Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Michael Dickman's " Birds and Scarves" at the Peace Frog Coffeehouse

Michael Dickman is an Art Education major. He is also always doing something. He is involved in service projects. He attends school and community activities whenever he can. He produces art, boy does he do that. I saw an exhibit he had at the library on 50 portraits. I filmed a flash mob he coordinated at an art opening. The participants all wore masks. While he was working on a service project for Emmaus Ministries he designed their facebook cards. Well, he has been a it again.

Because of Mike’s creativity I had the pleasure of attending a n art opening titled “Birds and Scarves’ at a new coffeehouse in town. The show is at the Peace Frog Coffeehouse. The place is not far from the university. The atmosphere is early 60s. The people are friendly and everyone liked what they ordered. The Peace Frog has live concerts and late hours. I think it is my new favorite hangout.

Mike’s art fit in with the d├ęcor. It elicited some strong emotional reactions. This was true for “Lover”, “Divorce” and “Death of a Homeless.” This was a great way to spend an afternoon. Thanks Mike, so, what is next for you?

Michael Dickman's "Birds and Scarves" at the Peace Frog Coffeehouse

ICAP 2011: "Estelle, I'm a Testimony"

So some how I did not post the video of Major Estelle Blake singing “I’m a Testimony.” I loved it, it was so simple and humble and from an earlier time. I loved it because Estelle sang it. Estelle is the Salvation Army officer from London. She is full of life and dedicated to a life of service. There is nothing arrogant or judgmental about here. She just loves, laughs and serves everyone and anybody. How did I forget to post this?

CAP 2011: Estelle, "I'm a Testimony"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A One-day Outing to Mexico with Whitney!

As I had posted at the beginning of my ICAP 2011 journey, I spent a day in Chicago before heading to the conference. During that time Whitney Merrell and I got to go on a little outing to the Pilsen neighborhood and Little Village, two very distinct Mexican areas of the city. I was looking forward to this outing with my former Kaio Community member. On my last visit I went to an Ethiopian restaurant with Bethany Wilson, I worked outreach with Emily Manting and I attended Joshua Kent’s art opening. Nik Burkhart is always busy and our schedules just did not mesh. So, I still owed Whit some time together. Whit had lived in Mexico for two years so I wanted to share this part of the city with her.

As I stated earlier, it was a great day. There were giant murals, ethnic churches, and great food. Best of all, their was excellent company. So, the following is simply some of the video that was upload from the museum and the streets of Little Village.

National Museum of Mexican Art: Galleries of the Past

We were able to take pictures and video in the permanent collections at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

National Museum of Mexican Art: Now that is a mural!

National Museum of Mexican Art: The Nativity

Nothing like Christmas in the springtime and nothing like a regional interpretation of the holiday!

National Museum of Mexican Art: Now That is Catholic Art!

After a great morning in the yuppie/Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen we headed over to Little Village. There we had some good food and did some window shopping. Whitney assured me it was like being back in Mexico. To make a good day perfect we ran into an outdoor band. Ah, the sight, smells, tastes and now sounds of Mexico. I love Chicago!

Walking the Streets of Little Village

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ICAP 2011: Shannon Taylor and Nepal

We included a number of guest in our van for our ride back to Chicago. One of them was Shannon Taylor. Shannon works in Nepal. I can think of no more exotic place so far removed from the corn and soybean fields of Indiana than Nepal. My dream would be for Cathi and I to visit Shannon and provide some training for their workers. In the mean time she was nice enough to tell us about her missions. Yep, it was a great week!

ICAP 2011: Shannon Taylor and Nepal

ICAP 2011: Endings, Launching,and Beginnings

Well, after many workshops, time spent with new and old friends, prayer and worship and lots of food, it was finally time to begin to say good bye to the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution 2011 global conference. After a great meal we all gathered one last time in the Pillsbury Rooms for worship and praise. The music was lividly. Hornrette and Sven got us into the mood with “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.”

ICAP 2011: "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus"

After a number of songs we are all pulled together in a united song of praise. Representatives from each country or language group sings “Good Is So Good”. As the nations rolls out the impact of working, playing and praising with people form 40 different nations begins to hit. This was a great time togheter and now we need to support one another as we good off to our home countries or missions. Yep, God is So Good!

