It’s easy to find thousands of people that are willing to click a couple of buttons to “show support” for a certain issue. It’s incredibly rare to find someone who is willing to stick around.
This summer, thanks to Love146, I’ve been able to meet many striking individuals who are willing to do that -- to stick around.
Glenn Miles, the head of Asia Preventions, has been living in Cambodia since the late 80′s. He’s committed to the protection of children, and to finding a solution to the problem of child sex trafficking. He doesn’t want to just put a band-aid on the problem, but to dig deeper and work towards true healing. In the brief presentation of his work in Asia, Glenn mentioned that one of his big roles is to ask and answer the difficult questions. Especially in dealing with a dark issue like child sex trafficking, many are too afraid to go beyond the basic questions and none of us are all too eager to expose ourselves to stories of pain, heartbreak, and shocking truths. It’s amazing to meet someone who is willing to struggle with difficult questions, to take the time to actually understand different perspectives, and to stick around long enough to turn that tangled mess into a collaborative solution.
Glenn Miles and his family live in Cambodia but came this summer for a quick vacation to the States. During Glenn’s 50th birthday party, I got to wander around and listen to people talk about what they know and love. One of these conversations was with J, the husband of Stephanie Goins, Love146's VP of Programs. J. works with Native American communities. We got into a conversation about short trips to "help" and what actual benefit or, perhaps more commonly, what harm comes from these trips. When a small team of 10 are just rushed through a community, what change do they actually create? Sure, maybe the trash is cleaned out of the back yard but have the people in that community actually seen a representation of Love?
Often, it seems as though short trips are more beneficial to the travelers than to the people at the “mission site.” I must admit, I have loved my own two short trips to Cambodia. I remember those two summers as times of spiritual growth and of getting a tiny taste of what it’s like to be totally outside my comfort zone. When I think about the way all of the wonderful, adorable children were crying as I left, however, I question the benefits of my trip. I had a great time but what did I put those kids through? Okay, maybe I gave them a week of fun games and singing but I also gave them one more reason to cry, one more reason to say goodbye, and maybe – although I sure hope not – one more reason to think that no one loves them enough to actually stick around.
At Love146, we often talk about Love that protects, defends, restores, and empowers. I'd like to add that Love sticks around.
My time as the communications intern at Love146 has definitely been a process of learning even when I don’t want to go any further. I’m delving deeper and deeper into the current state of child sex trafficking, the broader issues of trafficking and poverty, the creative process, but I know I have so much further to go. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who have made the commitment to go that distance, and are continuously, courageously, sticking around.
Communications Intern, Summer 2011
Elaine & Madeline, two of Love146's amazing interns this summer.