A dose of SPRING!

DC’s horrendous winter weather taught me just how much I despise the cold. Genuinely cannot stand it. My spirits decline. I merely survive, trudging through the dreary days. After a solid three months of boots and thick scarves, 23 of my 24 hours spent indoors, I have decided that if I can help it, I will never live somewhere that has surpluses of below freezing weather and snow. God made too many other beautiful places in the world to deal with that.
This weekend, though. It was like the winter’s end in Narnia — DC transformed almost overnight from a mild arctic to an arena of sunshine, flower petals and tourists. Cherry blossoms were in full bloom, as were my spirits. My shoulders are sunburned, but that is quite alright. My Vitamin D deficiencies probably needed a little toasting. With the exception of looming exams, I packed this weekend with all kinds of fun. As much as I love home and look forward to reuniting with the Compton Clan this Saturday, I’m despondent to depart from IJM and the groove I’ve settled into here. My time in DC has been fantastic, but if I could’ve enjoyed this weather in DC every weekend, oh man. I might not leave. It turns out a full weekend of spring – composed of spaghetti straps, outdoor activity and even a little pollen – was all that was needed to clear up my winter blues. For my last weekend in DC (HOW did that happen?!), I prescribed myself the maximum dosage.
Friday I ventured into the crowds around the tidal basin to witness both cherry blossoms dancing through the wind and groups of tourists congest the pathway. After a packed week at work, it was so nice to decompress by myself and do two of my favorite solitary activities: walk and people watch. I sat on a slanted patch of grass for almost an hour trying to keep an accurate count of the number of Caucasian male-Asian female couples that passed by. 
Saturday my fellow intern Allegra, her roommates and I ventured to Shenandoah National Park to conquer Old Rag Mountain. This trail comes with a host of horror story rescue operations and large people with even larger confidences who are decimated on this trail; the Boy Scouts (if some of them were my sons, I would have more prudence in what they signed up for) that congested our way up may contribute to these tales. The rock scrambling toward the top, however, was not too challenging and a great deal of fun; it makes me want to pursue climbing more. The 360 degree summit view certainly was worth it. Best lunch of the semester. Good company, too. Allegra’s roommates, who I had never met before, provided great trail companionship.
After saying farewell to all the friends I have made at the Falls Church Anglican Sunday, I met up with Heather and her friend in Old Town Alexandria, which reminds me a lot of downtown Charleston. We walked to the waterfront, rented bikes and cycled ten miles out to George Washington’s stately home via the Mt. Vernon Trail. I stepped back to the late 1700s and conversed with Martha Washington about corsets and letting go of hoops for the Revolutionary cause. Most of the time I think I’d like a pretty small, quaint house, with “just enough” room. Then I spend time on the South’s aristocratic plantations with lots of land and manicured lawns. Despite their dark history, I think to myself, This life could be pretty awesome, too. I’m so grateful to enjoy a little slice of that at Sugah Cain whenever I want.
After our bike ride back, I raced to my apartment to meet Jill and Allan Bellacicco. These two are dear family friends; Hoffa and Allan both attended Summerville Academy and were roommates together at The Citadel. Allan and Jill treated me to dinner at the Curious Grape in Shirlington. This is one of those places where you have an idea of what you’re ordering, but there are so many specific ingredients in the description that you’re not sure what you’ll actually be eating. Seared Kampachi, for instance, with Sicilian tabouli, pomegranate, crispy farro, and sauce arrabiata. In English this means the best fish I’ve had in my life bursting under a bed of crunchy citrus flavor with just a little kick at the end. Plus it was specially paired with an equally fancy wine. The only thing better was the company.
As this season of living in the nation’s Capitol comes to an end, I’m so grateful to have transitioned into nicer  weather, enjoying new and old friends and tons of time outside. This past weekend really was my favorite weekend in DC. The winter is done, the work is over. Even as I return to Charleston, I pause and give thanks for the many new experiences of my young adulthood. Changing seasons – in time or in weather – allow us to cherish each moment, knowing that it won’t be like this for long.

Pasty white, but soaking up some sun!

Lindsey & Allegra

Rocky Ridgeline of a trail

Martha Washington

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Persevere to the Dawn

IJM’s Global Prayer Gathering began over a decade ago with a few dozen people meeting in a room together to pray for the work of justice. Today, it is a full weekend held at the swanky Gaylord Resort, with over 1,200 attendees and room to grow. As an intern, I had the true privilege to serve and participate in GPG this year. These are the reasons this past weekend was awesome.

