This past week I got my residence permit meaning I am legally allowed to live and work in Germany. I would really like to work part-time once we are in Berlin; perhaps I can find a job working with children and/ or teaching English.
I love this photo of Brot – bread! German bread is truly glorious. It tastes as good as it looks. I think Germany has the best bakeries I have ever seen.
We took a drive to a local winery and enjoyed the scenery overlooking several local towns.
We stopped at a local town on the way back home and I found it to be utterly charming.
We are preparing to leave for NJ in three weeks from Tuesday. Before we leave Germany, we will take a six-day trip to the UK – three days at the Isle of Skype and three days in London. Thanks to super cheap flights with Ryan Air and Easy Jet we can fly round trip for 220 euros (about $280) for the both of us. I love being in Europe! We’ll be in NJ from September 14th until October 13th and in addition to seeing family and friends, we’ll travel to New York City, Washington DC, and Matthias will go to New Mexico for a few days to see a friends. We have so many exciting things to look forward to and are very thankful to God for His many blessings.
On a much more serious note, I have done a lot of research during this past week on sex trafficking worldwide. Worldwide over 2 million children are being exploited in the sex trade. I was not aware that it is a growing problem even in the United States. Reading about this evil was so hideous and abominable and yet I feel a deep need to learn more so that I can pray and support groups that fight against this. Among other sick things, I read that girls as young as four are used as sex slaves in some parts of the word. The situation is also dire in the Asian region, in countries such as: Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Some of the most interesting and beneficial websites I found were the following:
1) International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.
2) Sex and Money (http://www.sexandmoneyfilm.com) a feature length film that documents a group of students as they travel in an RV across the United States, seeking to understand how the sexual exploitation of children has become the nation’s fastest growing form of organized crime.The film is planned to begin screening nationwide in January 2011. The seven Webisodes just blew my mind. Watch at least one!
3) A friend recommended Love 146 (http://love146.org/) – It is full of information about sex trafficking including stories and videos about victims and how they are rebuilding their lives. The website gives good summary of what keeps this industry going (money, of course): The “demand” of the multi-billion dollar global sex industry puts children throughout the world at-risk of becoming the “supply.” Criminal gangs, pimps and pornographers seek to profit from this demand by enslaving and abusing children, preying on those made most vulnerable by poverty, lack of education, minority status, gender bias and homelessness. Often captors will threaten, beat and starve new recruits to condition them for the fate that awaits: sex with multiple customers every day. Eventually this abuse “breaks” the children. They learn to force a smile for the pedophiles, sex tourists and others that frequent their establishments.
Anyway, if you have the time, please check out these websites. I think every American and especially those who call themselves followers of Jesus ought to be knowledgeable about this issue and give financially, even if it’s a little bit, to help put a stop this atrocious crime against helpless children. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42) If you were one of these little victims of sex slavery wouldn’t you want someone to care enough about you to help set you free?