It was December 2010.
It was a day that would change my life forever.
We all have those moments that shape us. Those moments that define us. The moments when we discover why we are here and the special mission God has for us.
Maybe it doesn't come all at once, or maybe it does. Maybe the realization comes to you slowly over several years, or maybe you understand it in a few seconds.
For me, it was sort of both.
But that day in December 2010 was the moment that defined for me the mission God had for me. And I knew this was what God had in mind for me when He created me. Although it took years to get to the point where I fully understand His full calling, even now I sometimes don't understand it, I still consider that a defining moment in my life.
Some of the details are all blurry in my mind now, six years later, but I can still remember what I felt.
You see, that day I was sitting in a store with my mom while she worked, reading a book.
What I read shook me to the core. I didn't fully comprehend or understand it. I didn't even know if I really wanted to understand it.
Ever since I was little I was fascinated with the Underground Railroad and the way abolitionists of the past would sacrifice everything to fight for freedom. Some would even sacrifice their very lives until all people were free. Their bravery and heroic deeds captivated me. As a young girl I wrote stories of abolitionists in the Civil War era, fighting to bring freedom to their fellow men and women. And I always believed that if I lived back then, I would've been a brave abolitionist too.
Then I read that book that snowy winter day.
And it was telling me that I could still be a brave abolitionist.
The reason? Because slavery never ended.
Slavery still exists.
I still remember the pounding of my heart when I read those words and the anger that boiled through my body. How could this be? How could I not have known sooner?
And that was the moment I knew I would never be the same. That was the moment that defined the years of my life to come.
Because in that moment I realized that this is what God had in mind for me. This was His mission for me. To fight for justice and speek for freedom...until all are free.
It's been a crazy journey these last six years as I have dedicated my life to learning more about human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and doing whatever I can to end it.
At this point, you're probably wondering why I have even written this post, because if you've been following my blog, you know I've done posts about this before. :) Ending slavery and bringing forth freedom is the passion in the core of my soul.
Well, I've written this post again today because today is January 11, 2017. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
And that's why I've written this post.
Because on this day I want you to remember.
I want you to remember that not everyone is free. Not everyone is living in freedom. Tonight not everyone will go to sleep when they decide to. Tonight millions of men, women, and children will go to sleep not having any hope for tomorrow and not knowing they are loved, not knowing if they will even make it through tomorrow. They're stuck in the brick kilns, the clothing factories, the commerical sex slave trade. They're all around us. Halfway across the world and right here in America. Right here in your backyard. Do you see them?
So today I want you to not only remember them, but I also want you to remember when you first heard about slavery and human trafficking. Maybe it was just now when reading this post. Maybe it was years ago. I want you to remember the anger you felt when hearing that even in America, the land of the free, not all are truly free. And when remembering, I need you to know something.
You're responsible now.
The torch of abolition and freedom that the great abolitionists of old held in their hands is being passed onto you today. You know the truth now. And you only have two choices.
To turn and walk away and pretend you never knew.
Or to take the torch in your hand and light the way to freedom again.
Which will you choose? From now on, you know the truth. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
Here are 5 steps you can take today, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, to become a modern-day freedom seeker and abolitionist:
1) Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline number into your cell phone. Yes, I'm sure 99% of you have cell phones, and so how easy is this?! All you have to do is enter this number into your cell phone so it's with you all the time. Whenever you see suspicious activity or something that just doesn't look right, something that looks like human trafficking, you call that number and report it. By doing so, you could save a life. Here's the number: 888-3737-888
2) Check out the websites of these great organizations and consider donating to support them or get involved in one of their other campaigns (If you're under your parents authority, please speak with them first): International Justice Mission--www.ijm.org. Hope for Justice--www.hopeforjustice.org. Free the Slaves--www.freetheslaves.net. A21 Campaign--www.a21.org.
3) Pray. Pray with all of your heart for freedom to be restored and for the captives to be set free. God's heart is for the oppressed and we are to be for them too. So pray, pray, pray.
4) Tell someone! Spread the word today! It's National Human Trafficking Awareness Day after all! Use your social media! Tweet, post, pin, whatever it is that you do. Do it to bring freedom. Raise that awareness and make people aware of what is really going on in the world around us. Human trafficking and slavery can only thrive when we remain in ignorance and refuse to do anything about what we know.
5) Change the way you live, starting today. Most of the products we consume on a daily basis have some form of slavery in them. It's inevitable that something you own has slave labor in it. From the smartphones you carry, to the food in your kitchen, to the clothes that you wear. I'm not telling you to give up or stop consuming everything that has slave labor in it, because that would be impossible. But what I am daring you to do is to choose just one thing that you can do. I don't eat chocolate unless it's 100% fairly traded. What if you gave up chocolate for the remaining days in January to declare to others that you are for freedom and that you want to do something about it. I'm not telling you that you have to give it up forever, but what about just for a few days? It's conversation starters, people will ask you why! Let them know the truth.
Will you stand for freedom?
It starts today and it starts with you. YOU could be the next great abolitionist God is raising up to set a generation free.
How will you respond to His calling?
Let us fight for freedom again...until all are free.
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.