5. Testimony

All 18 international Field Office Directors pause their work abroad to take part in GPG. There is nothing like hearing a story firsthand from the people actively engaging in the fight to protect poor people from violence.  Christa Sharpe, the FOD in Cambodia, is a force of positive energy and action, and her update was especially exciting. She shared that a decade ago, the Cambodia office faced rampant impunity – acts of violence went unpunished, so perpetrators disregarded the law Christa shared that police are actually protecting underage girls from sexual exploitation. Today, it is difficult to even find cases of underage sexual exploitation anymore, and rehabilitation centers there are some of the best in the world. The Cambodia office’s next long-term goal is to eventually pull out and allow the country to handle sex trafficking crimes independently.
Griselda, a former Guatemalan client who now works at IJM, even came to share her story personally. After such hardship, she still beams with joy and confidence, grateful for the work IJM has done on her behalf.

Both Griselda’s renewed life and the fact that the Cambodia office may be nearing its end after only ten years are incredible – evidence of a mighty God moving forcefully through the world.

4. Hard work

I recently learned that IJM doesn’t do GPG at a more convenient time when more people could come (like the summer) because they so heavily depend on interns to pull this huge event off. That’s alright with me, though; I thrive in long, laborious days in which I am freely serving and contributing to something far greater than myself. It’s great bonding time, and there are even pockets of fun to be found, like riding on hotel dollies at the age of 21. After a week of GPG prep, the interns packed up, played real-life tetris loading everything into one U-Haul, unloaded countless boxes, set up prayer rooms…and then did all of those tasks again in reverse order. Fortunately, the exhaustion didn’t hit until GPG was over, so I had Sunday to recuperate.

Go to all measures – including the floor – for GPG
Show us how you really feel (She’s actually a good sport…I just think this picture is funny)

GPG planning extraordinaire

Preparing journals!

Luggage dollies: Useful for moving: a) luggage b) GPG boxes c) people d) all of the above

Planning a big event takes a lot of organization

3) Community

If you step out of your group, you’re bound to meet some cool people at GPG, and all of them shared stories of great things God is doing in their lives. As I set up the Rwanda prayer room, I met the FOD and was later able to give him a small prophetic word of encouragement. My neighbor during the Thursday evening dinner happened to be the former mayor of Tennessee, who wants to use his retirement years to confront sex trafficking in America.  There is a couple from Texas who were integral in a race benefitting IJM, which, ironically, I had been using to create a toolkit at work. The list goes on. In each interaction, I got the sense that they were, if not ordained, at least affirming the way the Holy spirit moves in other people’s lives.
Post-dinner: Room for a dang lot of people

2) Worship

I love worship because I’m able to glorify God with lyrics far more artistic and full of truth that anything I could come up with in prayer. It’s a good time for processing and personal reflection, too (more to come on revelations and my future plans soon!). Plus, Sara Groveshas an angelic voice, and she was kind enough to take a picture with the interns. As another intern said, I’m “practically famous” since I’m standing right next to her. J

Yes, that is Sara Groves. Yes that is me on the left.

 1) Justice re-calibration

When I’m in the thick of IJM for eight hours a day, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture and lose sight of why I do the work that I do. Or why I care about justice and advocate for it at all. In Gary’s opening talk, he said that we must use God’s light to Shrink the Shadows, Dispel the Darkness, Melt he Mountains and Call Forth Healing. I’m not going to go into the metaphorical details of each of those steps, but GPG is a reminder that God invites us into a monumental challenge that we cannot accomplish by ourselves. Not only does He want us to be a part of it, but He wants us to ask Him for help. We have prayer as a real tool that bears results far greater than what we ask or imagine.
My prayer in the Rwanda room

Even after the work of justice is well underway, Gary discussed a final step: we must Persevere to the Dawn. This applies literally to casework in the field, to keep moving forward in tough cases and convict criminals, but ultimately to press on until all things are made new. Persevering to the dawn is for all of God’s people, too, though. We are to persevere in remaining close to the Father through His word, and persevere in talking to Him about His work. We will rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, and persevere in prayer. I’m already looking forward to GPG next year!

