Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Modern Form of Slavery

"In the last few weeks I have become very aware of where my clothes/food come from, and the more I have looked into it the more I want to change it. Most of the stuff we buy is made in sweatshops. The truth is sweatshop workers are incredibly exploited; they don’t earn a living wage, or receive any benefits. They have very poor, unhealthy working conditions often working 60-80 hours per week (with no overtime) and receiving verbal and physical abuse. Most sweatshops employ children. I know most of the people reading this are probably appalled to hear this, and most people have no clue what is going on, but 85 percent of the following stores’ items are made overseas, often in Third World sweatshops:
The Gap
Old Navy
And Kohl’s
These are just a few stores/companies that mainly use sweatshops. After finding all this out I was on a mission to find stores that do not use sweatshops; it is A LOT harder than you would think. After hours of googling I have only found a few online stores,
 are pretty much the only sites I’ve found so far. Pretty sad? I know! And a few days ago I found out the Chaco shoes were made in the USA but have now been moved to a sweatshop in China because it is cheaper for the company. This problem is getting bigger, and bigger. Sweatshops are everywhere China, Nicaragua, Mexico, Asia and many more places.
I know I’m just beginning to understand the injustices involved in the creation of many of the things I use and buy.  It makes want to do something about it.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” – Edward Everett Hale"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Giving up My Rights to My Life

For years now I have wanted to go to Australia, and last year I found out that AIM (Adventures in Mission) has gone there. This year my parents said I could go if I raised all the money I needed. So I went to the AIM site just to find that they didn’t have it listed for next summer.  I sent them an Email to ask if they were going to Australia next summer.  They said they didn’t know, but all their trips would be posted by the end of the month. I waited, but they never added it.

Meanwhile our church was on a mission trip to Benton, TN. While there every morning we had a Bible Study. The Wednesday morning we were there Mr. Chris (the camp director of the Camp we were working with) gave us all a piece of paper with a list of things we would call are our rights.  Things like:  “Your Right to Think,” “Your Right to Your Body” and so on. Mr. Chris asked us to mark the ones we were truly willing to give to God, but if we weren’t 100% sure we were willing to give those rights to God, not to mark it. I sat there for a minute thinking, “Am I really willing to give God my right to think?” And I realized it has never been my right, and I marked it. If I would have known what God was about to do I might not have marked it.

Shortly after I came back home I was looking at other organizations that were going to Australia, but they didn’t feel right. I could feel God saying, “No, you do not need to go there.” Everyone who knows me knows I am very stubborn, and I was arguing with God about it. He had to remind me that I gave Him the right to rule my life. I went back to the AIM site and looked at every trip they had, and I really liked the Ireland trip (I knew I wanted to go somewhere where the people spoke English), but apparently that wasn’t God’s plan. I fasted from sugar and secular music for 40 days, and during that time I prayed and prayed about what trip I needed to go on. One night I wrote down all the trips that looked interesting. (Even though I really wanted to go to Ireland), and I let all my family read them and let them say which trip they thought I should go on.  Mom, Cassie (my sister), and Dad all said Uganda or Nicaragua! And I was already thinking Nicaragua. The last place I wanted to go was to Nicaragua. I was like, “No! No! Anywhere but there!” And that night I went to bed saying, “I will go to Ireland and help the people there, because I would be doing it for God, right?” And then God reminded me I had given Him the right to pick my trip. (He was beginning to wreck my life), and finally I said, “Fine I will go.” I went to the AIM site and read all the blogs from previous years’ trips to Nicaragua, and I could feel like this was what God wanted me to do. And of course my parents were all for it.

I signed up to go to Nicaragua next June 15 thru July 15. Since then the idea of going there has become exciting, and God keeps showing me that this is where He wants me to go. Since I have signed up I have become very aware of sweatshops and the need for fair-trade items. One of the countrys with the most sweat shops is (you guessed it) Nicaragua. God is showing me everyday that this is His will for me. Nicaragua is a country full of heart-break and hunger, and people are so desperate for money they will even work in sweatshops, God has absolutely broken my heart for this country.