A couple of months ago our life group did Francis Chan’s study, “Crazy Love”. This is the second time I’ve done this study, and this time around it’s laying some big things on my heart. For the first time in my life I feel burdened by the extreme needs of others. I have been beyond blessed in my life, never having to worry about where my next meal is coming from or what clothes I’m going to wear and I have been pretty sheltered from really seeing the large amounts of extreme poverty in our world. Through reading this book and watching the documentary “In Light of Eternity” (if you haven’t watched it..go watch it now) my heart has been broken and my eyes have been opened to the needs of others. I find myself constantly asking the question, is the life I’m living really the way God wants me to live? The short answer is no, and although I feel like I have a long way to go in order to make my life much less “me” focused and much more God focuses, I’m trying hard to find areas that I can change right now that will help someone. The truth is, I myself can’t even put a dent in the huge issues that people in our world are facing. I almost don’t know where to start.
In the documentary, Francis talks about going to Africa and seeing first hand the amount of poverty, extreme starvation, and sex trafficking taking place. He said in that moment he wanted to do everything he could to help, but realized that if he stayed there he wouldn’t have been much help. He decided to come back to the U.S. and write a book (a marriage book called “You and Me Forever”) and give all of the proceeds to the ministries he visited in Africa. My main struggle when I look at the world and all of the hurt, poverty, and struggle going on, I’m just overwhelmed. Of course I want to go to Cambodia and help rescue thousands of poor, innocent girls from human sex trafficking. Of course I want to go to Tanzania and help feed the sweet children that are so malnourished, they are dying from starvation. I want to go to Syria and bring home all of the people that have been affected by the awful war going on in that country. I want to volunteer my time at the local women’s shelter and help the moms and children that have been victims of abuse. I want to adopt 10 kids. I want to do it all. Most of all, I want those people to know the love of Jesus. That no matter how awful the circumstances, he loves them and cares for them.
But the truth is, I’m a 30 year old momma to three babies. I do plan to go on a mission trip to one of the places I’ve mentioned in the next few years, but the reality of it is that in this season of life, it’s not realistic for me to do all of the things I want to do. So, like Francis said, I will be most beneficial here. I have a busy photography business that I can use to help others.
That’s where these mini-sessions come in. 🙂 I plan to do these this summer, and then possibly a couple more times throughout the year. All of the money from the sessions will go to a ministry I’ve been learning a lot about, Rapha House. You can learn more about them on their website, and I’d also strongly encourage you to watch the Netflix documentary “Finding Home” which is a documentary about Rapha House and stories of the girls they are helping start new lives. The mission statement on their website is:
“OUR MISSION IS TO END THE TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN THROUGH AFTERCARE FOR SURVIVORS, PREVENTION FOR THE VULNERABLE, AND AWARENESS FOR ALL.”
This organization provides “safe homes” for girls that have been rescued from human trafficking. They offer love, counseling, and healing for these girls. They are a Christian organization that offer the love of Jesus, but don’t require the girls they help to embrace their faith. They help these girls heal and teach them vocational skills that help them return to life outside of a safe house. Rapha House does SO much more, so please visit their website to learn more about them. I researched a lot of organizations (both domestic and international), but just kept coming back to this one. In the documentary, they talk about some girls as young as FOUR years old being sold into sex slavery. FOUR. I have an almost four year old daughter, and my heart was so broken for these girls. I want to help these girls because I can never imagine my own daughters going through this. These girls are someones daughters and as a mom, their stories are heartbreaking.
Rapha House has safe houses in Cambodia, Thailand, and Haiti and you are able to sponsor a safe house for just $40/month. FORTY DOLLARS a month. It kind of makes me sick to think about the things I spend $40 a day on when these girls need it so much more. This is what part of the mini-session money will go towards. The other part will go towards sponsoring an at-risk child. Rapha House has a “kids club” that reaches out to impoverished communities where children are likely to be victimized. For $30/month ($360/year) you can help meet the child’s needs. With the money from this session (along with sponsoring a child for our family), I’ll be able to help one of these sweet children.
I know that was a wordy post, but I wanted you all to know where this money is going and share a little bit of what’s been on my heart. I know that this is something SO small when looking at the larger picture, but if I can help even one girl be rescued from this evil, that’s all that matters. If you made it through that wordy post, here are the details about the mini-sessions!
Wednesday, June 7th
6:30, 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 PM
TBD (most likely Plainfield)
20 minute session + images
To book, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your preferred two times. The lighting will be best during the 8 and 8:30 sessions so if you have older kids or can push bedtime, book those! 🙂 The full amount is due via PayPal within 48 hours to hold your spot. Rain make-up date will be the following day, June 8th. Please only book if BOTH dates work because I will not be doing these mini-sessions again for a couple of months.