Unguarded Earnestness

When Jesus says to “let the little children come to me,” He seems to be calling His followers to certain attractive “child-like” qualities – humility, wonder, joy and unguarded earnestness.
In anticipation of the Global Prayer Gathering, IJM staff have corporately been considering the idea of entering next weekend in a posture of Unguarded Earnestness. What does that mean? What does it look like? I think of “earnestness” as utmost sincerity, approaching something with the fullest intention of doing it well or treating someone with lavish kindness. Perhaps you’ll still mess up, but your intentions and efforts reflect a desire to give your all.
For me, “unguarded” is the scarier part. That translates to straight-up vulnerability – being totally open, able to be at best molded into a truer reflection of Christ and at worst trampled upon, left seriously hurt and wounded.
It’s that vulnerable sincerity, though, that turns prayers into true faithfulness. When we approach the Father, our prayers should not only be honest and genuine, but our petitions should be, as we say at IJM, crazy pants prayers – “big, hairy, audacious” ones that only a loving Father far more powerful than ourselves could answer. There is no way we could make that prayer happen without God, so we come to Him fully dependent, with unguarded earnestness, faithfully believing that He not only hears our prayers but answers them also.
I’ve been thinking about the way unguarded earnestness could transform more than our prayers. What about everyday life? Our actions toward others, our work, our after school activities or the strength of our relationships would all be transformed! It looks like having an “all-in” attitude, combining the belief that what you do matters and not allowing anything to hold you back from giving it your full efforts. Giving friends your full attention because they matter more than the task at hand demonstrates your value for them. Not half-assing a project because you believe that your contribution makes a difference. Believing you can break 20 minutes in your next 5K or that you can make a goal at the next game brings more diligence and purpose to your practice. Even in a relationship conflict or marital problem – wholeheartedly devoting yourself to righting wrongs because you believe that the other person is worth it. All of this from a posture of unguarded earnestness.
At the same time, we don’t want to be “childish” – foolish, immature, irresponsible, unstable, silly or naive. If I run a 25 minute 5K, just hoping that it will be 20 minutes next week would be irrational. There are nearly 30 million slaves today. Praying that injustice will be eradicated tomorrow would show a lack of analysis and reason. Just imagine Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey making fun of the Global Prayer Gathering. Right. 1200+ people are going to get together and pray, and as you stand there and worship the sky, people will be brought out of bondage. Ha!
It’s easy to be cold-hearted and have fears of judgment of being naive about very serious, big issues. But the posture changes the approach. If we approach prayer or our everyday life issues with the child-like quality of unguarded earnestness, we come knowing that prayer does work and our interactions with others will shift. We come desperately needing Jesus’ grace and abundant life. We come eager and expectant for His power, attentive to Him and fully devoted; strengthened, refreshed, fully present and utterly grateful for every good gift the Holy Spirit gives. We’re not worshiping the sky. We’re worshiping a God with an unchanging character – One who for all eternity has heard the cries of His children and longs to bring life and freedom. 

Lenten Season

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Matthew 4:1-2
Often times, Lent becomes a shortened, more attainable version of New Year’s Resolution Round 2. I am certainly guilty of this. Even if my small sacrifice is a genuine offering to God, it israther convenient to be “giving up sweets” just before the weather warms up and the bathing suits come out.
For forty days, we deny ourselves just as Christ did. We are tempted, just as He was, and in our fasting, we call upon Him for strength and sustenance. We prepare our hearts for the greatest miracle of all time – the God of the universe rising from the dead. The point is not to have an excuse to shed three pounds. We give something up that we are attached to, that we value. In its absence our focus not only turns back to the Lord, but is also sharpened and clarified.
Living in a state in which my community has been shifting just about every three months, I have become far too connected to social media. Facebook and Instagram allow me to stay in touch with people I can’t see in person – kind of (Phone calls are much more authentic and effective). They’re also my go-to distractions when I’m bored or procrastinating. I’ve even resorted to watching TV, something I’ve rarely done in the past. These are not bad things, but, minor as they may seem, they have become idols in my life. Most of the time I don’t even realize it, but I use them to fill a piece inside of me that I should be allowing God to fill.

