Lift Up the Vulnerable (LUV) is a movement of transformation that lifts up the most vulnerable to human trafficking and all forms of oppression.
LUV goes where children and women are at the highest risk to exploitation but where little to no other help is available because it is considered either too dangerous or too remote for most organizations to go. This unique call has led us to the warzones and lawless lands of Sudan and South Sudan.
LUV lifts those vulnerable to exploitation with life-saving practical and spiritual care that empowers and equips them on their journey toward peace and possibility making.
To do this, LUV stands with a strong Christian indigenous leadership team from communities that have experienced systematic oppression for decades by power structures meant to represent them but instead profit from their exploitation.
Some of our partners, their staff, and the children we are lifting up together have been conscripted as child soldiers; been falsely accused and sent to jail without trial; survived genocide enacted by their own government because of their religion, the color of their skin, or their tribe; endured sexual slavery at the hands of the military; lost family members in raids; and so many other atrocities that we couldn’t even imagine having to endure…
These men and women dedicated to serving the most vulnerable have been hard pressed on every side. It’s essential and the heart of LUV to listen to their experiences and learn from them.
After the most recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, I asked our indigenous directors and Eugenio from LUV’s Kenya team what thoughts they had about racism in the USA and if what they were reading about black lives matter in the news matched their experiences. Here is some of what they had to offer:
From James Lual Atak, indigenous director of New Life Ministry (along the border of Darfur):
It is not just racism that will kill humanity but hate that makes people turn into emotional vampires and turns brother against a brother. It only gets worse when [hate] is now defined as racism simply because color is involved. This has come about through society definitions and racism would always follow a certain pattern, either from parenting, or laid down rules. Racism or bullying starts from the schools, institutions, home, and, now worse than ever, the police targeting blacks…
The USA is a great nation she is known to be a force to reckon with in the whole world. Its development over the years has been immensely contributed by immigrants. When a country decides to follow the path of discrimination and imposing injustice, the world is watching. Why are there double standards when it comes to people of color? Has the law failed USA?
I know I may not be able to bring change in America but whoever is reading this should exercise brotherhood irrespective of their race. You have been a blessing to the most vulnerable in the world. How would you want to care for your own people? I trust and pray that kind of incident will not happen again and this requires everyone’s participation.”
From Eugenio Kirima, Chief Program Officer in Kenya:
“I have been following up what is happening in the USA and it is saddening. I am praying for God’s intervention. I believe racial discrimination is evil simply because no one chooses where to be born and by who. As a Christian, I believe we are created in the image of God and therefore one should see the image of God before seeing the skin color.”
NOTE: Ezekiel Ayub, indigenous director of Our Father’s Cleft wasn’t available at the time of this writing for comment because he was assisting Tom in the safe delivery of the food for our children and without access to electricity or internet. We are so thankful that God continues to make a way for the impossible to become possible. In this case, the food and supplies safely reached the Nuba Mountains of Sudan just one day before the rains would have stopped the journey. Thank you for your prayers!
From Peter Lomago, indigenous director of Hope For South Sudan (along the border of Uganda):
“What the police officer did to George Floyd was an act of racism, it is a clear indication that racial discrimination does exist in the USA. It reminded me of the history in the 1960’s when Martin Luther King Jr could not hold it any longer and demanded a basic right to vote as citizens but was denied systematically but later was granted when all the races united together as a nation not as people of colors, but children of God with the approach of non-violence. In our country, it is a tribal discrimination. Unfortunately, we do not have a forum to speak it out loud for security reasons.
Our partners must know that we are voicing it out in a different way by establishing centers of mentorship, care, and education to prepare the generation to be good advocates for peace, love, and fight against forms of injustices existing in the country as a nation, not as tribes.”
Always stronger together, we at Lift Up the Vulnerable unite with you in solidarity because we can all agree that human trafficking, exploitation of the vulnerable, and systemic oppression is full stop wrong.
We each have a part to play in ending injustice, binding up the brokenhearted, advancing a movement of agape love, and, as Peter Lomago writes, to “voice it out in a different way”—uniting together to live out love in action and in truth.
There is pain in our world that we must make space for and learn from.
This is a sacred time of holy trouble and transformation* for all who are willing to listen with the ears of their heart and commit to a journey of understanding.
The world is uniting to declare that black and brown lives more than matter but are worthy, beloved, essential, needed, and to be celebrated.
More is required from each of us to grow Christ’s boundless love.
Here are steps you can take to lift up the vulnerable today:
1. Put your wallet where your heart is by supporting organizations like LUV, that are helping and advocating for the vulnerable at-risk to human trafficking and oppression. DONATE NOW
2. Get Others Involved: A movement doesn’t happen all on its own. We need your help to let others know about LUV, by word of mouth, email, and social media. Share the stories of how God is moving in Sudan and South Sudan and that the impossible is possible.
3. Engage and Understand: Learning about systems of oppression and pathways for transformation is an important way to engage and understand the issues affecting communities locally and abroad. Click here for resource suggestions to help you and your children or grandchildren on the journey. Send us your suggestions too as we continue to learn and engage in understanding.
Commit to join the movement of LUV today… for Love in Action is the only power that can transform this world—indeed, Love is the only power that ever has.
For they will know us by our Love,
Chief Executive Officer
*”Trouble and Transformation” respectfully copied from Rev. Mark Fowler, CEO of Tanenbaum Center (which awarded James Lual Atak the Peacemaker in Action Award in 2018) because it names so well the current conversations taking place.