I will never forget watching the Dateline special while I was in Thailand. I still remember sitting in my apartment clear on the other side of the world, being so amazed by the evidence that was there and the conviction that came. I prayed so much that night. I prayed for justice, I prayed for peace, and I prayed for protection.
I didn't know that his release would come when I was yet again on the other side of the world. As I watched the events unfold via FB and the news I just simply was in awe. Honestly I couldn't peel myself away from the social media. I was watching the live blog while trying to do my best to get my students to and from specials in a timely manner. I couldn't believe what was happening. I couldn't believe that he was finally being set free.
Then I thought, I thought about all the tears that had been shed by his family. The thousands of miles that they drove, the hundreds of dollars that they probably spent. I thought about the things they probably heard, the things Ryan probably heard. I thought about how hard it must be to get up everyday and keep fighting, for 10 years!!! How hard it must be to stand by and watch your son live out his 20's in prison for something that he didn't do. I thought about what that must feel like, and I just felt a loss because honestly I can't imagine that much pain. I can't imagine that much heartache, day in and day out for a decade. Having hope that justice would be served on numerous occassions and then having the door slammed in your face. I just can't imagine.
I don't know Ryan personally. I have friends who know him and his family after all I did grow up in Columbia. But I feel like I know him. I feel like social media has allowed me to get a glimpse into his soul. To understand the honesty that is in the way he smiles and the way he answers questions. I watched an interview today and I was just in awe and the way he spoke and loved. He simply did not show anger, or even one bit of arrogance. I had to say a little prayer of thanks. I have no idea why God allowed Ryan to stay in jail for so long, but I know that it was for a reason. I know that someone has had their life changed for the better because of Ryan's experience.
Then I got to thinking about how much effort and love were put into setting Ryan free. Don't get me wrong I am so glad...and I know it is not over for him. I completely agree that they should keep fighting. But I wonder if as many people are standing up for the children in the world that are being put in prison everyday. Maybe not a physical prison, but an emotional one. The children that have to work for their food, and not any kind of work that an educated adult would take. The children and women that are sold as slaves for others pleasure.
What are we doing for them? Are we putting this same kind of energy and passion into helping them?
I know I probably am not. I sometimes get so complacent about it. Like it is just something that happens. Being in the Philippines I feel like I am constantly surrounded by people that are living a lifestyle I don't agree with. You know what I mean the 80 year old men with the 20 year old women (actually some of them look 15). It sickens me, yet what am I doing about it?
Am I paying as much attention to the posts that I get about human trafficking as I did about the Ferguson case?
I can tell you that I am not. Why? I honestly wish that I knew. But I don't have the answer for that...at least not today.
For now, just like I did for Ryan back when I was in Thailand...I will pray for those that are slaves, and those that right at this moment are being forced into a lifestyle that is not their choice. I will pray for freedom, and I will pray that God would show me and everyone around the world what He wants us to do.
Just like this case...maybe it will take longer than 10 years...but we can't stop fighting....we have to press on, because in the end the effort is worth whatever sacrifice we must make.