Tonight I spontaneously joined some interns for an incredible few hours of worship at National Community Church. I’ve been planning on giving up Facebook for Lent, but this time of prayer allowed me to really consider the value and meaning of Lent. “You deserve all my worship. You deserve all my praise,” one song went, and I really sensed a call to deeper sacrifice and discipline. Along with Facebook, I will be fasting from all forms of media entertainment this year. I’m also going to be spending an hour in scripture every day – 30 minutes when I first wake up using the 40 Days of Lent study, and another half hour during stillness at work meditating and memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. We’re still talking first-world sacrifices here, but I will certainly need the Lord to help me through this Lenten season. Jesus was hungry in the wilderness, and then He was tempted. I will have urges both to log on to Facebook and to skip out on a devotional. I hope these days leading to Easter will be ones of deep spiritual growth, and for that to happen, the idols still standing between my Redeemer and me must be cleared away.

Mandatory

Most people, including myself, are not fans of being forced to do anything. What you would have happily completed voluntarily all of a sudden becomes a chore – an obligatory hassle – that must be done by a certain date. Just consider a book in high school that you had to read for class. For your 17 year old self, practice and movies and friends are all much higher priorities. You skim through the book, rely on Sparknotes, BS the paper, and make it through the test. The following summer you’re hanging out with a childhood friend and on the bedside table is the same book. He loves it. Why? He’s reading it by choice, and that makes all the difference. The joy is usurped by the requirement to read.

There is a reason rules and mandatory obligations are put in our lives. Most of the time, they really are in our best interest. I have found that to be particularly true this semester. LCWS has quite a few requirements for students to accomplish by the end of the semester. Along with our weekly field trips, we also must complete 12 hours of community service as well as attend a committee hearing and a protest or demonstration. I’m a go-getter, and I like to seize the day, but I know I wouldn’t be doing these things otherwise. I probably wouldn’t even be making time for service, which is something I am quite passionate about doing. The reality is, by the end of the workday, I’m wiped. All I want to do is scavenge for some dinner and chill.

But alas, I am rarely vegging on the couch. Though I may gripe beforehand, I have typically found myself enjoying these outings and learning a lot. Yesterday, I observed my first protest. Hundreds of young environmental hippies marched from Georgetown University to the White House to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. Though they chanted “Hey Obama we don’t want no pipeline drama,” but they were certainly creating a social movement ruckus themselves. If constructed, this underground pipe would carry over 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. According to the protesters, it would have detrimental effects on the environment.

I’m not a very political person, but it was really fascinating to watch all of this play out. Regardless of one’s leanings, the fact that Americans have the right to gather and speak out against the leader of our country is pretty astounding. I heard it was the largest protest in front of the White House in years. What’s more, hundreds of them also zip-tied themselves to the White House fence in protest and were then arrested. Actions like that, where a real sacrifice is required, speak louder than the rhetoric of the speeches and chants like “President Obama just say no, XL Pipeline’s got to go,” catchy as it may be. They practiced civil disobedience at its finest, and for that, I admire them. I even think the president may be influenced by their actions. Also, most of the time I am so ill-informed about current events. It’s a neat feeling to see something unfold in front of your eyes that will be on the news later that night.

Here was another not-so-admirable observation, though. Many of the protesters dawned grungy clothing and were a few days overdo on a shower. Others were smoking pot throughout the march. During the civil rights movement, African Americans donned their finest church clothes to march. At work, we’re required to professional suits, our “costume of credibility.” I acknowledge that this look  is part of the stereotypical culture of this green demographic, but their appearance detracted from their message.

Intimidation factor

Then, there are the mandatory weekly field trips. For my Global Agenda class this past Wednesday, we went to the Heritage Foundation to listen to a lecture titled Fighting Terrorism under the Rule of Law: The Israeli Experience. You can imagine how excited I was about this. But once again, it was absolutely fascinating. Israel is the only democratic nation in its region, and it is faced with some serious military strategy challenges when fighting against countries who do not play by the same rules.

Colonel Eli Bar-On
Deputy Military Advocate General, Israeli Defense Force

Later on that day, the whole group visited N Street Village. This kind of thing actually does excite me. People are able to love, serve, and empower those in worse circumstances than themselves. That is awesome, and N Street Village does it well. Cheery and bright, the walls were decorated with crafts made by the women who visit or live there.

Then there is plain old mandatory school. I wasn’t quite as enthralled researching and writing about workers’ rights and consumer empowerment this past weekend, but even here there were some pros. It was the first legitimate paper I’ve written since, oh, last April, so it was rough going at first. I confess, though, it was kind of nice to grease the academic wheels and really learn something new.

