Love Does.

This September, I will be flying to the Philippines for one year to work with International Justice Mission (IJM) as their Communications Intern. This internship is unpaid, so I’m still trying to raise support for living expenses.

If any of you would like to join me in this journey and partner with me financially, you can donate here

IJM is a human rights agency whose mission is to protect people from violent forces of injustice by securing rescue and restoration for victims and ensuring public justice systems work for the poor (for more information, visit IJM’s work in the Philippines involves child sexual exploitation and trafficking. They work hard to defend and protect these children’s human rights and to restore to them their liberty and dignity. 

Sometimes the passions closest to your heart are the hardest to put into words. I feel like they’ll lose their weight once I let them go—like I can’t do them justice.  So, I’ll do my best and I’ll keep it simple:

Why am I going to the Philippines for a year to work with IJM?

Because: Love does.

I’ve spent a good number of years being sad about the 29 million slaves in the world. I’ve cried in documentaries and newspaper columns and I’ve felt racked with guilt over my comparatively easy and privileged life.

But I haven’t seen my tears or my guilt change one single thing or free one single slave.

The other day I was sharing the statistics of sex trafficking with a friend. “The average age of entrance into prostitution in the United States is 12 to 14 years old.” “Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex trade worldwide.”

He paused… took it in, and said, “That makes me really angry.”

And in that moment, my heart beat a little faster, because that’s what we need—not toxic anger or hate towards the pimps or traffickers, but an anger that looks at the brokenness of this world and says “It shouldn’t be this way.” It’s an anger that feels others’ pain strongly enough to do something about it.

Gary Haugen, the executive director of International Justice Mission said, “God has a plan to help bring justice to the world — and his plan is us.”

Haugen Quote

I’ve seen the need for justice in this world. I’ve looked into the eyes of a girl my own age as she told me how she was forced into prostitution. I held back tears and watched hers fall as she told me how she still struggles finding the will to wake up every morning.

I’ve read and heard the stories of the young girls in the Philippines who have had their childhood and innocence stolen as they’re forced to work in brothels every single day. I can’t just brush off these stories and move on unchanged. I’ve asked myself why it wasn’t me too many times. I still don’t know why, but as I hear these stories, I know why my heart breaks and I know why I feel it beat faster inside my chest.

… Because I have to do something about this.

I know not everyone is supposed to do what I’m doing. I firmly believe that we are all given our own unique passions and gifts. However, I do feel that when there is something that makes our hearts beat faster, when a passion is laid so closely on our hearts that we are stirred to action for people we have never met; we’re not just supposed to ignore it and move on.

And as a Christian, I believe with all my heart that Jesus left his home and laid down his life so I could live. And as much as I can, I want to try and do the same. It is for freedom, that I have been set free.

So, this September I am going to the Philippines to work with IJM for a year, and I’m going to help give what I can—as little as it is. Because I believe in justice and freedom and a God who loves the people most abandoned by this world. And I don’t believe that love simply feels sadness, pity or guilt. I believe that love goes and I believe that love does.


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2 thoughts on “Love Does.

  1. F Bailey says:

    Rebekah—I am a friend of your mom’s and your grandmother. I have known them for a long time. I applaud your desire but feel a bit of angst for your safety. When you look at the problem you want to be apart of you have to the look at the map of the beginning of these girls lives. Even in the US. What is sad is how parental guidance, control, accountability for parent’s actions, inability to emotionally care for their daughters is the story and how do you change that. I think between the invention of the computer and of course it is not all bad and the ability to buy drugs like you go to the grocery store has taken over the family process and emotional instability of society’s families. Your grandma Jean has filled me on your successes since HS. I hope you don’t mind. She is so proud of you. You are amazing and from a mother and grandmother myself please be careful. I hope you have a working support team to assist you when need be. I am sure your grandma will keep me posted and I of course will keep you in my prayers. Sincerely Fredi

    PS for support I cannot do now but promise to do in the future when you are there through your grandma Jean.

  2. Hello again, Miss Valencia.

    We have time travelled, years later. *from the April 2011 post that I commented on*
    Here you are, writing about something you are so passionate about and I am so glad there are people like you that not only says something about an issue but actually takes action. This is something I lack in and surely applaud you.

    I am so thankful that God has chosen you, someone so loving and caring, so passionate and willing, to do his work. Yes you will be gone for a year and I and many others would dearly miss you here in California, but we know that you are doing great things for the kingdom and that’s all we need.

    I have worked pretty closely with UNICEF and it’s mission to stop trafficking with emphasis on child trafficking. Seeing what’s happening in the US and around the world angers me and definitely scares me. It scares me with the fact that it could be anyone. My UNICEF campus President had a presentation that he gave us, about this issue and he taught me about the “factors” that people get into slavery, the PUSH and the PULL factors. This initiated a discussion between him and I about screening of the “Not My Life” movie that I talked to you about. It has been pushed back to later in the year but I am thinking of just buying it on their website and watching it with you.

    You are doing such amazing things, thank you.
    Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

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