Friday, January 18, 2013

27 Million

On January 1-4 I was able to go to the Passion conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  This is a conference for 18-25 year old college students (and their leaders), and this year there were over 60,000 in attendance!  Each day there was worship and teaching from some of the most well-known Christian artists and leaders today, including Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, Louie Giglio, Frances Chan, Beth Moore, and John Piper.  There were also small "family groups" that met twice a day to allow everyone to process that they had been learning, and to read scripture and pray together.  It's amazing that out of a crowd of 60,000 everyone ended up in a small group of approximately six to eight other people, but it happened!  Another main focus of Passion has always been to provide for those around the world who are in need, and for the past two years the students of Passion have been working toward providing freedom.  Freedom for who?  From what?

Freedom for the 27 million people around the world, including the United States, who are slaves.  27 million slaves - that means there are more slaves today than at any other point in human history.   If they stood shoulder to shoulder, the line would reach from Los Angeles to New York City and back again.  These are men, women, and children who are trapped with no way out.  They are working in factories, mills, and quarries.  They are fighting in civil war.  They are used and raped in strip clubs and brothels.  They have no control over what happens to them, no hope, no voice.  They really are slaves.  Slavery still exists.

Even though the horrors of this issue are something that I have been learning more about over the past few years,  it can still seem like just a number.  27 million is a huge number, but still just a number.  What changes that is when you see faces and hear stories.  Last year at Passion, we learned about three people's stories through four video segments.  The link to the entire video is below and I strongly encourage you to watch it.  It is long, but you need to see it and I don't think you'll regret it.

It is also important to realized that you and I are a part of the slavery problem.  So many of the products we purchase on a normal basis are made in part, if not fully, by slaves.  There's a website called where you can go and answer a bunch of questions about products you use and purchase, and it will tell you how many slaves you have working for you, to supply you with these things.  I really had no idea what to expect when I did it, and found out that I have 47 slaves working for me.  I'll be honest, I haven't done anything with this information yet, other than just know about it.  But it I do want to find out more specifically what things I purchase are made by slave labor.  I really encourage you to visit the website; it's very eye-opening!

Another thing you can do to help fight this problem us just to continue to become more aware, make others aware, and join in with those already pledging to take a stand.  Passion launched a movement called the End It Movement, a four month initiative to help raise awareness.  You can visit the website to learn more, and if you're a tweeter follow them at @enditmovent!

Below is also a link to a great news story CNN did on the Passion conference and End It Movement.

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