God found a lot of different ways to raise my awareness of the problems of poverty and injustice. For one thing, I started hanging out with Mike King. He's trying to do a new kind of youth ministry, so I hang out with him because I like to see how he's training young people. One of the things he's trying to do is help kids understand what's going on in the world. He introduced me to the Something to Eat program, and when I read about human trafficking in the newspaper I asked him what he knew about the Not For Sale Campaign.
As I started learning about problems like hunger and slavery, I started reading more about them. And when I did that, the suffering of these people grabbed my heart.
Also, I have boys of my own now, and I'm feeling a strong fathering instinct. I'll do whatever it takes to be sure they are fed. I feel this powerful sense of compassion, and I want to make sure my family is safe. So I really feel for the people that are trying to do whatever it takes and they still can't feed their children. That would be devastating to me. Like I said, it grips my heart.
I used to wonder why teenagers are homeless. Are they running away? Then I spent time at a shelter for homeless youth, and I learned something shocking. Yes, some of them are runaways. But a lot of them have come out to their parents and said that they are gay, and their parents kicked them out. These kids are on the street because their parents want nothing to do with them, just because of their sexuality.
They get kicked out of their homes, and then they get trafficked. They get sent out as prostitutes, and they have go. If they don't, they won't eat. If they don't, they could get killed. Something like 80 percent of the girls in one of the shelters I visited had been trafficked at one point in time, or had been raped, or had to have sex for money to live. They have no choice, they die.
How do you even make sense of that? This is not light! This is evil! There is something so wrong with this. I would never throw my son out on his own, saying, "Fend for yourself." I wouldn't do that because he would die! Even if these kids physically survive, they die inside. There's a lot of restoration work to be done.
It's so sad, and so confusing. It's happening right here, in our own country. There's not nearly enough love. There's not even enough understanding of the concept of love. And I just don't get that. I don't understand where our thoughts and intentions are when it comes to love.
Maybe I used to understand. Or maybe I never really understood. Maybe there was a time when I could just ignore it, or shrug it off.
But now I'm not okay with any of it.
All of these things are hitting me because God is showing me. This is God's concern! So the more I pray about it, and the more I ask Him to show me awareness, the more He responds. He is always showing me more.
And you know what? It doesn't overwhelm me! It doesn't make me say, "God, there's no way I can ever help. This is too much."
Actually, it stirs me. It stirs me to want to join or start a movement. I'm not saying I want to start an organization. I have one of those already. I want to start a movement. Think of what Martin Luther King, Jr. did. He caused a whole country to embrace his dream and say, "Whatever it takes, we need to create justice where there is injustice."
I know King died for that. But the movement continued, because God is moving in the world, and stirring His children. He is stirring me. Is He stirring you?
Jeremy Affeldt, pitcher for the three time baseball world champion San Francisco Giants, and Major League pitcher for 14 years, retired from baseball in October 2015.. His streak of 22 consecutive scoreless appearances in the post season trails Mariano Rivera's mark by only one. He is an all-time leader in post season ERA, with a minimum of 30 innings with an 0.86.
He is a humanitarian, public speaker, philanthropist, author, and co-founder of Generation Alive. He is also a pre and post game analyst for CSN Bay Area. Jeremy works to end human trafficking, feed the hungry and end poverty. Follow Jeremy on Instagram and Twitter @JeremyAffeldt.