End It

The sex trafficking industry, like any other, is supply and demand – so let’s cut off the demand. Let’s change a culture and save generations to come.

How do we cut off the demand?

We change a culture.

From the inside out.

It’s not a behavioral fix.

It’s not another rule to enforce.

The problem isn’t poverty.

The problem isn’t violence.

The problem isn’t even lust.

The problem is belief.

What do you believe??

Those who are trapped in the bondage of slavery (bondage of any kind: those who are sold and purchased and those who buy and sell others) only find themselves there because somewhere along the line, they believed the lie of “worthless” – “unloved” – “unvalued” – “ugly” – “this is the only way” – “hopeless”…

While, all along, the Truth is they are

 LOVABLE, VALUABLE, CAPABLE, REDEEMABLE

Jesus alone satisfies.

Jesus always has been and always will be The Answer.

It takes more than words to change a belief.

It takes an encounter with the Truth.

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An Actual Dashboard Confessional

September, 2008

Friday, baby! My tires squealed as we shot out of the school parking lot and into traffic. Our music was so loud it hurt our ears, but we kept turning it up because that’s what you do in high school. My best friend, Sarah, and I were at our peak. This was the life. It was the beginning of our last year in school together, and we were determined to soak up every moment of it. We had not a care in the world.

I looked to my left as a truck pulled up next to us. It’s all over. It was a truck full of boys. “Cute boys” (I may have rolled my eyes at myself in that very moment). I nudge Sarah and suddenly we were all smiling and nodding and giggling and looking at each other… We began to “car-flirt”. You know: cutting each other off, pulling up next to each other, racing, seeing who can play their music louder… This went on for several miles.

I’m not sure if Sarah and I ever felt cooler than we did in these moments. Speeding down the road, listening to whatever pop songs were cool at the time, and flirting with a truck-full of cute boys. We ended up stopped at a red light, with a truck in front of my car and the truck of boys right next to us. We’re all laughing and I was looking over at the boys when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the traffic light turn green. I felt this rush of adrenaline as I thought to myself, “This is it, I’m so gonna smoke them!!” And I just FLOOR it! But….. the truck in front of me did not just “FLOOR” it. They didn’t move at all actually. So immediately after I slam my foot down onto my gas pedal as hard as I can – BAM!! – I hit the back of the truck in front of me. Selah.

I turn my head in embarrassment as the truck of boys pulls away, laughing. I’m not sure if Sarah and I ever felt more uncool than we did in that moment…

“If you’re not laughing at life, you’re taking it too seriously!” – Pastor Steve Munds

Merie Kellina

(That’s what really happened, Mom and Dad. Sorry! Haha!)

First Stop: Finland!

June 17, 2011


I have been in a lot of airports in my life… Since I was two years old, I have been flying internationally and I have been in airports all over the world. Never – never! – have I gotten as lost as I did in Helsinki, Finland.

In all actuality, I’m sure the airport was very clear in giving directions and it was probably nowhere near as confusing as it seemed to us at the time. However, the only catch to reading signs in Finnish is that you have to be able to read Finnish. We wandered for hours.

No joke.

Hours.

… At least one hour.

After three or so laps around the airport and a couple futile attempts to ask for directions, we conquered! I stepped out of the airport and right into the familiar sights of my childhood: cobblestone streets, european cars, colorful houses with fascinating architecture, a city marketplace, nonsocial and unfriendly people… It was all so beautiful! The wildest part of the whole day was that we had skipped the night before. What? No worries, I can explain – as we flew from America to Europe, we skipped nighttime and it was now the middle of the next day. None of us had slept and we would not sleep until that night, to adjust our internal clocks to being on the opposite side of the world. As we trekked through the city searching for food and trying to reach the Baltic Sea, I had this fuzzy feeling like the world was all moving at hyper-speed but also moving in slow motion at the same time. If you don’t know what this feels like, then attend a summer camp and stay awake the whole drive home. (Am I right?!)

We ended up eating McDonald’s and Subway for lunch and dinner (because where else would we eat in Europe?) annnnd a seagull pooped on my water bottle. Classic.

[Be ye warned: Helsinki seagulls are practically creatures from the Hunger Games – don’t let them see that you have food!]

