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Recording Artist Sings for Justice

It was an episode of Law & Order that confronted Christian recording artist Natalie Grant with the horrors of child sex trafficking in South Asia. When she turned off the television set, she knew she was being called to do something for the 6 million children who are sold and abused worldwide. Later that evening she discovered two faith-based organizations that rescue children from prostitution: Shared Hope and International Justice Mission. In an article for Today's Christian, Grant tells the story of how this one startling night led to a trip overseas that forever changed her outlook on life and ministry:

Within a matter of months, my husband, Bernie, and I traveled to Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, with Shared Hope and its founder, former congresswoman Linda Smith. There we were able to see, firsthand, the tragedy of child slavery and what is being done to stop it.
I will never forget what I saw there. I don't want to forget.
There I was in broad daylight, walking down the street in Mumbai, when I spotted a precious little girl looking down on us from an upper-story window. She couldn't have been more than seven. Her piercing, dark eyes stared out at me. Her hand was reaching out from between the bars of a cage, not unlike something people here in the States would keep animals in. My eyes locked on hers, for just a few seconds, and I knew that…there in that cage, that was her life. I knew that every day people walked by on the street below, and they didn't even notice her.
There was an Indian man named Deveraj who runs a rescue ministry walking with us. He said, "That's where they hold the new girls. They only let them out to service clients." It was all I could do not to throw up. I started sobbing, there in the street.
From there, we were able to travel out from the city to a place they call the Village of Hope. When they are able to rescue girls from the brothels in the cities, they take them to this wonderful place—the first real home many of them have ever had. And they feed them, clothe them, give them an education, and teach them about God.
It was amazing to see these little girls, these pre-teen and teenage girls who had experienced the most unimaginable tragedies and abuses in their young lives, safe and happy. Completely restored. Living, breathing pictures of the peace of God…
The week before we left for India, I ruptured my left vocal chord and was told I couldn't speak a word for 30 days. At first, I didn't think I would be able to make the trip. But in my heart, I knew God still wanted me to go. I had no idea my doctor-imposed silence would be a blessing in disguise. So often I speak before I think and verbalize without fully processing everything. Now I wasn't able to speak a word, and as a result I think I felt deeper and was able to truly listen and understand those I met in a much deeper way.
At the Village of Hope, I met these two little girls, both 5 years of age. One had already been used as a prostitute for a year and the other had AIDS. Both were now safe and happy, living with newfound hope. Those sweet girls wanted to pray for me, for my sore throat. And did they ever. I had never been prayed for like that before in my life. In their heartfelt prayers, I felt a faith and spiritual wisdom that was far beyond their age. It was a moment that will stay with me forever.
I had grown up in church all my life, and I always felt I had a pretty good grasp of the power of redemption in our lives, but I had never understood it more clearly than I did that day. In the middle of those smiling girls, their eyes full of life and bright hope, I found a treasure I knew I had to share.
When Bernie and I returned home, I reflected on what I'd seen and experienced in India. I knew I couldn't go back to the status quo. I had never felt more alive, more determined to do something that mattered.
I'd always believed that God had given me a voice to sing and that he had created the opportunities I'd been given to make a career and a living doing what I love. But God used India and those little girls to show me that my work as an artist should be so much bigger than it is. I'm not just here to sing. I'm here to give my life away, to share the knowledge I've been given, to tell others about my experience in India, and to do what I can to support the mission efforts there. I want my music to be more than pleasant songs.
I want to inspire people to be instruments of God's peace and justice in the world. Because when we are open and willing to be used in the lives of others, God can light up even the darkest of places.

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