Recently I was reading John 21, a fitting passage to focus on after Easter. This is the story of the disciples going out to fish after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the context of massive historic, spiritual and personal upheaval, we find the disciples defaulting to what they normally did. Fishing seems so mundane and yet it is in this context that Jesus meets them engaged in their normal day-to-day life.
As I read, something even more mundane jumped out at me: the numbers. Everything in scripture is there for a reason so why, in this context, do we have very specific references to the boat being about 100 yards off
shore and the catch being 153 fish? Surely these details are of absolutely no importance in
light of the larger reality of the resurrected Jesus standing on the beach waiting to have breakfast! I’m afraid if I were to have documented this event, the distance of the boat from the shoreline and the exact number of fish caught wouldn’t be uppermost in my mind!
However, thinking it over, as a forensic scientist who has testified in many criminal trials, I realized that when assessing the reliability of evidence presented in court, one of the big indicators of truth is to be found in the recollection of small details that may, or may not, have any significance to the larger event. Such small facts lend credibility to the actual historic reality of the event. Small details, like the distance offshore and number of fish caught, are evidence that speak to the truth of the greater reality going on in this story. In short, the numbers matter.
Central to the work of Ratanak are compassionate relationships with individual lives. Those enslaved, those tormented by their abusers, those suffering from the extreme trauma of trafficking and exploitation: they are all precious, each with their own unique story and hope of freedom.
We value the quality of relationships over the quantity of people served. Yet on occasion, it is good to step back and look at the numbers because they speak to the truth of the greater reality and are a source of great encouragement that we are having an impact on many lives.
These numbers represent a huge amount of work, a great deal of compassion, long days and long nights as our team travels across Cambodia walking beside survivors on their journey to healing. In short, these numbers matter because each one represents a slave freed, a son or daughter returned home to a life transformed from exploitation to hope.
But there are more…
There are many more precious and very real lives who are trapped in slavery while you are reading this letter. The Ratanak team is working hard to represent you on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking. With your help we have been able to restore many lives from traumatic abuse to freedom, dignity and hope.
Our skilled team in Cambodia is positioned to reach out to more forgotten lives. As you partner with us, the beatings, forced labour, and sexual violence can stop and these young lives can be brought home.
These numbers are reliable evidence of the greater reality of many transformed lives. Please help us transform more! Join us now in the fight for freedom.