ICAP 2011: And the Whole World Sings

ICAP 2011: Prophetic Dance of the Nations or Spanish Translated to English for a Russian!

Prophetic Dance was not something just for workshops, it was to fortify us as we go our separate ways in the knowledge we are all truly united in One Body. However, the introduction of the dance again reminded us of the challenges of the week. We had translators in every workshop, whey should tonight be any different! Spanish directions translated into English so the Russian translator can than translate them to the languages of Central Asia. I love this group of people!

ICAP 2011: Joyfully Ending a Great Conference

And so there were long, prolonged goodbyes and there were brief farewells mixed with joy and sadness. While many people prayed for the world, they prayed for the 2012 Olympics that it not be a center of prostitution, they prayed for the women and the people working missions in Central Asia, they prayed for their homelands, I was perhaps most moved by Toss. I love her simple faith, her willingness to be vulnerable and her willingness to share her journey in this work. I love her leadership. It was a chaotic,, joyful dance unto the Lord,. It was a joyful goodbye. I hope to return in three years to hear how missions have grown and how people’s lives have been transformed.

ICAP 2011: Trusting that the Victory is Already Assured

ICAP 2011: Beauty, Art and Worship

My Franciscan roots run deep. I appreciate the ICAP Leadership Team providing special places for prayer and contemplation. I also appreciate the other effort they made that is important to Franciscans, they cared about beauty. For Franciscans beauty is all around us, we only have to open our eyes, our ears, pay attention to what we smell, feel and taste. Brother Francis instructed people to make sure they planted some flowers in their vegetable gardens simply to be able to pause and appreciate them. Beauty reminds us of how generous our Creator has been. The grounds of Green Lake Conference Center were full of natural beauty and the buildings proclaimed the beauty of simple, clean design and architecture. Well another way beauty becomes part of our consciousness is through the Arts. The ICAP Leadership Team made sure that the Arts were part of the global conference experience.

Now to be sure the sharing of music from around the world was part of the arts. The proud wearing of native dress also added to this. However, there was a more conventional addition, dance and visual arts.

Mariliana Morales, the Latin American Team Leader also provided a workshop on prophetic Dance. Now it would appear to me that the process is more important than the dance, the dance is simply the medium of communication. However, it is dance and involves the telling, if not of a story than at least a feeling, that is set to music and involves the full body as the avenue of communication. Mariliana danced for us at the conference, she led a workshop on Prophetic Dance and she then involved the entire conference is dance.

ICAP 2011: Prophetic Dance

Next to one of the prayer rooms was an art gallery. The paintings were powerful. The artist, Diane Graham had a very special exhibit, "Every Man's Daughter." The exhibit was sponsored by WE International. Nobody talked in the room except in short, muted whispers. The paintings were of girls and women of various ages from different nations. They shared a common sisterhood of bondage and trafficking. It was a sad room and yet it touched you. Part of art is to communicate, to touch and to change. It is difficult to look at this exhibit and not feel called to action. There are more people sold into modern day slavery than in the 1800s. The sex trade robs people not only of their innocence but of their sense of self, of their own power and of being able to see beauty in the world.

ICAP 2011: "Every Man's Daughter" A Powerful Exhibit

This gallery was not a quiet refuge from a busy conference. It was a stark reminder of why we must act. It was a reminder of why we must act today, tomorrow and the next day. It was a reminder that human trafficking is a global problem and a local reality. This gallery was a call to action.

Finally, we had a week of music that lifted us up, that connected us to one another and helped us move from one part of the world to the next. That music was provided by our Swedish drummer Sven-Gunnar Liden and by the master of music herself, Hornrette Washington. She was dynamic, inspiring and she was a blessing. Now that is the power of art.

ICAP 2011: "I am not..."

Not all of my video recording is meant to be of interest to the whole world. Sometimes it is meant for just one person! Yep, same hair, same friendly smile and yet…

ICAP 2011: "I am not Annette Wellman"

ICAP 2011: A Cornucopia of Workshops

The team from Emmaus Ministries came to the conference to learn, we also came to present. Sill Davis’ presentation was “What Drives Men to Sell Their Souls: Why Do They Prostitute Themselves?” Sill is the director of our ministry center. He has extensive experience working with people living with HIV and with working with people who are struggling with their identity. I like Sill a lot. However, Sill spoke two days before us, I never want that to happen again! Everyone told me how dynamic Sill was and they asked if we were going to be as much fun, as interesting. Who needs the pressure, next time I want to go first.