 So I encourage you, at your own pace, go back and find that high school book. If you are anything like me, you just might enjoy it after all.

Post-Script: That is snow, again. I think I have mild Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am sick and tired of winter, and Virginia officially has its own bipolar issues. Seriously. It is March. In Charleston, it is currently 66 degrees, over double the current temperature here. I’d like to walk outside on a pleasant day, please.

Anniversary & Happenings

I like to play the “What was I doing this time last ____?” Fill in the blank – week, month, year, sometimes up to four years. My memory fails me after that. I happened to be jogging my brain in this exercise this evening, and I have one big celebration to share with you tonight. I realized, and the lovely evidence of archived blogs confirmed, that this time last year, after a day exploring North Carolina family history with my grandfather, I was writing my first blog post. February 9 marks the official one year anniversary of Walking With Jessica. 
This endeavor – blogging – has been more than a phase or the documentation of  a semester of study abroad.  I really think this thing is here to stay. (Though hopefully the header picture of the Google image searched old lady legs is not. Sorry you have to look at that every time. Just haven’t found one I like better.) I began explaining in that first blog how I hate messing up, how after years of struggling with perfectionism, I still fear judgement, and how that had prevented me from writing in the past. Here I am, though, a year later, unafraid of writing or the failure it often entails, and I am appreciative of you – one of the visitors who have wandered on this “cyber path” 6,300 times in the last year. I am honored that you have joined me. I hope you continue not only to check in on my ongoing adventures, but also to learn from my mistakes, take to heart some of my lessons and simply enjoy a good story every once in a while.
With my 7 a.m. alarm clock due to go off in less than eight hours, tonight is no night for stories. I’ve been up to some cool stuff, though, and it would be a shame not to at least share some of that with you. Pictures must suffice.
Wednesday, 2/5
LCWS Field Trip to the Newseum
Largest section of Berlin Wall. I stupidly did not even touch it.
Pulitzer Prize hall was definitely my favorite
When pictures really are worth 1,000 words. There were way more sad ones than happy, but…
 It made me laugh,
Nigeria wins a medal at the Olympics

It made me cry,

Boy in Syria learns his father has been killed

 It ripped my heart out

That man is still alive

 There were some really powerful pictures.

Then on to a House Subcommittee Hearing on America’s future in Asia and Managing Sovereignty Affairs. Painful. And slightly informative.

Thursday, 2/6
After work, I went straight to the Kennedy Center for a Millennium Stage production of Lowland Hum, a North Carolina folk duo. Millennium Stage is a free gig every single night of the year at 6 pm. Yes, I did this by myself. In solitude I have learned that activities, even if you’re not talking, are more fun with a companion. Still, my last-minute spontaneity often leaves me by myself. I will also never let others’ lack of interest determine my activities.

Lauren and Daniel Goans

Friday, 2/7
Sochi Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony and a glass of wine with LCWS people. I’m really trying to hang out with them, too, since I haven’t really done that yet.

 Y’ALL, I MADE THIS POST FOR IJM! 585 likes in a few hours. It later went up to over 700. This pretty much made my night.

 

Saturday, 2/8
Despite the horrendously cold weather this Southern girl is not-so-patiently enduring, I made it out for a run Saturday morning. Not just any run… A trail run! On the Potomac Heritage Trail, to be exact. Even though I am in a big city, I love that genuine nature is still so accessible.

And then…
The National Museum of the American Indian

Best part? The food court. Hands down. It’s divided by all the different Indian regions.

Salmon and brussel sprouts from the Northwest, sweet potato medley from…somewhere else

Who is more fierce?

Bethany
Making LCWS buddies

 And THEN…

Don Giovanni Opera. In Italian. Made me heartsick for Italia. Again.

 Sunday (Today), 2/9
The Falls Church Anglican is my temporary church home while I’m here, and I love it. Instead of the contemporary 11 am, I go to the 9 am traditional service with all the old people, and then I go to Sunday School studying the Book of Mark…with more old people. But they are awesome, very wise, and I’m learning a lot. Let’s all admit it. I’ve always been an old soul at heart. The Barretts befriended me the very first week, and I’ve continued to meet more people since then.

Lunch at Taco District

Joell, Lauren, Melanie (and Wes) – new TFCA friends
After an exhausting Saturday, I finished Sunday off with an episode of Sherlock and Downton Abby. I promise I’m doing (some) homework, too.

