End It!


Over the past few days, you’ve probably seen a bunch of red X’s on the Internet and on people’s hands in your circles. And you’ve also probably seen a lot of posts on social media talking about ending “It.” What is “It”? What do we want to end?

In case you don’t know what they’re all about, they are part of the End It Movement, and the “It” is the tragic practice of slavery that plagues our world today more than it has ever plagued our world in history. It needs to stop and we are a part of the solution (whether we know or think it, or not). Ending it starts with knowing about it, which is why I want to share with you a post that I published last year about how Abolition begins with Awareness (with a few updates and minor changes). I invite you to read it . . . and then do something with excellence to bring about the end of slavery!


In anything, we can’t meaningfully fight against an injustice unless we are aware that it exists. Then, after awareness, we need to educate ourselves on the tragedy and care about ridding the Earth of it. Once we care about fighting against it, we are ruined in a beautiful way because we absolutely have to do something to fight against the injustice. The horrible injustice known as human trafficking is no different.

If you aren’t aware of the slavery and human trafficking our world today and aren’t already fighting against the tragedies in some meaningful way, I hope that you take some time to acquaint yourself with the epidemic that plagues tens of millions of babies, children, and adults on Earth today more than it ever has in our Earth’s history. (The video below and these statistics (bit.ly/Vsfjk4) provide a bit of education in this area, though it is very difficult to get accurate figures given the nature of the crimes.) Then, I hope that you are brought to care about eradicating the world of the tragedy on your way to helping the fight against it. (At the end of this post are few great organizations with which you can get involved if you want to fight against trafficking, both on the prevention and intervention sides.)

My story involves simply becoming aware of human trafficking by reading a book discussing the practice, “Good News About Injustice,” by Gary Haugen, when I was comfortable practicing law in a firm in Sacramento. That book got me to care and I was forced to do something about it.

So I started looking into how I could fight against it with my legal skills and Haugen’s organization, International Justice Mission, seemed to be a natural fit. That wasn’t to be, but in the process I researched human trafficking and found that orphans are commonly the victims of the epidemic because they don’t have anyone to advocate for them. That caused me to look into the prevention side of the fight against human trafficking – that is, how to prevent the orphans and other children from being forced or tricked into the terrible industry.

There is a whole lot more to the story, but the short of it is that my quest for a fit for an organization fighting to prevent orphans and at-risk children from the ills of trafficking led me to Providence World (providenceworld.com). How is Providence fighting human trafficking? By working to inspire and equip others to raise orphans and at-risk children in families, with high-level education, medical care, nutrition, spiritual formation, and everything else they need, so that they can become societal leaders rather than being susceptible to traffickers.  We have taken the lessons we’ve learned, along with lessons learned from other collaborating organizations, and have written a collaborative, 15-author book, In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence: My Kids, Your Kids, Our Kids (release date in April), on what best practices and excellence in orphan care communities looks like all around the world (as well as how everyone can be involved in loving orphans and at-risk communities well). We hope that through excellent orphan care, less children will be trafficked and there therefore will be less need for intervention in the future.

So how can you get involved beyond awareness? If you care about fighting against trafficking on the prevention side, get involved with orphan and at-risk care with Providence or another great orphan care organization such as New Hope Uganda, Lifesong for Orphans, Hope International, World Orphans, The Hands and Feet Project, Show Hope, Arrow Ministries, Casa Viva, America World Adoption Association, Child Hope International, Heartline Ministries, Bethany Christian Services, Faith to Action Initiative, Village of Hope Uganda, Buckner International, Vision Trust, Help One Now, Cherish Uganda, Asia’s Hope, to name a few of my friends and collaborators working with excellence (definitely not an exhaustive list).  Also, the Christian Alliance for Orphans website is a great place to start if you have never looked into orphan care and want to see the landscape of quality orphan care (christianalliancefororphans.org).

However, the reality is that there is still a HUGE need for intervention today.  There is a huge need for people to uncover the trafficking operations, rescue and provide aftercare for trafficking victims, and prosecute the offenders.  There also is a huge need to fund and pray for such operations.  Every one of you can do at least one of those things. If you feel led to fight on the intervention side, there are some great organizations on the front lines of the war on trafficking that would love to have you join their army.  Ones that I respect very much are the aforementioned International Justice Mission, The Not-for-Sale Campaign, Run for Courage, and Courage House.

If you haven’t already, start today to do something with excellence to End It! I’d love for you to leave a comment on how you’re working or plan to work to end slavery in our world today!

What’s the point of blogging?

IMG_5754While I was taking my sabbatical from blogging and other writing projects this summer, I had some time to think about an important question, “What’s the point of blogging?”

More specifically, “Why the heck do I blog when there are a million other things I could do with my time?”

