I have always had a love for the musketeers. They unite and run valiantly into battle to fight for the freedom of the underdog.
In a recent interview I was asked a very real and confronting question. What difference can we possibly make to a problem that is so big?
We were discussing the issues around Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery. The world is in a crisis where over 27 million are being sold not just for sex but for slave labour and even organ donation and for nothing more than a small financial reward. Yes I did say 27 Million, that is insane!
What makes me possibly think that a do-gooder from the sleepy Sunshine Coast can make any difference to the rapid de-humanisation of the female species?
When put like that, it does make me want to pack up and go home right away. I mean I seriously have to question myself as to why on earth should I even try? Why should I get out of bed each day, go to my office, and work to all hours trying to do something to ease their pain?
I have dreams of making a difference but let’s be realistic here, what hope do I have of changing the future of 27 million people?
Of course, I didn’t respond with these negative defeatist comments in my interview but it didn’t stop them from coming into my mind.
I paused for a moment and really considered my answer.
I do actually believe that one person can make a difference.
So if I believe I can make a difference how then do I stay motivated to keep trying when the problem is so overwhelming?
It is the same reason why the musketeers run head on into battle when the odds are not in their favour. It seems stupid to the rest of the world but somehow makes sense to them.
Staying motivated to believe I can make a difference, is one of the biggest challenges I faced throughout my five years of building Embrace, the UK charity for Sex workers.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear stories of women that have overdosed, been murdered or kidnapped.
You have to constantly fight your own personal feelings of hopelessness.
I once took a relative out on my weekly outreach rounds to connect and feed the girls while they were out working late one Monday evening. This is the first time they had ever seen me in action and seen the relationship that I was forming.
They were really embracing the experience and jumping out of the car to talk to the women at any opportunity they could get. I loved watching them engage and communicate and felt they were really understanding my motivation behind doing this.
At the end of the evening I turned to them and said “So, what do you think? to my surprise their response was not the endorsement I was hoping for, it wasn’t the pat on the back I thought I might get. No their response was the most demotivating comment I had ever heard.
They responded with “It seems like a whole lot of effort for very little reward”
That comment pierced me like a knife right into my heart.
The very person that I longed to understand and endorse my decision to help these girls was the very one that questioned my why.
This was like a catalyst that exploded my thoughts into a downward spiral of questioning.
Why do this what is the point? I can only help a few but I can’t help them all. Should I just give up now and save myself time and effort? I almost gave up at that point.
I searched the Bible for the answer. I needed to know if now was the time to throw in the towel.
There is a scripture in the book of Matthew that really spoke to me at this time.
It said “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me” this felt like Jesus was talking directly to me to encourage me that no matter what I do big or small to help others it matters. I am actually doing it for Jesus himself.
There was my answer, I must continue.
I felt challenged with this question, ‘if I was told before I started that all this time, effort and money would only affect one person, would I still have done it?”
I thought hard about this and started to picture the ones I had already helped. I looked at how their lives were flourishing, how they had their lives back.
What price do you put on that? I soon decided that yes I would.
I may not be able to change the world but I can certainly change the world of the ones that I can help.
I now don’t think of the mass numbers and statistics that can easily scare me off or make me think that my efforts are not worth the return.
I think of the faces of the ones that I do know. The faces of the ones that are still trapped in their chains.
The ones that represent the many millions of girls just like them. It is for these ones that I will continue to fight and do all I possibly can to give them the best chance at a free life.
It is for the Sophie’s and the Gemma’s and the Anna’s and the Sarah’s of this world that make me keep going.
If there is one thing we can learn from The musketeers it is that they never went into battle alone. They encouraged each other, united together and always defeated the odds.