Noticing later that there was bird poop on my water bottle, I did the only sensible thing that one could do in that situation: I tilted my water bottle sideways to look at it. After I had taken the lid off of course. I dumped water all over the floor of the store we were in. Reeaal smooth. We should probably leave. Now-ish.

Well, as Pastor Steve Munds always says: “ENJOY THE JOURNEY!” Finland was just a layover spot for us, but we sucked that city dry. We pushed past the fatigue and lived that day to the fullest. A friend of mine once told me that a runner never finishes the race and regrets giving their all. That revelation changed me – I will not get to the end of this life and regret all the hours of sleep that I did not get!

Enjoy your journey today 🙂

– Merie

(If you’d like more information about or if you’d like to give towards my next trip to Indonesia, please email me at merie.kellina@yahoo.com!)


Back To The Start

Four years ago, at 19 years of age, I went on my first mission trip. It also happened to be the very first mission trip that GO Ministries had ever organized and taken it’s own interns on. I was in awe. How had I been selected to go on this trip? My heart was humbled and my hands were shaking as we gathered in the dining hall of our ranch in Mora, Minnesota for our “send-off” meeting. It was one of those moments when you know that what is being said is so important but your mind is racing so quickly in excitement that it barely catches three sentences out of twenty. Good thing I took notes!

The nation we were going to was 88% Muslim at the time. 88%. It is illegal to evangelize in Indonesia, you do not want to get caught by the wrong people! It is such a different culture there, these are people who need freedom. They do not have freedom of religion like we have in America. They are not a nation under God. (Not yet!) They serve lifeless statues that do nothing for them. All that those foreign “gods” ever do is take life. My God is the only true God. And the only God who gives. What does He give? Life. Health. Money. Peace. Joy. Freedom. And everything else included in “life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This realization woke me up. It WOKE ME UP. How could I have lived such a small life before that moment? I suddenly realized that these people need to know Him. They need to know my Jesus.

“But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings!” 

Romans 10:14-15

I may have heard that verse a hundred times before, but in that meeting I heard it for the first time. “How can they believe in Jesus if they have never heard of Jesus?” They need to hear and I have to tell them.

My journey had begun.

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A Christmas Story

Mom came in the living room carrying an old, makeup-sized black bag. “Tom, Merie… come here, this is important…” She looked so somber. Reverent even, perhaps. I wasn’t sure what was coming next, but I knew it was a big deal to my Mom. Maybe it was about to be a big deal to me too. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this… I think it’s time…”

What is this? Am I adopted? She’s holding something… Oh she must be going to pass down some sweet family heirloom!

She sat on the blue armchair as I turned my music off (Oohs and Aahs, by Needtobreathe). Dad came and stood behind her. She took a breath and began: “In 19… no – 2004… We went back to Germany…”

Ok, maybe not a family heirloom… but maybe she bought a keepsake and has been waiting to pass it down to the next generation? That’s so random, but kind of cool…

“… And we got stuck there an extra day and stayed overnight in a hotel and rented a car…”

I chimed in, “Yeah, I remember that!”

“You do?”

“Yes!”

“Oh. Well, there we were, in the airport. And I thought to myself, I want to remember this forever… So…” She was really taking her time (which she usually does) but even more so than usual. I was bracing myself for something big and… important.

“I was in the bathroom, and I think Merie was there… So…….. I took some toilet paper.. Clean toilet paper.. and kept it.” My mouth fell open. Dad started to put his head in his hand. I started to chuckle.

“No… Mom…..”

She pulled out of that little black bag a tattered, really – really – old piece of brown toilet paper. Dad and I lost it.

“Dad! Did you know about this??” Dad was laughing so hard he could barely answer. When he took a deep enough breath to respond, his answer came out as a squeak, “No!” We laughed so hard we cried! When I explained that I thought she was going to pass down some important family heirloom we laughed even harder. Dad forced Mom to go back and reenact the whole entire thing because he wanted to film it! It was so unreal… yet it was so real. Mom did great, it was an Academy Award winning performance. I could barely hold myself together.

I asked Mom afterwards, “Mom… I just want to know… Were you trying to be funny? Or were you serious? Like completely serious??” Mom just looked at Dad, “Was I? You tell her. You know me.” Dad was still recovering from laughing. He pauses for a moment… laughs some more… then says (while laughing), “She knew it was funny….. but the moment was real….”

And that was it. It was beautiful.

Merry Christmas from the McCowns 🙂

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