Flor Molina just lost her baby because she did not have the money to hospitalize her sick child. Desperate to support her other three children, she now began to study how to sew. Hopefully, she would be able to start her own business. Flor’s sewing teacher approached her with a great opportunity: She would help her to go to the US to make better money. Flor took the opportunity, left her kids for a while. But the opportunity turned out to be a lie: her trafficker held her hostage: “My trafficker told me that now I owe her almost $3,000 for bringing me to the U.S. and that I had to work for her in order to pay her back,” she told CNN. For forty days, then Flor was forced to work for 18 hours a day making dresses that were sold for $200 in department stores. She had to sleep in the factory in a storage room, she had to share a single mattress with another victim and received one meal per day. She was threatened. Her passports taken away from her. “I know your children; I know where they are. If you leave this property, they will pay for the consequences!”
“Come and see!” – this is what Jesus says to his disciples (John 1:39) . It is the call for Christian discipleship. In the season after epiphany, we are asked to see to be witnesses of God’s revelation in this world. What are you looking for? What are we looking for? “Come and see.” This was certainly a motif also for the late Martin Luther King, Jr. King was a witness. A witness to racial segregation, inequality and racism. King showed: We distinguish between worthy and unworthy, between black and white and brown. We distinguish between the rich and the poor, the sick and the healthy. Come and see! This is the reality we still live in. Not only do we separate ourselves from each other by way of color, economic status or by language. We also separate ourselves from God. How do we come to a point where everyone is being treated as created equal? This is the question Jesus asked – and the question Martin Luther King, Jr. asked.
True discipleship means to come and see, to be a witness. We ought not to become blind or numb to the issues of inequality still happening here – whether in Newton, in Massachusetts or in the US. There is still work to do. It continues on. It also means to open our eyes and see where is God in our lives; where do we see, do we witness God? How do we make other people aware of God in this world?
Flor’s story does not end at the factory in California. After weeks of working there, one of her co-workers, Nathalie, started suspecting that something was not right. She had realized that Flor was there in the morning when she was working there, and was working at night after everybody eft. Nathalie gave Flor her phone number, quickly draped into her pocket. “Call me if you need help!” 48 hours later Flor was found by federal agents. They found her shelter and reconnected her with her family.