The Locust Effect

The first American pioneers were a scrappy, unfortunate lot. For emigrants settling the unknown frontier, there were plenty of very real dangers to those who embarked on the journey; people did not make this trek for kicks. Other than the lustful adventurer or risk-taking businessman, most who left were desperate for new lives, drawn by the allure of free land under the Homestead Act of 1862. Poorer than the dirt they would soon be tilling, these hopefuls believed that with diligence and hard work, fortune would turn in their favor. They staked their plots, sowed seeds and, with a few months of favorable weather, were encouraged by growing, luscious crops. Soon, the farmers would reap a plentiful harvest.
                                               
But no one anticipated the nightmare arriving at noonday. A dark shadow descended from the sky, and in mere minutes, droves of locusts descended upon the land and decimated the farmers’ crops. Almost nothing was salvageable, as one farmer quipped, “They ate everything but the mortgage.” After departing from familiarity and venturing into a new life, after all the grueling manual labor and menial farm preparations – the sunrise to sunset workdays, the aching backs, the lack of resources –,  after the hopeful expectation of a rich harvest season, these pioneers found themselves in a more dire situation than before they moved west.
Today marks the official launch of The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM). With it, the conversation on our approach poverty is about to change. Haugen compares the locusts of the American frontier with a much greater pest present and thriving today – namely the bullies of everyday violence. In the stream of humanitarian efforts toward those living in poverty, a broken leak is significantly reducing the effectiveness of our help. Like locusts destroying unprotected crop, those of power take advantage of the helplessness of the poor. A widow in Zambia cannot utilize donated farm tools if she is a victim of land grabbing. Girls who endure regular sexual assault are not benefiting from their school scholarships. Legal entitlements to the poor in Thailand are of no use if a birth certificate was never issued. A micro-loan entrepreneur cannot run a successful business when he and his family are kidnapped into a brick factory and work fourteen hours a day as modern day slaves.
Everyday violence – this perpetual cloud of fear hovering over the unprotected – is the poor’s constant reality. In America, laws are generally enforced; police seek to protect citizens. Sadly, for the majority of the developing world, this is not the case.  When it is more likely for a rapist to be struck by lightning or slip in the bath tub and die than be imprisoned for his crime, impunity is rampant. In The Locust Effect, Haugen provides a few facts and statistics, but he mainly invites readers to discover the stories of regular poor people. Rather than violence restraining the oppressed from lives of freedom, it is time for us to fix the leak in the system and begin restraining the hand of violence. Fortunately, we are dealing with simple bullies who lack courage. When they realize that there are repercussions for their actions, they back down. Beyond rescue and aftercare for victims, IJM works to imprison perpetrators and create structural transformation within the justice system. Their vision is “to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible.” The exciting part is that IJM is showing that it is possible, and it is happening.
If any of this motivates you or catches your interest, I invite you to join me in three easy actions you can take today.
First, with the launch of The Locust Effect, you can  buy the book*. Not only will all proceeds benefit the mission of IJM, but this week only, for every book bought, a generous IJM supporter will donate $20 to help bring justice to the poor. The goal is to make it on the New York Times Bestseller list – not to brag about book sales, but to gain more credibility and attention behind the concept of protecting the poor from everyday violence.
Second, read the book. Take these stories to heart. Preparing for the launch of The Locust Effect has been the predominate focus of my marketing internship at IJM thus far. Even though I may already know the ideas behind The Locust Effect, I will be joining you in this endeavor. I have heard it’s not the lightest reading (What?! Reading about the tough lives of poor people isn’t for your coffee break? No!), but it is enlightening and important. Together, we can learn more about the problem of everyday violence and begin a more global, united conversation on changing our approach to poverty.
Third, please sign the petition urging the UN to protect the poor from violence as it decides its 2015 long-term goals. It is short, and you can opt out of receiving e-mail updates if you choose.
All of these steps will help you easily engage and begin to join the team of those committed to protecting the poor from violence. This is an exciting time, and momentum for a tidal wave of change is building. You can be a part of it.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.  -Isaiah 1:17

*If you buy more than one book, please buy them from somewhere other than Amazon.com, such as Barnes & Noble. No matter how many books bought at once on Amazon, the whole purchase only counts as one book bought on the bestseller list.