Here are some of the reasons I’ve heard others give for doing it (definitely not an exhaustive list):

  • Building a “platform”
  • Want to share expertise and information
  • Trying out writing styles and content for future books and articles
  • Bored and looking for something to do

Because none of these reasons will motivate me to continue doing it long-term, either because they don’t apply to me at all or they aren’t that important to me (I’ll let you figure out which is which), I continued to seek a reason to continue blogging other than the fact that I really enjoy doing it.

Then I remembered something Becca said when I was frustrated about the low number of readers and comments a few weeks after I started blogging (for the wrong reasons) last year.

“Phil, don’t blog for anyone else or write something because just because someone said that you’re ‘supposed to.’  Just write what God puts on your heart so that our kids can someday read about what their daddy was thinking and going through when they were young.”


Now that’s motivation!

And her encouragement also provides a great filter for all posts because I only want to write reflections of what is actually going on in my life and mind (wouldn’t want to mislead my kids when they’re older : )).

While I know that God has used and will continue to use my posts to help others in various ways whether I have 1 or 1 million readers, that’s not why I blog.  I’m simply not that important and God can use millions of other people to do the same thing.

But my role in my kids’ lives is different . . . So, I will continue to blog with honesty, vulnerability, and passion for my kids and their future families.


That’s something that will keep me writing.

Taking a sabbatical

As my family rests in Honduras, I’ve decided to take a personal sabbath from blogging so that I can spend more time here reading, writing for other projects, and just resting and spending quality, undivided time with my family.  The only exception may be some “Deep Thoughts” that come my way during our time in Honduras.  “Light from the Darke” will return in full force during the week of August 19.

Don’t fret, though, Becca will continue to blog about our time here at darkesidehonduras.wordpress.com, and her updates are always a treat (even for me – and I’m “living the blog” with her).  And I’ll be posting pictures from our trip on my Facebook page (facebook.com/phildarke).

One more thing . . . take a look at this video about Providence if you haven’t already.  It gives some glimpses into what God is doing in and through Providence in Honduras and around the world.

Looking forward to continuing our conversation in August!

Drew’s Deep Thoughts & Questions – Volume 19

DeepThoughtsHere are a few nuggets from our first week in Honduras:

1) Becca (during our drive from the airport to the hotel last week): “Kirsten, put your seatbelt on.”

Kirsten (age 4): “I don’t need a seatbelt . . . I just need to hold on.”

Little did she know that she would be “holding on” all summer long in our Land Cruiser since it doesn’t have seat belts in back – when in Honduras . . .


2) Me (driving into our driveway, smelling something similar to a dirty diaper (but Justin’s wasn’t dirty)): “Drew, was that you?”

Drew: “No, I think it is the mangoes.”

Lovin’ how he already has immersed into the culture and is blaming new things : )


(3) Savannah (age 8) (while talking about what we think about Honduras): “The only thing I’m afraid of is dying.”

Good to know.

A counter-cultural sabbath rest – Summer in Honduras

I want YOU to join us on our Honduras adventure this summer!

I want YOU to join us on our Honduras adventure this summer!

As part of our ongoing search for rest and “slowing” in our family and our respective lives this year, we are spending the summer in Siguatepeque, Honduras (about 15 minutes from the location of Providence’s orphan care community, La Providencia).  While our first week has been a whirlwind of settling in, parties, shopping, Spanish classes, frisbee golf, futbol (i.e., soccer), we’ve also snuck in some reading and relaxing, and we’re hoping that the “slowing” and rest will happen soon.

My wife, Becca, is blogging about our time here this summer at darkesidehonduras.wordpress.com, so I won’t go into much detail here.  This is a big win for you all because she is a much better and funnier writer than me.  And her first post, “Estamos Aqui (We’re Here),” which published yesterday, did not disappoint.  So if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to follow the blog (you can subscribe to it) so that you can join us on our adventure here this summer.

Here are some pictures from our travels and first few days in Honduras (don’t know if they’ll encourage or discourage you with big families to make a similar trip : )):

Our first attempt at air travel as a family of 7

Our first attempt at air travel as a family of 7

Follow the leader

Follow the leader

Security would have been a bit of a nightmare if they hadn't taken us to a "special location" to get checked : )

Security would have been a bit of a nightmare if they hadn’t taken us to a “special location” to get checked : )

This is how we roll

This is how we roll

I'm sure that this shot was posed

I’m sure that this shot was posed

Some of that rest we were hoping to get (didn't happen too much during the flights)

Some of that rest we were hoping to get (didn’t happen too much during the flights)

Honduran immersion - shopping at Price Smart (i.e., Costco)

Honduran immersion – shopping at Price Smart (i.e., Costco)

Playin' in the rain

Playin’ in the rain


Just chillin’ in my hammock

Lovin’ the treehouse

Savannah with her "tattoos" at the party on our first full day in Siguatepeque

Savannah with her “tattoos” at the party on our first full day in Siguatepeque

Savannah "leading" Sunday School at church

Savannah “leading” Sunday School at church