Category Archives: Socio-political issues

Feeling stupid not generalizing

So this week, I had 2 typical experiences in new settings in close enough time, that they shined light on each other….

  1. Darin went to day camp and got in lots of trouble the 1st day. Then I figured out he didn’t have 1-on-1 support, that was added, and he was able to continue with daycamp.
  2. We tried putting Darin in a class at church, so we could listen to the sermon, and he lasted 10 mins… and Joel missed the rest of the service sitting in the hall with him.

And it clicked for me:
Church is the only setting where we try to put him in a class without 1-on-1 support, pretending in that setting he is typical.
We don’t do it at school, or day camp, or VBS.
But week after week, we are shocked it goes terrible at church.

Unfortunately, this realization was not accompanied by a solution.

Interestingly, the sermon at the church we visited today was about Act 6:1-13, where the 1st church had to address unmet needs within the church.

I wish this didn’t feel like a unique need that not everyone shares. I don’t want to be the one with the need.

What are other special needs kids doing within small churches?

Movie: 12 Years a Slave

Sometimes, it’s embarrassing to have white skin. Last night, watching 12 Years a Slave20131124-085003.jpg, I had this feeling again… The last time I remember feeling this shame was watching The Help.

Unlike The Help which was historical fiction, 12 Years a Slave was a true story from 1841, a terrible period of history when southern white Americans treated black people as property.

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This story was of a black American man who had experienced a life of freedom in the North, then was kidnapped, transported, and sold in the South. While his story held the element of hope that someone from his free life would come rescue him, it was devastating to realize that the others enslaved with him did not have anyone to turn to after due to multiple generations of slavery.

This movie reminded me of the pain I felt watching Schindler’s List and other holocaust films.

How did each culture become so desensitized to humanity that these atrocities could occur?

Are we doing this to ourselves again?

This is a terrible cycle we seem to repeat… from the Coliseum in Rome in the 1st century A.D., to slavery of Africans to build the “free” USA, to the genocide of Jews in Germany & Poland.

What are we watching, participating in, thinking that may allow us to go there again?

Are we the next observers of pain for pleasure?

Remember…
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Book: Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope

I happened upon a book in our Kindle app, Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope by Mez McConnell…
I asked Joel about it and he didn’t even recall where it was from.

It ended up being a message to my weary soul.

This book is the life story of Mez, who grew up on the European version of ‘the projects’. It’s a little rough to read about his childhood… Abuse, neglect, invisibility.

But it was a slap in the face consistent with my current Precepts bible study of Romans. When Mez was introduced to the Gospel, the church he was introduced into was Law, not Grace. And as someone constantly evaluating how to be a church leader, it was a serious reminder what it feels like to enter a church culture that expects right behavior by flesh, without waiting for the Spirit to do a work.

Why fight human trafficking? Why Redeemed Ministries?

Recently I’ve been asked several times why I’m involved with Redeemed Ministries & the fight against human trafficking…
And I discovered there’s not one reason, there are so many:

  1. because of Brent & Courtney Orrange, my beloved friends, who have spent 10+ educating & preparing to fight trafficking on foreign soil,
  2. & because I remember the B.C. version of me who looked just like a human trafficking victim in my heart & my choices,
  3. & because my heart longs to live the life of a missionary & my God has kept me in Houston, so I don’t need to raise support & be commissioned to give my whole life to His Work
  4. & because the children waiting to be adopted in foster care are the same adults we encounter in commercial sex, & as the Body of My Christ, I restore peace by sewing up the holes in the fabric of society with His Love, His Grace, His Hope,
  5. & because the best way to escape the rat race of this earth is to live like THE KINGDOM HAS COME & HIS WILL WILL BE DONE!

Could your teen become a Human Trafficking statistic?

As I’ve become a human trafficking abolitionist, I’ve come face to face with more memories of God’s grace in my life.

And since these memories are not horror stories with bad endings, most of them are secrets. Secrets I have kept silent to protect the heart of my most amazing mommy.

But I think part of abolition is EDUCATION. Education about risks.

So here’s a memory…

Today is Fat Tuesday, the end of Mardi Gras. As a lifelong Protestant, I barely know what it stands for.

