Last time, I told you about how God brought me to San Francisco. I believe He brought me to San Francisco for a reason. Almost as soon as I arrived, I learned to fight human trafficking.
In a previous post, I told you how I got into food initiatives, and how satisfying it is to give the hungry something to eat. It was so fulfilling that I started researching poverty and hunger closely. And then everywhere I looked, I saw a dreadful pattern. Where there was poverty, and people could not feed themselves, there was trafficking.
I couldn’t believe it! (Sometimes Americans can be a little bit clueless, right?) I thought slavery ended with Abe Lincoln, the Civil War, and the Emancipation Proclamation. I thought slavery was over a long time ago. So when I realized that human trafficking is happening right now, in my world, I was shocked. It’s the 21st century, and we are still selling human lives. I got angry! Time out! We’re taking people and we’re using them as product to be consumed? What?!
So I called my buddy in Something to Eat and I said, “Hey man, I know we’ve got this hunger initiative going, but what is the deal with trafficking?” And he told me, “Yeah, it’s actually really bad.” I said, “What do you mean, ‘Really bad?’ I’m reading about 30 million, what?? Thirty million slaves?” (It’s hard to talk when you’re that upset!) And my buddy told me, “I just heard a talk by a guy named Dave Batstone. He runs a group called the Not For Sale Campaign. You should google him.”
Good old Google! My wife and I looked up Not For Sale, and she said, “Hey! Do you see where Dave Batstone is?” I looked and saw Half Moon Bay. He’s a professor at the University of San Francisco. I had just signed with San Francisco, two weeks earlier.
I emailed him, and we had dinner in San Fran before the season. He told me about the cause, and I was hooked. When Dave Batstone speaks and you don’t jump on the movement, you actually don’t feel saved. He talks you into it like that! After he speaks, you find yourself saying, “I’m going to have to rededicate my life to Christ if I don’t help this guy.” He’s so persuasive! So we had dinner and I said, man, I’m in.
It was one dinner, of course. I was in, but I still had to figure out what I needed to do. It wasn’t immediately obvious to me how baseball and abolition were going to connect. But I was ready to explore all the options, because God had opened me up. I am now so open to understanding what it means to love my neighbor as myself, and as a result, I am so willing to try new initiatives. I’ll continue this story next time. See you Thursday.