In the queue at security in Abu Dhabi Jason got chatting as he always does to the man next to us. Turns out he’s English been living here for 3 Yrs on his way home and then on to another job oversees. In the short 5 mins we were talking he drops in the conversation some of the truth beneath the glitz of Abi Dhabi. He said that he had visited ‘labour camps’, his words, outside of the city one of which has 65000 men in it. He saw 16 men share one shack with a toilet. Mainly people from other countries. As I sit here in an unbelievably hot aeroplane on my way to Delhi I’m wondering just how many of those men are there by choice. I don’t mean the lack of choice due to poverty as terrible as that is. My question is how many are there against their will, enslaved, bought and sold by others as slaves? How many thought they were going to a better life or to provide for their families only to beaten and forced into slave labour with no hope of escape.
Maybe I’m just tired and hot and my mind is getting carried away. Or is it possible that this random conversation with a man from Yorkshire unearthed again the deep work that God is doing in my heart to see the captives freed. I can guarantee that I’m going to dig a bit further and try and find out. My memory is poor but I do recall a documentary about the boom over here and the amount of migrant workers from india and the surrounding countries who came for work and then find themselves totally trapped especially in recent years when the boom bust. I’ll try and dig it up when I go home and attach a link.
The problem is that the more God confronts me with the huge problem of slavery and trafficking the more the need inside my head and heart to do something about intensifies. This is not just an issue of women enslaved in prostitution although that’s the big earner for those who deal in people. Boys and men are kidnapped, abused and forced to work for the profit of others too against their will.
One of my hopes for this trip is more accidental, coincidental (or as our friend DD says God-incidental) encounters that point me to the heart of the Father who is among the broken and the captive and the poor and the weak and the hungry and the distressed. I want to find Him there and then I long for him to wreck me – all of me. To wreck my mind which needs to comprehend. To wreck my soul that longs for my comfort. And to wreck my heart that would rather not feel the pain of others thank you very much.
Pray for me too that I can keep my heckles under control. At the same security gate we watched a security staff member be openly rude and disrespectful to a woman travelling on her own. Funny part Jason started whispering to me as soon as he saw it ‘Chelle we need to get past this guy and get our plane, don’t react!’ He knows me well. He knows the heart that beats inside my chest. He also knows the lioness in me that can jump to defend the weak and sometimes cause a row in the process.