Jollibee is the McDonald’s of the Philippines.
They sell chicken and hamburgers and french fries and yummy ice cream!
You know you are in a real city when you see a Jollibee.
In Malaybalay it’s on the main highway right in the middle of town.
If you need to go to the super market, you drive right past Jollibee.
If you go to the central plaza, you drive right past Jollibee.
If you want to buy fruit from the fruit stand, you drive right past Jollibee.
Basically I ride by Jollibee every day.
Whether I need to buy shampoo or go to church or stop by the bank I always pass the Jollibee first.
It’s the happening place to be.
The place everyone wants food from.
And every day when I ride past Jollibee I see the same thing.
As soon as you pull up to Jollibee on your motorcycle they are there waiting on you. Little boys ranging anywhere from 8-16 years old wanting to put cardboard on your bike seat while you go inside Jollibee to eat.
If the sun is out (which it almost always is) the bike seat gets super hot very quickly.
The boys need a way to make money.
So the two go hand in hand.
The boys are there offering to make sure your bike seat doesn’t toast your bottom after soaking in the sun in exchange for a few pesos.
But if you rewind on everything I just said you will notice I only said boys.
There are no girls putting cardboard on bike seats.
There aren’t even girls hanging out with the boys as they work.
The girls are nowhere to be found.
I could paint you a pretty picture and tell you that instead of working outside in the sun they are inside sewing. Or they are in school getting an education. Or they are working as a waitress in a local restaurant.
But if I told you these things I would be doing an injustice to each and every one of these girls.
Because the truth of the matter is there are 27 million girls who have been taken captive and are treated as slaves every day.
This is a fact I’ve known for quite some time now. A number that has been in my head. But this past week the number became a face. Lots and lots of faces.
Maybe I’m wrong.
I desperately pray every day that I am.
Maybe that pretty little picture I painted is the actual truth.
But what if it’s not and you and I are doing nothing about it?
Every time I drive past Jollibee my heart can’t help but hurt wanting to know where the little girls are. Wanting to know if they are just around the street corner. Or if they are one of the faces that makes up that awful number.
This morning all I am asking is that you will join me in crying out to God for these little girls. It’s not the only solution to the problem I know. But it’s a place to begin.
Will you please pray for them with me?