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Is This Right?

Take the next 5 minutes and 32 seconds to yourself. Put on headphones, get yourself to a quiet place, whatever. Put the above video on full screen and just watch. Don't put it on, and click back to it occasionally while also checking your facebook, IM'ing with your friend, doing whatever kind of multi-tasking that you do while you're reading my blog (it's okay, I click around a lot too, possibly more than you).

Today, though, I want you to be quiet and listen and watch and think and pray and cry and understand.

Victoria Rae, of UNICEF UK, says of the above video, "We want people to think about their own childhood and see what everyday life is like for so many children around the world. This film is a window into a different day-to-day world - it's a childhood where there is no school summer holidays because children don't go to school. These are children who are missing out their basic rights - to learn, to clean water, to be healthy, to be looked after and just to be a child. ... The question is simple - is this right?"

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Living in Japan, I have to be honest and admit that I've sort of lost a little steam in the movement against human trafficking, against child exploitation. Being caught up in moving to a new country, being unable to read labels and unable to ask questions about production, being surrounded by a concentration on style and fashion and a society that is so incredibly private that you can't even see gardens from the road...all this has distracted me from what I believe is my real purpose in this life - to help better the lives of those around me.

Flying into Japan, on the customs form and again at the airport, I had to declare that I was bringing no child pornography into the country. The exploitation of children for one's own benefit is a very real problem to the Japanese government, one they are slowly cracking down on. Granted, making people check yes or no on a customs form is probably one of the most ridiculous ways to enforce such a code, but it's a step in the right direction, even if it is just a baby step.

I'm going to see a lot more of this world in the coming years. I will be in South Korea in less than 5 weeks. I will be in Australia in February. I still plan on traveling to Taiwan, China, and possibly Cambodia/Thailand (the university chaplain here leads missions to Cambodia). I am sure I will see more of the suffering of this world, just as I saw in India. But I will also see a lot of the beauty, grace and mercy that we can offer to our fellow human beings.

Today, take a few minutes to realize your impact in the world. To realize how connected you are not only to those in your immediate neighborhood, but to the children of poverty in India, Cambodia, North Korea, Thailand, Cameroon, South Africa, Bangladesh...all over the world.

Ask yourself: Is this right?


  1. It does seem you are in a place where you can't do much to further the cause. Due to the language barrier and the fact that it's a country that doesn't value the opinions of outsiders, especially with regards to policy, I doubt you'll be able to do much. I've met more than one person who felt Japan was a bit of an indulgence.

    So does this mean you are considering coming home after a year?

  2. Nah, my contract is for 2 years, so I'm staying for that long.

    I think Japan's a good stretching experience for me, so it'll be interesting to just learn about the culture.


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