Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Means Baseball!

The cherry blossoms have come and gone, but I still have pictures of them to share, so we can enjoy them for one more day! All of these shots were taken at school with the exception of the last one, taken in our apartment complex. We have another busy week ahead of us with the start of May. The goodbyes are beginning already, starting with our beloved HR director and his family this week. We also have the start of the spring festivities at school with our staff picnic this week as we celebrate Korean Labor Day on Wednesday.

Eric's baseball season has begun again. And that means the busy season has begun. All three of them wait all week for Saturdays. The other day, before I got out of bed, Cade came in and told me I needed to get up so that we could go to Daddy's baseball game. I reminded him that it was Friday, so it wasn't game day. Daddy had gone to school, not baseball.

By the time I got out of bed, Cade was dressed. When I went to his room, I saw that his baseball clothes--the shirt that he calls his baseball jersey and a specific pair of pants--were on his bed. He had even been dressed for baseball, just a day too early.

At the end of every game, Cade gets to play catch and maybe even hit a few balls. He's always a bit impatient for the game to end for that reason.

After the last game, he was eager to go play catch, so he had his glove and ball ready when the guys came off the field. He asked me if he could go down to where Eric was, and I told him that he could. He put his hand on his hip and leaned into it and told me, "He's in a conversation, I think. I'll wait a few minutes." I was so impressed with his patience, his language, and his understanding of the situation. What a kid.

This year, a lot of the guys in the Seoul Baseball League are raising money for Not For Sale (NFS)--one of the bigger anti-human trafficking organizations in the US. There are a few MLB players that are spokesmen for NFS, so it has trickled into baseball.

Not For Sale is a great organization--they are probably the most well-known organization in the US because they work so hard to create awareness of human trafficking in the US and around the world. They are probably most well-known for their evaluation of supply chains, allowing consumers to be more aware of what kind of company they are buying from. They even have an app, Free2Work, that allows you to scan the barcode of your product and find out how responsible a company is, in terms of forced labor and labor trafficking. This way, when you are trying to decide between two products: Hanes or Fruit of the Loom, you can scan the barcode and determine which company you would rather support, based on their ethics rather than just their price and quality.

One of the organizations that is not as well known is the International Justice Mission (IJM). This past winter, during our high school spiritual emphasis week, we had a speaker, Brian, from IJM come to the school for a week. As it happened, we were just beginning The Kite Runner in class, and we had been discussing human trafficking, drug trafficking, and prostitution in Afghanistan. I was able to have Brian come into my classes for a day and talk to my students about trafficking all over the world--and more importantly, how they can get involved in stopping it.

Brian really did a great job of explaining to the kids how extensive the problem is in the world, as well as how easy it is for them to get involved and do something. He talked to them about the numbers worldwide and the rate at which it is being eliminated and told them that theirs can and should be the generation that sees the end of human trafficking globally. The world is much smaller for these TCKs who have been to many of countries where trafficking is occurring on a daily basis.

Of course, some of my students were not convinced. We've been talking about slavery since the beginning of the year when we read Uncle Tom's Cabin. We've also talked a lot about the impact that one person can have on the world, and some of them simply believe that they can't have an impact on the world--not without a lot of money or a lot of people listening to them. We talked about Vivienne Harr--an 8-year-old girl on a mission to end child slavery with her homemade lemonade stand.

After spending much of the school year talking about this, we knew it was time to actually DO something. Which brings me back to baseball. This year, Eric and I are donating money to IJM for every strikeout that he has. It's a fun way for us to get involved in a mission that we care about, and it's a great example for our kids and our students.

You can read more about IJM at, but this was the organization we chose, both because of the personal connection that I made and because it is one of the organizations that is actually out in the world, doing something to end human trafficking. IJM has offices in more than 16 cities around the world, including many in South Asia: the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and India. They work to get victims out of the situation, then provide rehabilitation and aftercare for them. Additionally, they are one of the only organizations that works to ensure that there is perpetrator accountability, as well as structural transformation in the country in which they are working. If you would like to get involved with our newest mission, you can check out Eric's page here

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