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Self-centeredness. Something that is so prevalent in our world today.
When all you think about is yourself and your own peace and comfort, you miss out on what is going on in the world around you.
When it’s about me and my own comfort, it’s hard to make room for anything else.
Each day, I discover ways in which I display selfishness. I don’t even realize the depth of my selfishness at times. It may be because I’m simply not aware of it, or I am deluding myself of its existence.
Sometimes it’s easier to just not think or care. It takes much less work and discomfort that to stop and try to grasp the reality of immense human suffering that we do not encounter personally, such as human trafficking.
During the month of May, LB AACF (Long Beach Asian American Christian Fellowship), had the opportunity of working with Freedom House to help develop awareness of human trafficking on the Cal State Long Beach campus. First off, we sold stickers (designed by Eunice Kim) at an information booth and handed out brochures providing more details on human trafficking. Through the booth, we were able to have conversations with various people on campus about the conditions and reality of trafficking. As we shared with others, we ourselves were reminded of what the victims are going through on a daily basis.
According to Eunice, the goal for the stickers was about 300-500 dollars. With everyone’s combined efforts, AACF was able to raise 500 dollars by the last day of the week. She stated, “It was so great to see people come out of their comfort zones for a truly amazing cause. I think it was especially special for AACF because it was our first time. We are usually within our comfort zone and within our little bubble. If we are ministering to others, we are usually doing it by ourselves. But for this sticker/awareness booth, we gathered our strengths and as one team, as one body, we set to accomplish the goal, to spread awareness about human trafficking.”
Another AACF member, Traci Matsushima, shared that partnering with Freedom House was by far one of her favorite events AACF had done in her three years involved in the club.
She continued, saying, “The heart behind the Freedom House organization not only inspired us to raise our voices against human trafficking, but to take a stand against social injustice issues altogether. As college students, we had the privilege of spreading this awareness and passing on the inspiration to fellow peers on the campus of Cal State Long Beach. From fraternity members to our very own professors, we were amazed and encouraged by the amount of people who stopped by to donate money or to be informed by how they can lend further help.”
In addition to the booth, a group of the club members, also led by Eunice Kim, facilitated an event called “Running Man”, which was a campus athletic event to create further awareness of human trafficking and Freedom House’s efforts to aid trafficking victims. Although many students were unable to attend (including myself), the attendees mentioned that the event went well. One AACF member, Chrisaput Sean, stated that the people that were there were committed to the cause, that it was a time of recognizing those that are being abused everyday, and that they were able to pray together as a group.
Through these events, we were all reminded of the need for immediate attention toward human trafficking. We also realized that there are still some people that don’t even know that it occurs! And another thought that crossed my mind following the events was that we don’t often stop to think about pain or suffering. The usual thought on a college student’s mind may be: “What am I going to eat for lunch today?” or “Dang, I have so much work to get done today.” But the thoughts of “How can I help prevent human trafficking?” or “Who might be undergoing unfathomable struggles at this very moment?” may not often cross our minds. I, for one, was aware of human trafficking before these events and had always felt a desire to help after watching a documentary or hearing others talk about it – but it would eventually dwindle away as other thoughts consumed my mind. It is clear that we need to constantly remind ourselves of the reality and severity of human trafficking… and that we can’t stay confined to our own selfish needs and thoughts.
We need to set aside visions of self-gratification, and pursue the bigger picture with those around us. AACF was able to grasp a glimpse of this through partnering with Freedom House, and hopefully we will all continue to strive toward working together as a community to live not only for ourselves, but for all of God’s people.