Chet Lowe, Outreach Pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, was formerly a missionary in Liberia during the civil war. He was shot at, put on trial and in the middle of hell. But nothing was as horrific as having a teenage pimp pushing a 12-year old girl on him for sex.
"I was dumbfounded at the evil, the liquid darkness that surrounded that situation. And my heart was breaking because I knew that even though I didn't accept the offer, some other man would," said Pastor Lowe.
Q: Your church held a Compassion Sunday event in which 1,300 children were sponsored. How does sponsorship help combat child trafficking?
A: Poverty is the number one cause for children being trafficked. I know one African family, for example, that was abandoned by the father. To survive, the oldest daughter became a prostitute and the two youngest children were given away. That's what happens in developing countries when people are struggling to survive. Morality becomes skewed when you're hungry. Calvary Chapel sees Compassion, the mission of which is to release children from poverty in Jesus' name, as an effective prevention against poverty and, therefore, a prevention against trafficking.
Q: Why do you think Christians in America should get involved in this cause?
A: It's a cause that reflects the heart of God, and it's every Christian's duty to grow into the heart of God. The problem of global trafficking is overwhelming, so we tackle it one child at a time. When the Lord provides us the opportunity to make a difference in one child's life, we do it. Our church members sponsored 1,300 children. What if every church did the same thing? Just think of the impact the American church could have on trafficking prevention!
Q: What is it about Compassion's mission that resonates with the mission of Calvary Chapel?
A: It's the fact that Compassion rescues children in Jesus' name. That's very important. You can rescue children from trafficking, but unless you fill the void of their hearts, it's just a good work. Only the Church, preaching the gospel, can rescue and also bring restoration and redemption to children.
A personal example of that is my oldest son, one of three boys my wife and I adopted from Liberia. When we adopted him, he was 10 years old. He had been a child soldier since he was 5. He loved to fight and his M16 was like a toy. When he was 17, he was invited to a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New York. They really grilled him, saying that he must have psychological problems. Some said that he should be in prison for what he did. But my son stood before that meeting and testified, I have been completely redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Through Calvary Chapel's connection with Compassion, we want to champion a movement to influence the American church to connect with the worldwide Church and the Holy Spirit in rescuing, restoring and redeeming children who have suffered the worst scars of the world. We know that in God's economy, even the worst of scars can be turned into hope and strength to minister to others.