I have so much to be grateful for. So much! I want to show my gratitude by inspiring you to dream the biggest dream you possibly can, and then work for it.
A really big part of our energy and success lies in our ability to dream. There's a great line in the movie Grey Owl starring Pierce Brosnan, where the Ojibwe elders tell Archie Grey Owl, "A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well."
When moms and dads at the ballpark would ask me for advice, I always told them to help their kids dream, and dream big. That's what I did as a kid. I didn't know if I could be a professional ballplayer! But I dreamed about it anyway. You see, back then I could dream any dream I liked! I had no idea what a privilege that is. It's not the same for every kid.
Some of the kids that we rescue from slavery have awesome talents. But those talents have been squandered by the people that were slaving them out. These kids never enjoyed the chance to use their talents or challenge themselves. They didn't dare to dream, not even small dreams.
Imagine not being able to dream at all! It's shocking! Instead of dreaming and telling their parents, "Some day I'm going to...," these kids were saying, "I just want to wake up one day, and not be a slave. I just want to wake up one day, and know that I'm not chained to the floor, that someone won't come take the chains off just to tell me to go have sex with some guy."
Think of the children out there who never dream for anything more than release, maybe even death. They are tired. "I'm tired of going in these fields and working hard. Every day I work. I don't play. I don't go to school. I don't see my mother. At the end, I get hooked to the floor in a dark room, and I get a thing of bread thrown in front of me as my food." Kids. This is happening to kids.
That's why we have to dream as big as we possibly can. It's through our dreams and determination that we can rescue these kids from slavery and restore them to their talents and their dreams. These kids are suffering and I promise you that Jesus is with them, waiting for you and everyone else to come and love these kids just the way He did: by saving their lives.
Everyone can help, no matter how old they are.
Jeremy Affeldt, pitcher for the three-time Baseball World Champion San Francisco Giants and Major League Pitcher for 14 years, retired from playing baseball in 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 postseason ERA, with a minimum of 30 innings, with an 0.86.
Jeremy is a public speaker, humanitarian, philanthropist, author, and co-founder of Generation Alive. He works to end human trafficking, feed the hungry and end poverty. He is the author of To Stir A Movement, Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball. His second book is expected to be released in 2016. Follow him on twitter, Instagram and Facebook @JeremyAffeldt.