I was reading a story that brought back some old memories.
Rev. Canon Andrew White, otherwise known as the Vicar of Baghdad, was at one point the only Anglican Priest willing to live in Baghdad, Iraq.
Because of his prominence, there were fears he would be assassinated by Islamic terrorist and last year the Anglican church transferred him to a church in Jordan.
Reports are circulating that he was recently suspended by an organization he works for — the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRM). FRRM has launched an inquiry over allegations the Vicar used the organization’s funds to free Christian women being sold in a sex slave market by the Islamic terrorist organization — ISIS.
White has since denied using FRRM funds for this.
But the incident reminded me of something my wife and I went through over 20 years ago. We were unable to have children and this led us to adopt overseas.
We adopted our daughter from Peru.
As we entered the adoption process, we had to pay a couple of thousand dollars for a legal-sized sheet of paper which we were required to fill out as part of our application process.
Based on this application form, the Peruvian government accepted or rejected us. If rejected, there was no refund.
We had paid the money to the organization handling our adoption in Peru, when they called my wife at home stating they needed nearly 50% more.
Since, we had already paid the fee, we phoned the organization to ask what was going on.
Apparently, there was a policy change.
While down in Peru, adopting families were continuously forking over money to pay bribes to various government bureaucrats and others to ease their adoption. They were finding it very frustrating.
So the agency decided to have the parents pay the bribes up front. It was an “all-inclusive adoption.”
We were upset, but you just do what you have to do. We paid the money.
A few months later, my wife and I flew down to a Catholic orphanage in the middle of the Peruvian desert. Located in the South along the border of Chile, it is considered the driest place on the earth. I jokingly told my friends, we could see a sign from our window that said “End of the world 10 miles.”
The orphanage was full of children and run by wonderful Catholic nuns and local Peruvians.
We were given the guest quarters at the orphanage where my wife would eventually stay for six weeks working through the legal processes for the adoption.
While in the room, my wife found a diary of a couple who had adopted a child from the orphanage about 10 years earlier. She had left it there to help any others who were going through an adoption.
In it, the mother wrote down some of the bribes her family had to pay to adopt their child.
Some didn’t want much — a couple of packages of cigarettes in one case. A local commissioner who handled the application for a travel visa — three bottles of wine.
The passport for their child cost $25. But she added if you wanted to receive it within your lifetime, you paid the woman at the window handling your application $100. She then handed it off to her supervisor who charged $200 to give it back to you (all in American funds).
My wife watched the person looking after our adoption handing people little white envelopes. No words were spoken, because none were needed. The envelope said it all.
The apostle Paul described Jesus’s death on the cross as a ransom.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NASV)
The word ransom (Greek antilytron), means simply the ‘price of liberation.’ It is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. In Mark 10:45, we find “lytron” which is basically a synonym of “antilytron” as Jesus came to give “His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus paid the price, the ransom or the bribe to liberate people from their captivity.
Many governments around the world have a policy where they refuse to pay any ransoms for citizens captured by terrorist organizations. I understand why they do this. If they paid, terrorist groups and criminal organizations would purposefully target their citizens as a possible source of revenue.
But I also understand why someone would want to buy women for sale in a sex market. They were going to be sold. Someone was going to buy them. If you paid the price, you could then set them free.
Just like Jesus did for us.