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Shame. Death. And the only Cure.

Marathon Musings by Dr. Michael Knolle of Integrity Health Alliance.

30-Day countdown blog to the Athens Marathon and the fund-raiser benefiting Nea Zoi Ministry as they serve to those in bondage to sex trafficking in Athens.

Please help.

She drew her first breath in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in what was the ancestral land of the formerly powerful Scynthian Empire which is now called the Crimean region of Ukraine. She was her Mommy's "Treasure" and her Daddy's "Little Princess". They clapped and cheered her first steps. She was the precocious one exploring new things with little thought of the danger. A tiny gem that all those who marveled said will be a real beauty some day. Not just a beauty, but with thoughts and a wit that could melt the hardest of hearts. There was just something special about that girl.

But times were hard and the future bleak in a country torn by war. So when the man from abroad spoke of fortunes to be had in the land of Greece, she couldn't help but dream of marble columns and a civilization existing only in time immemorial. So off she went for the city lights. And it was too late before she realized the ensnaring jaws that caught her in a life of inescapable darkness and the coldest of evil.

The drugs used to incapacitate her are now her only friend and only escape from the horror. Horror and shame. The horror of heartless people who enslave, beat and kill defenseless and voiceless ones. Exacting three quarters their wages earned in ways not their choosing to keep them indentured ad-infinitum.

The cutting words of those who look at her in disgust were meaningless except one. Harlot. That word she remembered from religious meetings in the past, or was it a dream. A dream where she stood on the other side of judgment. So now shame is also her shackles. How could she go home? Who could ever love her again? How could they love her if even all she feels about herself is hate and disgust. She hates her captors. She hates the faceless bodies that use her countless times a day, after which they return home to their wives and children. She hates the police who smile at her and her brothel keeper and pretend that it is all harmless while they do nothing except take bribes. Even the country in which she is captive doesn't want her. But on a train for deportation, with nowhere to go, her tormentors arrive and force her back into her dark unadorned room. How could this happen in a time of cars, cell phones and the internet? How can people not see them dying in plain sight? Her face is hard. Her outer shell is even harder. Her heart is stone. She doesn't want to die so young, although often she thinks of death as a close friend who is her only hope for escape. Disease, undernourishment and hate have transformed her into an image that no one who knew her before would ever recognize.

Early on, in her imagination, she would shout back at those who threw insults and hateful glances her way and say, "Don't you know I'm a treasure and a princess? Don't you know that I was the apple of my family's eye? I come from a noble ancient heritage. I was the smartest in my class." Now she cannot even think that anymore, because she agrees with them. There is ultimately a time when a trapped animal just simply gives up and stops trying because there is no sign of hope. That is her.

In this, the second decade of the twenty-first century, there are geopolitical events occurring globally that are separating and winnowing out wheat from chaff. Politics makes strange bedfellows and the demographic divisions that make up these groups are almost impossible to predict. If you find yourself in opposition to those in power you are made to feel shame, separation and fear. Whether those in power are the government, drug cartels or brothels, the outcome is the same. Many of us are feeling alone, fearful and trapped. But it is seldom comparable to those in human trafficking. Unfortunately, these are feelings common to mankind throughout the ages, but not a god. And while that may be true for idols of wood, stone and precious metals, it is not true for the God of the Bible. For the cross on which Jesus was crucified was an emblem of suffering and SHAME. In His sacrificial death, He took upon Himself the penalty of those sins to wash us white as snow.

Shame of bad life decisions brought the Samaritan woman to the well at the heat of noon for her encounter with Jesus. She wanted water. Jesus knew her whole life. He knew she hated what she had become. He knew she was seeking. He saw the little girl who made bad decisions her whole adult life. Each bad decision stumbling into the next. He knew what she REALLY needed. The water He offered “shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life”. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we ALL like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. The Good Shepherd will leave the 99 to seek the one who is lost and has gone astray.

Please help Nea Zoi bring the light of Jesus to the brothels of Athens for sheep that have been led astray, are lost and trapped.

Time is short. Jesus is returning.

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