MESA, Colo. (Christian Examiner) – Pastor Marc Maurer of Mesa View Bible Church took a mission team in 2010 to Nepal to help relieve malnutrition and while there discovered the effects of modern human slavery.
Mesa View Bible, an activist church that grew out of a recreational ministry atop Grand Mesa, on the Western Slope of Colorado, sent the team out to help a missionary whom Maurer and co-pastor Matt Guedes knew was serving in Nepal.
"As I began to research the country, I discovered that the nation's recent civil war [1996-2006] and continuing political corruption had left tens of thousands of children orphaned, on the streets and malnourished," Maurer told Christian Examiner. "So our initial thought was to review the problem and, should the Lord lead, then meet those needs."
Once in Kathmandu, Nepal, however, the Mesa View team learned the orphaned children were being gathered, cleaned up at a number of small "orphanages," and sold into slavery: either to do manual labor in mines in nearby China or India, or into the sex trade.
"The most vivid image I have in my heart is of a homeless woman in her mid-20s, sleeping on a park bench in the middle of the day, in a place where the surroundings more resemble a landfill than a place of repose," Maurer said. "There she will remain the rest of her natural life. To survive she sells peanuts and her body, though she is HIV and STD positive.
"There is no social safety net for her to turn to, no agency to help her out, no hospital that will admit her for treatment," Maurer continued. "She's been rejected by her family, friends and the culture simply because she was kidnapped as a young girl, beaten, drug-addicted, forced into sexual slavery, and then discarded like human trash when she was no longer an asset."
The pastor, who also works as an architect, said he was "overwhelmed" to learn she was one of about 200,000 estimated to have been sent to brothels over the last decade, and that tens of thousands more in Nepal, alone, are added each year.
"To see photos of human suffering in the comfort of one's own home, office or church is one thing," Maurer said. "It's easy to turn the page and walk away, as I had done so many times before, but it's not until you are out of your comfort zone, immersed in their world, and confronted with their misery and their pleas for help, that you can no longer ignore the problem.
"That's when a real passion rises up inside you and confronts you with the realization that taking action is no longer an option."
Maurer said he knows "the only thing that will bring lasting change is the spread of the gospel message infused with the power of the Spirit of God," but that doesn't negate the need for Christians to show the compassion of Christ when they see people who are hurting.
Over the last four years, Beyond The Giant has helped to fund an orphanage where up to 14 children live in a Christ-honoring home. In addition, a Christ-centered safe house and recovery center for up to six women has been established by the Colorado-based ministry.
Beyond The Giant also provides leadership, discipleship and church health conferences for national pastors and leaders, many of whom are illiterate.
See www.BeyondTheGiant.org for more information about getting involved in this ministry.