I was talking with Sam this week about the prostitutes in our city, when one of my boys overheard me.

"what is prostitution, mama?" he asked

I paused 

and I told him just a bit - - a cleaned-up, over simplified bit of the horrible truth:
"Prostitution, sweet boy, is when a man doesn't treat a woman like she is created in God's image; and he treats her immodestly" 

I paused again, 
and my heart groaned
because I realized that, if I had been asked the same question 10 years ago, my cleaned-up, oversimplified version might have been something more like this:
"Prostitution, sweet boy, is when a woman treats a man immodestly"

I didn't know! 
I didn't know about how so very often these girls are first abused in their homes - by family members. I didn't know about the pimps who weave elaborate plans to convince young girls that they are loved - only to take them to the city and force them to turn 30-40 tricks a night. I didn't know that food and water and even light are often withheld from girls as they are taught to comply with a pimp's demands. I didn't know that no one gives these girls a way out, until they are 25 and their bodies are falling apart and no one wants them anymore . . . and they don't know where to go, or what else to do . . . 

I didn't know!  

The issue of human slavery is complex. It is woven through with lies and blame and shades of guilt on every level. I don't pretend to give you a complete synopsis or to offer the solution in this blog post.

But I am committed to knowing.  

I am committed to being part of the solution;  
I will teach my children day in and day out about the incredible value that God has planted deep into the body and soul of EVERY individual on this earth. I will talk openly with friends and family and neighbors about the manipulation and abuse that happens within prostitution. I will engage in meaningful conversation with churches and organizations about how to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with God. I will pray passionately for my teammates who are giving their lives to care for girls in safe houses throughout the City.  

I will be part of the Solution 
because it matters to my God.

Proverbs 24:11-12
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, 
and will He not repay man according to his work?  


We tend to be pretty low key around here about Valentine's Day.  So I was definitely caught off guard on the night of the 13th when Josu started crying as I sent him to bed;  he was upset because he hadn't been able to finish the valentine card he had started making for me.

I promised him that he would have time to finish it the following day,
tucked him to bed,
and then, (quick, quick!) drew up some cards for the kids, scratched off the science and writing from my next day's lesson plans, and scheduled in art and cultural appreciation instead (i.e. making pink, gaudy heart shaped sugar cookies for the neighbors)

We did it. We made the cookies, frosted them, and stuck them in a little bag along with a friendly love note from the Smith family.
(phew!) What is it about making sugar cookies that drains me of energy? It's always, always more work than I anticipate.

We made our rounds in the building - - knocking on all the neighbor's doors; hardly any of them were home.
the new neighbor on the first floor was home.
She invited us into their living room strewn with toys and moving boxes,
and she offered us tea.

We chatted in the hallway and told her we had to leave
(like five times)
and then we invited her and her girls over to our house to have dinner with us. The pizza dough was already in the fridge. All I had to do was pop the pizza in the oven;
I assured her it would be fast.

She came for dinner;
and then stayed a little bit longer to tell us her story.
When her girls were so tired that they wouldn't stop fussing,
she hugged me goodnight, and wished me a feliz dia de amor y amistad - - a happy day of love and friendship.  She promised her girls, and I promised mine that we would find a time next week for them to play together.

Now I remember;
is why I make sugar cookies.

Happy Valentine's day my friends!  Here's to a day that pushes us to show kindness to those around us and gives us an excuse to knock on our neighbors' doors.


A Super Bowl party is a beautiful thing, isn't it? The way that can bring a group of people together into one room without any need for further explanation is pretty astounding (plus: good food, right?)  

Sunday afternoon we walked with our neighbors down to our friend Martha's house. Sure, we watched the game (kind of);  but mostly we piled our plates full of food and talked. We met Nic - a contractor who had arrived from London the day before, and gave him all our best tips for learning to love the city. We talked about how any major sporting event increases prostitution in the hosting city - and we prayed for the girls enslaved in this horrific injustice. We laughed with our neighbors as they shared with us everything they have learned about learning to love one another in the context of different cultures (she's American, he's Mexican). We did our best to get everyone in the room to sign up for the half marathon that our community group is running together . . . 

Also, did I mention the food?  

how was your party? what did you eat? what did you talk about? next year you are invited to our party, ok?