IMG_2544This past weekend was the Super Bowl in the USA. Along with all the fun, good, gatherings and excitement there is a dirty little secret, forced prostitution.

Statistics have it that up to 10,000 girls are brought into Super Bowl cities each year by pimps. These girls will be be used and taken advantage of by men. Regardless of those numbers being correct or not, or even if it’s only one girl being brought in, it is an injustice.

This past week a few of us met in San Fransisco to bring awareness of this issue. We went to over 40 hotels and gas stations sharing with desk clerks about forced child prostitution and gave out information on missing girls along with the human trafficking hot line. We heard some heartbreaking stories and brought this issue into the light with many who had no idea it was happening.

It’s easy to do justice. All it takes is you and I taking a stand against what is wrong and promoting what is right. Thanks to you who support us in the ministry here. We pray that you have a great week and anticipate the amazing things God had in store for you.

Phil, Amy and the kids.

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IMG_4168I am sitting in Norway where its cold, dark and far away from my usual American Thanksgiving, yet I am very thankful. There are many things that I could complain about, but that is easy and not very encouraging to anyone. Today on this American Thanksgiving lets commit to be thankful regardless of our circumstances. God knows our needs and he, our heavenly father and provider will meet them.

Here are a few things that have marked my life over the past year:

  • The great community we were a part of with YWAM Kona
  • My family who brought countless times of laughter and joy
  • Amy
  • Travel
  • The early mornings that I was able to sit, drink good coffee, read, pray and reflect
  • The respect the corners Cross fit box in Kona
  • Friends who asked me the hard questions
  • A health marriage
  • Seeing my children smile
  • Opportunities to teach, lead mission trips and facilitate times of learning
  • Coming to Norway to be apart of the Justice DTS
  • Breath
  • Health
  • Music
  • My iPhone 4S (old but keeps on going)
  • Refugees being received and welcomed
  • Freedom
  • Peace
  • Direction
  • Faith
  • The scholarship I received for pursuing my masters degree
  • Support
  • The thanksgiving meal I am going to eat on Saturday.

There are so many things to be thankful for. There are also many things to complain about (legitimate complaints for sure). Today though, lets live in a place of thanksgiving, hope and life.

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adventI wonder if the world has always been as messed up and broken as it is right now or are we just hearing about it more now because of the internet and social media? In my 0pinion, it has always been this messed up and broken, but now we know about it instantly.

This is a gift to us from the Lord. Really, it is. Back before social media and instant news through the internet we would hear about issues of brokenness and injustice during the 5 o clock news or in the next days paper. Now we hear about brokenness less than a minute after it happens.

This, though a gift to us comes with it a huge responsibility, the responsibility to act, to do, to respond. So many times in my life I have looked back and said “oh man, I wish I had of done something about that issue of brokenness and pain.” If I had only known sooner I could have responded. Well guess what, now we do know about it sooner, like right away.

How are we dealing with this as followers of Jesus and advocates for equal and universal human rights? My prayer is that we are dealing with it by responding. There are a few ways we can respond:

  1. Pray
  2. Give
  3. Share
  4. Go

We should at lease be doing one of these things every time we hear about the brokenness in our world. In the past month there have been many ways to respond, unfortunately. There has been:

  1. Refugees coming over from Syria
  2. Mass killing in Paris, Lebanon and Nigeria
  3. ISIS

We need to respond. lets never look back with regret saying “I wish I had done something more.” It only takes a few seconds to pray, a few minutes to share and a few dollars to go. Lets do something.

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ReCreateI like coffee, I like good chocolate, I like soft t-shirts and I like justice. I also work for a non profit organization and raise all my own support, so I am very conscience about money and what I spend it on. We all live by faith, faith that we won’t lose our jobs, faith that our jobs will still be there tomorrow, faith that (I’m my situation) my supporters will no lose their jobs so that support continues to come in. As a result of this, I used to spend minimal dollars on things that I need/want, like chocolate, coffee and soft t-shirts.

Lets go back to the first sentence where I wrote ‘I like justice.’ Justice is a right relationship between God, man and creation. Justice is giving that which is due, injustice is the abuse of that. When I purchase goods at the cheapest price there is a good chance I am not giving that which is due, but actually doing an injustice. When I purchase something that is fair or direct trade then I am (to the best of my knowledge) giving that which is due and doing justice.

I used buy the cheapest things, and sometimes still do. To be brutally honest I am hesitant to spend a lot of money because I am cheap. I live in the space that if I  buy the cheaper brand I am being a good steward of the money I receive, when in reality I am actively living in a way that I hate, unjust.

I have been challenged lately with my view of God as father and provider. Does God care about justice? Yes. Does God want me to do justice? Yes. Is God a provider? Yes. So if God cares about justice, if God wants me to do justice and if God is a provider then why in the H would I purchasing the cheap goods at the risk of doing injustice? I should be purchasing goods that are ethically made, pay a living wage and provide jobs and life for the farmer growing the coffee, cotton and cocoa that I buy?

Do I have enough faith that God will provide for me if I spend more money on items that I know are giving life to others? This is my hope and prayer. I have faith in a God who does justice, yet I struggle with the thought of “can I buy this as I am not sure how much money I will have next month.” I am not talking about consumerism here, I am talking about using our money to give life to others and in turn meet a desire that I have.

Finally (for now) buying ethically made goods taste better, last longer and make you feel better about yourself in the long run, which is all around a beautiful thing.

Check out a few places doing great things:

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Cambodia_SoJ_Aug2013_2-36I have been leading short term trips for the past 20 years. I have brought teams to Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Seattle, San Francisco, China, Korea and the Philippines. Even though all of these trips were short term trips and even though I work with a short term mission organization called YWAM, I don’t believe in short term missions.

Let me explain. I believe in short term mission trips. They are effective, they are life changing and they are worth every penny (if done right). This is very different than short term missions. The concept of short term missions is that I only do missions short term. It says that sometimes we preach the gospel, sometimes we go on trips and sometimes we don’t do anything. There is no where in the scriptures that commands us to into all the world on a short term basis and preach the good news at certain times and in certain seasons. In fact, the scripture says in Timothy that we are to be prepared in season and out of season.

This summer we are bringing people to Cambodia on our Matthew 25 trips. These trips are one step that we can take as we live our lives on mission, it is an introduction to mission for some, and a refresher for others. This trip is set out to show us how we can live life as missionaries in all circumstances and situations. The call on all followers of Jesus is to live life on Mission. This call has no end, it is a call on all of our lives  weather or not we are stay at home parents, students, career workers or full time/long term paid/supported pastors or missionaries.

The reason Steps of Justice exists is to provide practical ways that you and I can live on mission, the mission to Love God and Love others. We are called to to this regardless of what we do as our full time work. It all starts with one step, and maybe for you that step is coming over to Cambodia with us this summer.

Written by me.

Picture by Lindsey Brunsman

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