But as a teenager, I knew it stood for one thing.
PARTYING!
In Galveston, only 45 mins from where I grew up, Mardi Gras festivities imitated the New Orleans activities. Parades by day, street parties by night.

As a deceptive teenager, I planned a “night at the movies” with my friends, and jumped in the car with another 16-17 yr old. We headed across the big bridge to the party. We parked on a secluded street and headed into the darkness.

My mom liked to keep track of me, so she paged me at one point, and I hiked to find a pay phone to report that I had gone to a later movie… Oh and could I spend the night with my friend?

She made the same plan. To spend the night at my house, that is.

And we wandered into the night.

No where near where we said we were.
Completely vulnerable.

Graciously, God brought me home from this particular night & many others when I did not take my safety into account, going to parties in cheap hotels or houses rented by adults who threw parties for teens.

Honestly, I wasn’t trying to get hurt.
I was just trying to have fun.
I thought my mom was just afraid my car would break down.
I DID NOT KNOW THE RISKS.

I did not know that the world was full of perpetrators.
The people in my life, my family, my community, had always cared for me.
This may sound dumb, but my world was so good I didn’t know about rape or sexual abuse.
My safe life BLINDED me to the real world.

Like I said, this story doesn’t have a bad ending. That night, I came home unharmed. Truly, I believe I was wrapped in the prayers of my mother as a shield around me. She did not know the details of each lie, but she knew I was running from her & from God.

The moral of this story:
1. Pray for your kids.
2. Don’t assume they understand what it means that 12-18 year olds are prime victims for trafficking.
3. Pray for your kids.

Judging the beggar on the corner

I’ve been confused about how to deal with the homeless person with the sign on the corner for a long time.

Last night, as I sat in my car getting organized at Ecclesia, a beggar knocked in my window. He caught me off-guard, made me feel invaded…
I had to decide (again) how to respond

I have had many conflicting inputs:

  • In my childhood memories, there are many times my mom stopped to help someone along the side of the road, giving them a ride home or to a shelter.
  • While dating, Joel & I went with The Grove Church to deliver food under Pierce Elevated in downtown Houston. We made a few friends & started taking food & stuff to them as a way to flee pre-marriage temptation. Each person had a story…and factor that lead them to life on the street.
  • When working for a large local church about 8 years ago, I was riding with several pastors. One explained to me that the corner beggars commonly make $60,000/year tax free… And who knows what they do with it.
  • I spent 2001 & 2005 working at the Star of Hope Women & Family Homeless Shelter. Lots of people were trapped in the poverty cycle & disappointed me.

Last year, I started reading Luke aloud to my kids.
I got to Luke 6:30… and the answer seemed pretty straight forward:

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

But how do we know if they will use it wisely? Or if they are making more then me by this profession?

The same questions could be asked when we ask for help…Was I a perfect steward of every dollar given to me? Did I buy a latte, get my nails done, pay for a movie, etc.?

What matters on my end is how the Lord will view my choice to help…

Matthew 25:35-40

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So last night, I made the wrong choice first: judgement. I was offended (by choice) that he knocked on my window. He should have known not to invade my space. So I spoke curtly, telling him I might help when I got out to enter the building.

And my heart ached.
I wouldn’t have spoken to Jesus that way. I wouldn’t have spoken to any of you that way.

Fortunately, I was still in that place. I could look in my rearview mirror, image he was Jesus, or even imagine I was the beggar.

Then I acted.

Redeemed Ministries

If you follow me on Twitter (@heatherburdeaux) or Facebook, you have probably seen me mention Redeemed Ministries in the last 9 months.

Redeemed Ministries is a group of Christians trying to bring hope, rescue, & redemption to the lives of victims of commercial sex trafficking.

I first heard of them in 2009.
Honestly, I was so intimidated by the problem of human slavery (human trafficking), I was scared to go to Redeemed’s orientation meeting.
I was afraid I would be expected to have ideas, or a plan. So I didn’t go.

I finally made it in February 2011.

What I learned was heartbreaking. Houston is full of spas/brothels/massage parlors with enslaved women being forced to perform sexual acts!

There are more factors working to keep the spas in business, than assistance to escape.

But Redeemed is working to change that.
We are an army of volunteers trying to light the path of escape, then trying to be Christ’s arms around them as they make a new life.

Join us!
We meet to organize the 2nd Saturday of every month.