When Children are Being Harmed, We Must Respond

Posted by Kaylee K on Friday, September 18, 2015 Under: Response
My heart is breaking. I just watched a video newscast on what equates to child slavery and trafficking in Italy, which is being fueled by the migrant crisis and the EU’s inability to decide on how to respond. As a human, I cannot tolerate this. As a Christian, I am called to respond.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:16-17, NIV)

Here’s the thing, I don’t actually know yet how to respond. The challenge with watching the news is it is very rare that any proactive response options are provided. Instead, we are left with heartache and guilt. I am very grateful that because John and I are part of IAFR, we will have ways to help. But the road is longer than ideal to understanding the needs, building church relationships here and there, gaining financial stability, and having a right way of responding that provides not just for physical needs but also begins to restore the broken hearts and dreams of these children.

So, what now?
Now we unabashedly ask for help, guidance, funds, and teammates to go with us to Italy. We have to. Children are being trafficked. While our children go to school, play video games, eat hot meals, enjoy family time, and dream of a successful future they very likely will see come to fruition, there are children in Italy who have become slaves to the smugglers that brought them out of the wars back home to what was supposed to be a land of hope in Europe. They thought they’d have jobs as hair dressers or caregivers. Their families thought they’d be their hope and could send back funds that would help reunite them all. Only to discover the traumatizing reality that they’d be expected to prostitute themselves or sell drugs while living in horrid conditions all to pay off a stranger who likely abused them in unspeakable ways along their journey.
What can we do? John and I are called to Italy; we’re called to refugees; and we are called to these children. We know this. So, we can’t let the distance of an ocean and monetary needs get in the way. We constantly seek wisdom and guidance. John has already reached out to the reporter who shared this tragic story to ask if she knows of organizations that are trying to help these children. I’ve reached out to our friend who pastors a church in the Abruzzo region that is referenced in the video to ask for his insight on what is being done to help. 

And we will share this information with all of you. We will let you know tangible ways to help as we uncover them. In the meantime, will you help us? Here's how:
  • Become a financial support (click here) so that we can get this team established alongside the churches in Italy and respond to this ever-growing need.
  • Share this blog with your pastor or community leaders, and ask them how your church or organization will respond now that we know the fate of these children.

The time to respond is now. Please join us.  

In : Response 

Tags: children  migrants  refugees  church  italy 

Blog Authors

John and Kaylee Kolditz Kaylee founded Refugee Connect in 2008. John joined the work in 2011 as we investigated the refugee situation in Europe. But our faith and cross-cultural journeys have been a work-in-progress for many years. Much of this blog reflects that. ************************************************ We met in Austin, TX, while volunteering at a serving event at Gateway Church and have been married since 2002. Marriage, parenting and ministry all require a great deal of intentionality, humility and true reliance on God for strength, wisdom, and grace. It is a journey we are grateful to be on together. Ultimately, what matters to us is building into meaningful relationships in ways that, to the best of our ability and by God's grace, demonstrate the love and hope Jesus freely offers to us all. ************************************************ We bring both business and ministry backgrounds into our current work. John started a business in his 20's and helped build several other businesses. He has also served with churches in a variety of roles including as an assistant pastor, director of community development, and missions board member. Kaylee left her marketing career to become the global missions director for our home church in Austin, TX, then founded a local refugee ministry, and became TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in order to prepare for our work overseas. We have led short-term teams domestically and internationally, and served with a variety of cross-cultural ministries. In 2008, we sensed a call to build into the church in Europe, which was also around the time when God broke Kaylee’s heart for refugees. Since then, God has continued to weave together this heart for refugees, desire to serve alongside the church, and focus on His call to Europe.

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