Summary: There may be ordinary circumstances, there may be ordinary experiences, there may be ordinary hopes or dreams, aspirations and struggles-but there are no ordinary people!
Intro: Ordinary Days for Ordinary People?
Neary lived in a small Indian village where her father beat her and her five siblings routinely. One day, her father sold her to cover a gambling debt and Neary went to work as a bonded laborer at the age of 9. Each day Neary would weave saris in the searing heat for 5 rupees a week but Neary’s room and board mandated by her captors was 7. Neary would be the property of her owners for the rest of her life. Neary’s life seemed so ordinary to many of the 30 other women who had been weaving saris for years and would continue to do so for years to come. Ordinary except when compared to Oden.
Oden sits blowing bubbles on her manicured lawn on a hot summer day. Her father calls her in for lunch, it’s lemonade and finger sandwiches today. She giggles as her dad teases and tickles her into her seat as she hugs him muttering, "I love you daddy," just barely loud enough to be heard. Another ordinary day in suburbia unless compared to Phon.
Phon was walking in her small poor Cambodian village when a woman introduced herself to Phon. The woman told 8-year old Phon that she could give her a job to help with for her family’s economic hardship. Phon went with the woman to a home a few miles away where she was given a room. When Phon woke up the next morning, she discovered the home was actually a brothel and that she had been sold to the brothel keeper and would have to work as a prostitute. Phon cried and refused but was beaten severely until she complied. An ordinary life to so many children housed in the brothel for years, some since the age of five. Ordinary except when compared to Brittney.
Brittney plays jump rope on her first day of second grade. The hot blacktop radiates against her navy uniform on one of the last summer days as she and her friends spell out, "M-I-cooked letter, crooked letter, I." An ordinary day until compared to the end of summer for Melissa.
Melissa, at the age of 4, lives on the outskirts of Nairobi, the largest sub-Saharan slum, bursting at 700,000. When a neighbor offered to buy Melissa ice cream one afternoon, she couldn’t miss the chance. She followed the man who led her to a trash heap used as the slum’s public restroom. Believing sex with a young virgin would cure him of AIDS, the man made Melissa lay down as he covered her mouth with his hand while he raped her in the garbage. An ordinary occurrence in the slum, ordinary unless compared to Gina’s special day.
Gina stands all done up with flowers and bows at the back of the little chapel on her wedding day-a virgin. I know it seems old fashioned but she had saved herself for the special day that was now here as she gazed passionately toward the front of the church where her fiancé stood with anticipation and awe.
o Commonly encountered; usual.
o Of no exceptional ability, degree, or quality; average.
o Of inferior quality; second-rate.
There may be ordinary circumstances, there may be ordinary experiences, there may be ordinary hopes or dreams, aspirations and struggles-but there are no ordinary people!
There are no un-exceptional people, no usual people, no inferior people, and no second rate people.
All people have a mystic value that comes from being created in God’s image.
This "mystic value" is a transcendent equity that each of us has regardless of what we or others think of us.
Tonight, we want to be a voice for those who are voiceless. We want to help to throw a light on those locked away in darkness and silence.
Author Natalia Ginzburg writes, "Every day silence harvests its victims. Silence is a mortal illness."
Silence is killing and enslaving millions of people tonight and tonight we in the Christian community want to stand and say that there are no ordinary people!
This "mystic value" transcends race, ethnicity, countries, continents, and cultures and because of that fact we cannot ignore one of the greatest atrocities in human history just because it is happening behind the closed doors and under the sheets in our neighbor’s land.
Human trafficking-bonded labor, sexual slavery, human defilement and un-prosecuted rape.
The problem is considered by most to be, "...one of the most significant issues facing humankind."
In the last decade there has been an explosion of human trafficking far surpassing anything we’ve seen in modern history.
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime which oversees the UN’s approach to human trafficking, "...there are more slaves today than were trafficked in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade."