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*****= An all-time favorite
***Terrify No More
by Gary A. Haugen
with Gregg Hunter
Reviewed March 5, 2006.
Thomas Nelson Publishers,
Available at Sembach Library (MCN 306.74 HAU).
This book tells the amazing work of International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to bringing justice to oppressed people all over the world.<>The book focuses especially on one operation—raiding the brothels of Svay Pak, where girls as young as five or six years old are forced to perform sex acts on tourists from all over the world. The people of International Justice Mission needed to get evidence on video of the pimps offering the girls. They needed to find out where to find the young girls. They needed to line up police help for a raid, and to line up care for the girls after they were rescued, as well as be available to help prosecute the perpetrators, to get the message out that trafficking in human beings would not be tolerated.
Besides the main story, the book told about other work IJM has done in other parts of the world. They risk their lives and safety in order to help the oppressed.
The story this book told was compelling, but I didn’t really like the way it was written, with chapters skipping around to different places and different stories, weaving the Svay Pak story all through the book. I would have rather they told each story in one uninterrupted narrative. But that didn’t detract from the powerful message. It’s shocking how much slavery and exploitation is still going on in the world today. (I reviewed a children’s novel on this topic called Iqbal.) And it’s beautiful to read about what these people are doing to rescue these precious lives.
In a powerful closing last chapter, Gary Haugen tells how, confronted by suffering, he went from asking “Where is God?” to asking “Where are God’s people?”
He says, “Given all the power and resources that God has placed in the hands of humankind, I find myself sympathizing with a God who, speaking through the ancient prophet, told his people, ‘You have wearied the Lord with your words . . . by saying, . . . “Where is the God of justice?”’ (Malachi 2:17 NIV). Increasingly, I feel quite sure of the whereabouts of God. My tradition tells of a Father in heaven who refused to love an unjust world from a safe distance, but took his dwelling among us to endure the humility of false arrests, vicious torture, and execution. This is the God who could be found as ‘a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering’ (Isaiah 53:3 NIV). The more I have come to know him, the harder it has become for me to ask such a God to explain where he has been. In fact, surprisingly, I don’t generally hear the victims of abuse doubting the presence of God either. Much more often I hear them asking me, ‘Where have you been?’”
He also talks about the joy of doing this work. “There are moments when we sense the call to goodness. Our hearts are moved by the suffering of others, and we are drawn to engage the struggle for rescue and love and justice. It resonates not so much as a duty, but as an honor, a gift, and the deepest satisfaction of the soul. And so our Maker has prepared it for us. Not that such human suffering is prepared for our amusement. Never. But that even in such a fallen world of wickedness and pain as this, there is joy to be extracted by getting into the saddle with our Lord, gripping the reins, and riding into the battle. Indeed, it is the very reason for the journey and for our very being. We were created for good works, prepared beforehand that we might ride in them.”
You can find out more about International Justice Mission at their website, www.ijm.org.
Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund. All