Doug and I gave a presentation titled “Homeless Youth: the Face of Vulnerability and Prostitution.” I provided facts and figures from the World Health Organization and various NGOs. I provided some typologies and plans of action. Doug provided three profiles that made the dry facts come to life. We received very positive feedback from our audience.

There were far more workshops than we could possibly attend. The nice part was that there were no bad choices. I attended a workshop on the challenges of working in Central Asia. It was given by Ann Marie Isenberg the team leader for the Central Asian Team. She was able to show how cultural norms and gender roles have to be taken into consideration when ministry to women involved in prostitution in this part of the world. I loved her strong Scottish brogue. She also had three women from different Central Asian nations participate in the workshop.

There was a workshop on Contemplative Prayer presented by Thelma Nambu and Peggy Giacoletto. I did not attend because my time was limited and because I was familiar with the topic. Still, as someone whose mantra is “self-care” I was so happy to see it on the schedule.

Svend-Gunnar Lidden our Swedish “African drummer” gave a presentation on “Demand.” It was a talk on the Swedish initiative to criminalize the purchaser of sex. I am told it was very good. Alicia attended Francesca Nuzzolese’s presentation “Joyful Care: Spiritual Resources for Caring Practices.” Alicia loved the talk and I cannot wait to get information about it from Alicia.

I did attend Bill Prevette’s talk, “Leading from Within: What does the inner spiritual journey mean for activities caregivers.” Again, as someone who cares about self-care for the care-givers, this was a useful workshop. Many of us from Emmaus Ministries attended “Men Are Part of the Solution”. The presentation was given by Chris Lenty and his colleagues from the MST Project. I had never considered ministering to the men who purchase sex. I found their talk to be challenging. I really respect them and I am a little jealous that they live in Thailand! It was a great presentation.

Time prevented me from attending “No Will of My Own”: How Patriarchy Smothers Female Dignity & Personhood” by Jon Zens. That seemed like such a relevant conversation to have. A friend of mine attended Mariliana Morales’ workshop on Prophetic Dance. He loved it, I would have felt pretty uncomfortable in the class but by the end of the conference it was clear many, many people found it to be a useful tool to have in their ministry tool box.

I am an Adlerian. We Adlerians lok at function by how it is addressed in the Life Tasks: Work Friendship, Love and Intimacy. Thagt being said, I wish I had time for the presentation on “Sacred Sex” by Tim Alan Gardner and the talk on “Safe and Dignified Work” by Jane Tafel.

I did get to attend “Telling Your Story” presented by Steve Lawson and Lisa Thompson. It was on how to most effectively get your message out. This might be in the form of book, video media, blogging or speaking. Steve is the senior editor at Regal Books. Lisa is the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for the Salvation Army National Headquarters. I went to the talk thinking it would be useful but not interesting, wrong. Steve was very practical and Lisa was one of the most inspiring speakers I heard at the conference.

I went to hear Toos Heemskerk from the Netherlands’ speak on “Reintegration and After Care for Those Coming Out of Prostitution.” I learned so much at that talk. I learned about “Lover Boys” and branding or tattooing your “property.” I learned about decriminalization and the role of Eastern European poverty in the sex trade. I also witnessed the power of using limited self disclosure to illustrate how working in the this field and effect your personal life. I admire Toos so much.

Finally, I attended Glenn Miles’ presentation “What about Boys/?. The presentation was a powerful combination of facts, recommendations and practical applications. I found this workshop to be the most useful and compelling workshop I had attended. I felt privileged to spend time with this Welshmen who lives in Cambodia and has become a world expert on human trafficking. He has worked in India, as well as Cambodia. He studied in England and he is an author. He also testified before the United States State Department.

There were more presenters and workshops. I never heard anyone complaining that they had made a bad choice or wasted their time. This was not just a global conference, it was a world class conference.

