the poor, they see God's light and are drawn to it.

So the question is, "Are you being the hole God's light wants to shine through?"

Mr Potato Head Theology

This is much more succinct than my sermon on this was on Sunday. Perhaps a new staff member is in order!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Bride Collector: Pre-Release Book Review

Dekker takes us into the world of the mentally ill (not just the killer) in The Bride Collector. What I didn't expect was to be moved with empathy over the struggles that some mentally ill patients experience. Empathy as in I can relate personally.

No, I don't see myself as mentally ill. However, if I'm honest, I have some pretty unbalanced ideas at times. I think we all do, if we're honest. I thought it was pretty insightful when the director of CWI pointed out that what many call mental illness they call giftedness. Because in the extremes there are extraordinary abilities (this is where my empathy ended).

Back to the story, though. Ted Dekker weaves another psychological thriller along the lines of Adam and BoneMan's Daughters. In fact, for a while I was getting the stories mixed up and thought it might end predictably. It didn't and I found myself on the edge of my seat as I turned the last pages.

At times I found the story predictable. But as soon as I thought I had the ending figured out, I was surprised with another unexpected twist. The further I read the more surprises I found.

As usual, Dekker creates great characters that you can relate to. (well, maybe not the ALL of them)

While my favorite books by Dekker revolve around the Circle Series & Lost Books, if you like psychological thrillers Ted has done it again!

Note: My book was provided by Ted Dekker.

Monday, March 01, 2010

My Girlfriend Pearl

Set boundaries on smartphone use. When you’re at dinner with your significant other or friends — try to be present, forget about updating your foursquare status with pictures of your veal parmesan. In our Jan/Feb issue of Collide Magazine, Sam Duregger wrote a great article about his time living unplugged.
The other day somebody told me that his wife called his iPhone his girlfriend. He said that she told him he's always looking at it.


Wow. If that isn't a wake-up call, I don't know what is. But then we guys can be pretty clueless. I find myself sometimes picking up my BlackBerry at the dinner table when the conversation wanders from something I'm interested in (as if that were legitimate criteria)...you'd think with my witty and fun wife and four daughters I could restrain myself. Did I tell you I was clueless?


I guess it comes down to being in the moment. Someone said it this way, 


"Wherever you are, be all there." 


It's a bit ironic to be reading the latest tweet or blog about how to better connect with my daughters (I wish I could say that's what I was actually reading) while failing to put into practice those very lessons. 


Yikes! If I'm not careful, my girls will accuse me of having a girlfriend too. Her name? Pearl