September. The first -ber month of the year. It marks the beginning of the Christmas season in the Philippines — a tradition that I really enjoyed while growing up, and now, long for as an adult. It was the month I looked forward to enter each year even more so than December.
I used to anticipate the obvious and lighthearted shift in the atmosphere anywhere I went in my hometown when the first day of September arrives. Everyone appeared buoyant and optimistic about life. Radio stations would air Christmas songs that were loudly played in jeepneys (a public transportation in the Philippines). Homes and, yes, malls were lavishly decorated with Christmas ornaments and trimmings.
And Christmas lights! They were my favorite. Christmas lights in different shapes and form emitting a variety of hues were ubiquitous; the spectacle was a pointillism of colors. At night, I would be sticking my head out of the jeepney window staring at stunning displays of these dancing lights on the road mesmerized by it all. I remember feeling my heart bouncing up and down in bliss as I carefully watched them showing off.
In that period of my life, Christmas lights heralded the beautiful days ahead of me. It filled me with gladness and kept me in high spirits. It was an image of hope and life at its best.
Now, they seem to announce pain, hopelessness, and death.
Christmas lights lost their appeal to me when I began seeing them used in houses here in Krabi as a sign that they have girls for sale. They are notoriously hung on these little houses all over the city all throughout the year. When I see these dancing lights brightly and gracefully moving at night, I see women in very little clothing almost to the point of nudity underneath them. They are either languidly sitting on a sofa or casually standing on the steps of the stair leading to their front door with a cigarette between their fingers.
It is a heartbreaking picture to behold in a lovely city populated with lovely people. This corruption is no doubt slowly ravaging their souls feeding on who they truly are. I am acutely saddened by this.
I will not presume to know what these girls (or boys) are going through. I can only imagine the depth of suffering they must feel; how they must long for a way out.
I remember learning from a missionary, who was directly involved in rescuing girls from this barbaric business, how these girls were waiting for the “farang” (Thai for foreigner) who will rescue them. She said they were literally hoping for one of their customers to be this “farang” who will be their savior, who will love them and take them out of this seemingly unending cycle of abuse and pain.
This foreigner they are waiting for, His name is Jesus. He longs for them too. He alone can truly save them and rescue them.
And we have Him. We have Jesus. We can give Him to them. Jesus yearns for us to offer Him to these girls, to give them the love He gave us, and to show them mercy He has shown us. Jesus yearns for us to be His feet and His hand to these girls in this very dark place.
God is calling us to engage in the war He is waging against this wicked violation of his precious children. This appalling practice of selling girls is rapidly spreading its toxin anywhere in the world especially with the kind of technology we now possess. It is rampantly showing off its repulsive ways which appears to not have the slightest hint of being abolished.
I pray that we don’t ignore the reality of this atrocity playing out in our world today. Pretending that it doesn’t exist will not eradicate it nor will it make it absent from our lives.
It is happening.
And, it is happening right now. It could even be taking place in your own city.
© 2014 Kezia Lewis. All Rights Reserved.