Monday, June 6, 2011

ICAP 2011: Greetings From A Thai Ministry

Just a brief greeting from a ministry worker in Thailand. The conference was packed with friendly people who all had a story to tell about God changing the lives of folks involved in survival sex.

CAP 2011: Ministry in Thailand

ICAP 2011: Welcome Asia

The challenges of Central Asia and Asia are different. However, the challenges differ from one Asian country to another. This is a vast area and our introduction highlighted that. The gentleman who gave the introductory prayer in Tamil works with a unique population, the trans-gender folks of India. They are not like our trannies. The history and their place in society circumscribe much of their behavior. As soon as he gave his prayer I knew we were entering a different part of the world.

ICAP 2011: Welcome Asia: Tamil Prayer

I had attended Glen Miles talk on boys in prostitution. I was looking forward to hearing a different perspective, working with the men who pay for sex. This was hardly something I had thought about prior to the conference. I have worked with sexual offenders, I know if they are not worked with they will still re-enter society so it is better to try to help. I also knew that the label did not tell me much about the unique individuals.

So Chris from MST talked about his ministry in Thailand. I also heard his teams workshop. It was impressive, it is necessary. It is also challenging. If it is difficult to get people to support a ministry to women or men who participate in prostitution how in the world do they get funding for this ministry? What was clear was they were the right folks to be doing this ministry.

ICAP 2011: Chris Talking about MST

We had another prayer and we heard from a number of team members. The work in asia, from the Philippines to Cambodia, Thailand, India and Nepal is impressive.

ICAP 2011: Welcome Asia and Prayer

Not everything that happens during the evenings are serious. We have a lot of things to celebrate. So this evening we heard a joyful Chinese song. It is hard to be in a bad mood when listening to it.

ICAP 2011: Asia, "River of Life, River of Joy"

The worship was joyful. I however found myself awed by the magnitude of the work the members of the conference were doing around the world. They are a small part of the world population but their work sends out ripples of healing. That healing not only touches individuals, it touches families for generations. I was with a great group of brothers and sisters.

ICAP 2011: Lamin Pastor

Lamin is a very special person. She is a minister in Sierra Leone. She came to America on her own to attend the conference. She brought with her shirts, blouses and art to sell to support her ministry. My shirt that makes me look so fine was from her table! This video does not do her justice. She is not a stiff, monotone person. Rather, she smiled, laughed, danced and worshiped with fervor. I am so glad I met her, I am also sure the women she works with feel the same way!

ICAP 2011: Ministry in Sierra Leone, Lamin Pastor

ICAP 2011: Welcome Europe

I do not have any video of the European Regional Team, my camera was acting up. However it was a service that sparked my interest. The conference had a strong European influence. Folks from Scotland, England and Wales, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia and Moldova were present. Many of the Europeans, like many of the North Americans worked in other regions.

I also had opportunities to listen to some of the members in other formats. Glen Miles is from Wales but lives and works in Cambodia. I heard his excellent talk on boys in the sex trade. Estelle is from London and I simply spent time with her whenever I could. Toos is from the Netherlands, I went to her talk. It was both disturbing and encouraging.

I learned a lot during the focus on Europe. I knew about the Red Light district in Amsterdam, everyone knows about it. I did not realize that most of the women involved in prostitution were from Eastern Europe. I certainly did not know about the role of “Lover Boys” or the branding of their property, the women.

I knew next to nothing about the Republic of Moldova but boy am I learning. Now I am reading about its struggles with the Tartars, the Turks/Ottomans and Russia. I am learning of the Soviet era, the religions and the culture. However, until ICAP I knew nothing. So it was encouraging to find out that this landlocked small nation in Eastern Europe was the home of a regional conference. I learned that the work with the women of Eastern Europe in Amsterdam is replicated in the East.

Each day I was at ICAP the world became smaller because I was making friends from around the world. However, each day I was at ICAP the world became bigger because there were new cultures and ministries being presented every day.

