Which made me ponder… What would you give for your freedom, or another’s? We had just opened the studio in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Rebecca, new to our barre classes at the time was lit up by the fit-for-free concept of stimulating freedom and rescue.
The freedom space, as I like to call the studio, was barely two and a half weeks old. We hit the ground running as I returned from a trip with the Exodus Road to get the place open. We were pleasantly surprised that our social enterprise model, “Fit-for-Free” was touching the hearts of clients as they walked through the doors and automatically become ambassadors in the fight for freedom. Their faces lit up as we told them about the trip to SE Asia with The Exodus Road; and the encouraging news that came to us while we were there- that a ring had been taken down, and more children had been rescued by members of the coalition. Again, rescue is happening.
Although about 27 million are estimated to be in slavery worldwide, rescue is happening, and there are unseen warriors on the field actively working to ensure the freedom of more! John, a co-blogger, who blogs at johnflurry.com and I had the privilege of meeting the undercover investigators who could care less about the glory – because they care so much more about the enslaved. They have given up their seen identity, recognition, comfort and safety… those things which are usually important to human existence.
So what exactly was it that Rebecca said? She came to me after a Barre class expressing what she does to get through some of the routines as the intensity increases and her body feels it can’t take it anymore. We usually tell our students to retain control of the core and breathe deeply through the most intense rounds, but Rebecca said she would picture a child trapped in slavery, awaiting rescue, and then decide that this was nothing in comparison to what they have had to endure… and so she would continue. Mmm.
Our clients know that every time they show up for Barre or Karingah! classes to get fit, they are helping someone get free- because we match their attendance with funds to send to our chosen partners – and that’s plenty of motivation. But Rebecca took it to the level that I hope for most – carrying them in our hearts, in our consciousness, in our prayers and in our giving… or giving up of something.
During our expedition to SE Asia, I saw things my imagination had not previously fathomed. I shared a bit of that experience in a previous post on the Think Again Blog, “What are You Doing Here, Lord?”
Don’t get me wrong, my first impression as we landed was the breathtaking beauty of the land, temple architecture; with the serene, respectful disposition of the people; and of course, the merchandise! But then there was the dark contrast on the other side in the brothels that just didn’t add up. It didn’t add up that these young girls weren’t covered or protected anywhere. Exploited by those who held them in captivity as they blended in with the widely available prostitution activities. Exploited by sex tourists and locals who enjoy these services. Exploited by their own people who might have given them up sometimes knowingly to put the next meal on the table. And what about brotherly solidarity? That went out the window as even cab drivers presumptuously offered us portfolios of girls available for sex… you never knew where you would turn and run into the dark offer of poverty– and that was my clue. Poverty. Poverty doesn’t add up. It manifests itself beyond just the lack of money and grips the soul to wickedness, betraying its very self and others for the sake of survival. Poverty in this region offered a solution that pushed many to give up their freedom and conscience, or have it taken away forcefully.
So how can we be a part of the solution? One investigator emphasized the need for support in the target areas of counter-trafficking that need strengthening– Intervention for instance, because if crime is not confronted, it continues unrestrained. “We must equip and prevent, and we also must care and restore, but we must be bold to rescue the ones currently in the jaws of bondage.” Making the industry less lucrative and difficult to get into is a highly preventative solution.
Another investigator touched on a reality that our western world may find harder to swallow because of our increase in the “personal relativity” of moral standards: “Restore/bring change to the moral fiber of the nation” is what he said. “We must confront immorality for what it is and bring reformation to the souls of people by working in partnership with the church out there”. To take it a step further, it’s time to start getting in each other’s business again as a society. It’s not okay that “tourists,” travel overseas because of the widely available unrestrained sex market. Or that the U.S. for example is the top destination for the smuggled and trafficked victims. One person’s pleasure “feeds” knowingly or unknowingly into one another’s captivity or a child’s “stardom” into pornography!
Many reading this post may have never experienced poverty at this level but maybe battled with the mentality. But what would you give up to survive? Your possessions? Time? Dignity? Your kids? It may be hard to say if you’ve never walked in those shoes, and for that I’m thankful that you haven’t had to. So because of that, the more relevant question should again be “what would you give?”
What would you give for your own freedom? Would you give it for another’s?
There are opportunities around you to give… get involved somehow.
P.S. If it’s been too long or you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you in class. The sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we brought the barre to Rancho Cucamonga! Your first trial class is complimentary this January 2015, so click here to reserve
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre