By Andrew Frazer
Have you ever noticed how time doesnt stand still for anyone? Regardless of how much we plead time to pause, fast forward, or even rewind, the reality remains the same: 24 hours in one day, 7 days in one week and, more often than not, 365 days in one year.
It is far too easy just to let time pass by and simply become a spectator of life rather than a participant. I want to be engaged in the lives of others by offering my life in service and not merely giving my opinion, albeit sympathetically, to others like the used water that is strained from over cooked past, cloudy and lacking flavor. Opinions and words become like ash in our mouths when there is no resulting action. It is this melding of faith and action that has driven me to get out there and truly live. This is not in the absence of hardship, but rather the embracing of its arrival with the knowledge that I do not walk this path alone, and consequently, will not be fulfilled by living jus t for myself.
In 2006, my girlfriend (who I am now honored to call my wife) and one of my best mates were sitting around and just talking about the possibilities of life. We were sharing how we wanted to use our passions in life to really make a difference, and wondered why we had been so hesitant in doing this previously. We were (and still are) passionate about photography, visual arts, advocacy, education and seeing others inspired with the knowledge that they are created with a purpose and a destiny.
We were sitting down over coffee, brewing the ideas that circled in our heads, when we began to see some light in the whole process. Like many other people, we so often recognize what changes we desire to see in our own lives and also in the societies in which we are living, yet so often we feel helpless to adequately implement these changes.
We become stuck in the daily rut of life and resolved in the self-absorbed comfort that someone else will do it. We had talked enough to know that we needed to get out there and, at the very least, attempt to use these passions to make a difference.
We had been in communication with some close and inspirational friends who had been involved in using photography and other creative means to be a voice for the voiceless. It was through them that we were provoked by the injustice currently existing in our world , the injustice that sees millions of children each year enter into various forms of degrading and abusive situations as a result of being trafficked. Child trafficking is a billion dollar business where these precious lives from all around the world are used as commodities and sold to the highest bidder.
From my experience, when we hear of such atrocities in our world we are confronted with two options. The first is to sit back, be disgusted and then complain about why nothing is being done . We might even condemn the countries that are being overtly publicized as involved. (As if it does not exist in our own countries!) The other option is to constructively and practically become part of the solution by educating ourselves through various forms and allowing our minds to be transformed, quite literally, from the inside out: to learn what it means to daily make the choice whereby we take our eyes off of ourselves and begin seeking the higher good of others.
I had recently been in Sydney with my wife for a close friends wedding when I walked past a war memorial on Oxford Street. Carved into the side of the memorial were these words: No greater love hath a man.” The continuation of this biblical scripture is that he would lay down his life for a friend, and this is the essence of the gospel. This is the word of God become flesh, and it is the very person of Jesus embodied in these words.
Actually, Jesus took it another step when he stated that we are even to love our enemies. This is the furious love of God that would go to the very crevices of our existence in the midst of corruption, distortion, and perversion to see men, women, and children honored as they are created to be. Somewhere we have lost sight of this and so child trafficking continues to take place.
We had the opportunity to travel from Nepal to India late last year, where we partnered with local ministries working to see the ugly face of trafficking eradicated. We used photography, visual arts and other creative means to capture the stories of these children so that they would not be forgotten, but rather remembered, honored and defended.
This trip is the fruit of that first conversation while sipping our cups of coffee. It was our second trip, following a trip to Thailand mid-2007, and the momentum continues to gather. We travel as a team of creative, passionate, and determined young people who desire to make a difference.
The difference comes when we take time and listen. It isnt about getting the best shot, but rather the relationship shared between the subject and behind the lens that subsequently results in quality images. We must see the people, hear their stories, share their tears, join in their laughter, attempt to feel their heartache, see their need, recognize our own, and meet them where they are.
Child trafficking, as with all areas of injustice, exists due to selfishness, which, ironically, is the very thing that freezes us and stops us getting out there in offering our lives as a living sacrifice.
The images captured during the course of our short term trips are then screened, developed, and displayed in a local gallery, whereby we allow the public access and insight into these beautiful childrens lives. The art is for sale, with the funds contributing directly to furthering the protection of children at risk in the focuse
The finances are then used by the local ministry in partner with Lost In Traffik to carry out practical projects that serve the protection, rescue, rehabilitation, and social reintegration of these precious lives. We are continually developing our approach to make it more effective and, hopefully, enabling justice to be brought to many more lives. It is the many men and women serving day in and day out in these nations that are the unsung heroes, and we want to simply say thank you. We hope to do so with our art.
This is our story so far and it continues to be written by grace. We will never have this moment in time again, and so we need to make a choice and allow the simplicity, grace, and radical love of a God who would wrap himself in skin, humble himself to death, and allow us to live in the resurrection if we are willing.
This is our time.
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Andrew is a 22 year old West Australian. He grew up thinking that it was by good actions that he was saved but has come to know that he is simply loved by God in his brokeness. He grew up in Bunbury WA, and didn’t leave Australia until he was 18. Now, he can not imagine life without the nations. Andrew currently resides in Perth WA and is a full-time staff member with Youth With a Mission . For more on his justice ministry, check out lostintraffik.org.