Human Trafficking & Prostitution in Moldova - Michael Palin's New Europe - BBC

Sunday, June 5, 2011

ICAP 2011: The Importance of Place

I am inspired by he life of Francis of Assisi. I particularly like how he struggled with being in the world while wanting to be alone with God. His compromise was to faith as a verb in the world, to live the Gospel Life. However, to do this effectively he had to regularly retreat to places and spaces where he could be alone with his God. The places he visited were conducive to contemplation. Green Lake Conference Center and the ICAP conference were superb at taking place and space into consideration. This made the conference a pilgrimage for those who sought it.

There was corporate worship every morning and evening. There were plenty of opportunities to be with others, at workshops, meals, exploring the grounds together.These places brought people together with one another. Climbing the tower with Alicia and Doug exemplified this. The wonderful dining hall overlooking Green Lake reflected the use of place to bring people together.

ICAP 2011: Green Lake Dining Hall and View

However, the ICAP Leadership Team was aware that for many this would be a time of not only study but of internal exploration. That required time for prayer. To this end they created a number of prayer rooms. Those along with the Spurgeon Chapel and the Outdoor Chapel made time alone with God easy to secure. They also were aware that the topics studied and the internal journey may at times bring up powerful feelings, memories and reactions. Therefore they made sure there were counselors available each day of the conference. The counselors were kept busy and the prayer rooms were rarely empty. People took their journeys seriously.

ICAP 2011: A Place to Pray

Perhaps my favorite spot to be away from others and with God was the trail by Green Lake that lead to the Outdoor Chapel. The trail had plagues that were memorials to important American Baptist Association leaders. There were pavilions, stone benches and wonderful vistas. The chapel was simple in its construction and looked out toward the lake. This was a peaceful place to spend time with a generous Creator. The ICAP Leadership Team knew what they were doing!

ICAP 2011: Outdoor Chapel

ICAP 2011: Estelle Blake

Estelle is a very special person. First, I have to admit, I am a sucker for a British accent. Beyond my foibles however, she is an incredible person. She is willing to take risks, she never ignores the fun around her and she is sensitive to other people’s pain. Having worked numerous disasters I have come to appreciate the Salvation Army. Estelle simply reinforces my fondness for our sisters and brothers in the army for the poor. I hope to see Estelle again, hopefully many more times. However, at least one of those times I would like to visit her in jolly ole London with Cathi who has family in England.

ICAP 2011: Estelle Blake from Salvation Army in London

ICAP 2011: Welcome Africa

I know it sounds as if all we ever did was sing. Well, that was great fun and helped us keep our focus. It was a great way to get to know a little something about the ministries around the world. However, we really did attend workshops, we did listen to plenary speakers. We read and we connected to one another. I however did not video people giving their talks. Instead o took notes so that their experiences and wisdom can serve as a guide to me in the future. So after a day of learning, of meeting regional leaders and of building our libraries we met for evening worship.

The evening was full of energy. We as a group were singing louder and moving more. To add to that it was “Welcome Africa” night. We started by singing “How Great Thou Art.” Then three different members of the African regional team sang in their own languages. It was then that we first experienced the voice of Eunice from Kenya, what a voice!

ICAP 2011: Welcome Africa, "How Great Thou Art"

The singers were from Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone but the team represented more nations. The instruments, dress and the drumming by honorary African Sven made for an exciting evening. After the women sang we as a group joined in and we never sounded better.

ICAP 2011: "How Great Thou Art" in 3 African Languages

ICAP 2011: African Regional Team "There is No One Like Jesus"

We were then introduced to a popular African worship song, “There is No One Like Jesus”. Since that night I have heard that song sung in six different languages, it never sounds bad. Finally we ended with a rousing worship song that got everyone up on their feet. It was a night I will long remember.

ICAP 2011: African Worship Night

At the end of the evening I interviewed Eunice. She is part of a ministry in Kenya. Not only can she sing and dance, she is articulate and a woman of great strength.

ICAP 2011: Eunice from Kenya

ICAP 2011: A Tower of Leadership and Hope

OK, so the title is corny. The fact is the conference was a tower of leadership. Some of the most important people on the planet who work in the areas of human trafficking and prostitution attended the conference. People who developed programs that changed other peoples lives, who developed the programs from scratch were here. Still, today I am being concrete, Green Lake has a tower and Doug, Alicia and I climbed it!

