Storytelling

Stories are powerful.

The description of a single example leaves an impression for a much longer time than a statistic, or maybe even an image. As I read and hear about the issue of trafficking, it’s frightening for me to read specific stories– it makes it way too easy for me to put myself in their shoes. Too easy to imagine that happening in my own hometown, or to the girls that I love so much at the Center of Peace orphanage in Phnom Penh. It’s easier to keep things at a distance, to see myself as the outsider who can somehow impact the situation, but not let the situation impact me.

Reading the book The Johns, I’ve become rather paranoid and fearful. It gives very specific examples and quotes from the Johns, the men who buy sex. It’s terrifying to read their strange and sometimes strained justification of why it’s okay to purchase someone’s body — the urge is totally natural, men can’t help it, women deserve punishment, it’s the only way I’ll ever experience intimacy, the women enjoy it. While it has become more difficult for me to go out on runs and take showers, the fear is teaching me a lot– one, to really think about what it means to trust in God for my protection (bah, questions of predestination!), and two, fueling my desire to change the situation. If I’m afraid in a shower inside a house that I know is totally safe and empty besides two kittens, what is it like for a young girl who is being trafficked?

Just being at the Love146 office, a place full of people who have incredibly full lives and are genuinely good, a lot of stories pop up in conversation where I’m left going “… whoa. That could be an entire book!” Yup, I was in the back of a truck with a warm, dead cow going to get fuel in Africa. Why yes, I was saved in cut-offs and a halter-top. Mm-hm, I was just in the Philippines, attending a wedding at the Love146 Round Home.

I am learning that the best storyteller isn’t the one with the craziest face expressions, or even the one with the Morgan Freeman voice– the best storyteller is the one who is humble. That way, the story becomes so much more real, so much more passionate. It takes off on it’s own, a captured moment in time detached from the person telling the story. It’s no longer about what the story will reveal about the person, but really about the story itself– about the message and not the messenger. I think that’s why Jesus was such a great storyteller– He wasn’t using His words to show off how fabulous He was, or even talk about Himself at all. His stories were meant to live on as lessons and captured examples of a powerful and incredible love: the love of His Father, our Father, God.

Personal challenge: collect stories. Tell stories. Live out the stories of Jesus!

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