Through the years, I've shared dozens of books with you. Books on parenting and vaccines and radical living and revolution. Clearly, my shelf overflows with reading of the non-fiction variety.
Would you believe that the book that first captivated my heart for social justice is a work of fiction? And not only is it fiction, it's historical fiction? And that it's actually historical Christian fiction?
I know there are many fans of the historical Christian fiction genre. It's a lovely niche filled with talented writers telling story after story for grateful fans. I am just not, however, one of those fans. The only historical Christian fiction book I've ever picked up to read is the one that happened to change my heart in a drastic way.
In Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers crafts the biblical story of Hosea into a tale so captivating, I devoured it in a matter of days. My sister Emily had read it in a small group setting and insisted for months that I read it. I finally did when Dacey was about six months old, and I was both devastated and amazed by the story of Angel, sold into prostitution as a little girl and seemingly destined to live out life trapped in use and abuse. The story of the lengths God goes to to rescue her through Michael Hosea creates a gorgeous allegory of God's love and redemption for all of mankind.
As a new mama to a little girl, I could barely make it through sections of the book that described what childhood was like for Angel. My heart ached, my stomach lurched, I felt sick thinking about it. In my very visceral reaction to the reality of child slavery and prostitution, God birthed in me a desire to do something.
Enter Love146, an organization with the vision to "end child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less."
Formed in 2002 and named in honor of a victim of the sex trade who still had fight in her eyes, Love146 is on the front lines of the battle to end the horrors of child trafficking while restoring the survivors with love.
If you haven't already, I would like to invite you to learn more about the work Love146 is doing
- to educate about the issue of slavery, and what these children are subjected to and endure
- to work towards prevention in the United States and around the world (because, oh yeah, it's happening here, too)
- to provide aftercare for the victims rescued out of exploitation
So, what can we do? If you're like me, then you might like to pack up and go to work for Love146. But that's not possible for me or for most of us, is it?
But we can support the work of Love146 with the resources entrusted to us. And we can use a cultural holiday to inundate Love146 with our support.
I have to be honest, I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. It has always struck me as a little bit made-up and commercial. But. I'm not above using it to further a cause that can make an impact on the lives of children around the world!
Would you like to join me in redeeming Valentine's Day to make it something bigger and more lasting than cartoon characters, chocolate, and Red Dye 40?
I put out the call and have been overwhelmed with response from people volunteering design skills. These talented people are hard at work right now creating sheets of Valentine cards that you will be able to download and print FOR FREE. And y'all, I've seen some sneak peeks, and they are darling. Way WAY cuter than what you are going to find at the big box! And they will contain a small plug about Love146 (worded appropriately for small children and families, of course) so that we can continue to spread the message of the critical work they are doing.
What we will ask is that if you use our FREE downloadable Valentine's for your child's class party (or whatever V-Day event that you might need Valentine cards for) that you would send the money you would normally spend on Valentine paraphernalia to Love146.
So you get fun and unique Valentine's cards, Love146 receives support, and your community gets the message that administering life-changing love is not confined to one red letter day in February. Yay!
Finally, if you don't have children or if your children are too young or have grown out of giving Valentine's or this project doesn't fit your Valentine needs, I want to point you to Love146's Broken Heart Club where you can order a pack of more sophisticated, grown-up type Valentine postcards that will also benefit the work of Love146.
So, are you picking up what I'm laying down?
Who is with me? I would love to hear your feedback and/or questions in the comments. And I don't normally ask for this kind of support, but for the sake of Love146, I would be thrilled if you would pass this project on to your friends and family. The readers of SortaCrunchy have done some incredible things in the past. I would LOVE to see you Give BIG LOVE to Love146 this year!
(photo by seyed mostaf zamani)