I first hiked up to the tower by myself. Please note you have to walk up and up and up just to get to the tower so you can then walk up! It was during the first walk that I found out you have to stop at the administration desk and get a key to the tower. All that walking and I could not ascend the tower stairs.

ICAP 2011: Walking to the Tower

So, on a rare sunny day the three of us hiked up to the tower. This time I made sure I had the key to the tower gates. Walking up the stairs took a little perseverance. My chest was pounding and I had to stop to catch my breath, still, I could not help smiling. I was sure we would have to fight off trolls to protect the Middle Kingdom.

ICAP 2011: Reaching the Top of the Tower

The tower looks down on the entire bay area. All of the resort centers were visible. The harbor, trails, rose garden were all visible. I looked, there were no trolls or ogres to be found. There was no tower with a giant eye looking back at me, we were safe!

ICAP 2011: Green Lake Conference Center from the Tower

The vista helped put the center in context. However, what we could not see was the golf course or the trails. Green Lake Conference Center is a huge complex. Still, we loved the view. It was also just nice to spend time with two very special people away from the world and yet viewing the world. We kind of did a dance, we would focus on us and then we would focus on the grounds. It was a nice dance.

ICAP 2011: We are So High Up!

So, after spending time above the trees, time in the quiet, it was time to descend. It was time to rejoin the conference, the energy, the music and the sharing of knowledge. We were ready, it was a good respite.

ICAP 2011: Welcome Central Asia and Latin America

I was not prepared for what a full and exciting event the ICAP global conference was. It was not just talks and workshops, though they were excellent. It was a setting that took your breath away, it was colleagues from around the word ministering to people involved in all aspects of the sex trade and human trafficking. It was meeting folks who testified to the State Department, folks who worked in multiple nations, people who spent the last 20 years in the ministry and folks just beginning. It was praise and worship, exciting music, great food and song and dress from around the world. Yep, I was not prepared!

The first evening introduced us to praise and worship with brothers and sisters from around the world. Music was a critical component of that praise.

ICAP 2011: First Night of Worship: "What a Mighty God We Serve"

We also were introduced to a format that would become familiar. Each worship was lead by members of a different region. The first region was Central Asia. It is the only region which I have almost no video. That is because the members prefer to keep a low profile as a way of being respectful of the larger communities they live and work among. Still, their work with women involved in prostitution is moving. It also helped us grasp the work and reach of ICAP. The team was introduced by a member originally from Scotland, three ladies spoke in their respective Central Asian languages. One woman spoke in Russian so it could then be translated into English. Now that is work and commitment!

ICAP 2011: Welcome Central Asia

Each regional team would give us an update on the work in their part of the world. A particular member would give testimony. Then they would lead us in song. In the beginning we, as a group, were conservative in our singing, as the conference progressed we loosened up. The first song that helped me grasp the international reach of the conference was “God is so God.” First we sang it in English and then we had our introduction to the singing of the nations!

ICAP 2011: "God is so Good"

ICAP 2011: "God is so Good" in Multiple Languages

Each afternoon we had a break after lunch and before the next set of workshops. I walked around the grounds. I walked past the rose garden to Spurgeon Chapel. It was a simple American Baptist chapel that was a place of prayer and contemplation. I loved its simplicity.

ICAP 2011: Outside Spurgeon Chapel

I found myself returning to this place of quiet whenever I had some free time.

ICAP 2011: Inside Spurgeon Chapel

I did not expect to meet so many interesting people whom I would want to keep in contact with. The conference was full of very special people, each one left you feeling you had been blessed for attending. My first new friend and sister was Bronwen Healy fro Australia. Her story was living testimony to the power of redemption. I am so happy to have met her.

ICAP 2011: Bronwen Healy

After dinner we headed over for our evening worship. We were lead by the Latin American Region. It was here that we began to find our voice and our enthusiasm. They were wonderful and we were beginning to learn a bout prophetic dance without even knowing it!

ICAP 2011: Welcome Latin America

Finally, to cap-off our eventful day Doug brought us down to “The Special Glowing Rock Room.” Five of us sat in a small room as the lights went off and we were told about Mr. Kraft’s rock collection. It was like stepping into the past. It was unique, unusual and fun. Yep, this is a very full conference!

ICAP 2011: The Secret Rock Garden "It Glows"