by Jim King
To be fair, I don’t think that I am really jealous of Troy. Maybe a little envious. But not jealous. In fact, I don’t think that I know Troy well enough, personally, to be jealous. To the best of my recollection I have met Troy face-to-face only one time – near the elevators and escalators in the Sripatum International College building on the campus of Sripatum University in Bangkok, Thailand. But that one meeting convinced me that Troy is a Champion of Change – and Change University needed him as one of our Champions of ChangeU. Troy has accepted our offer.
The rest of this blog post is to introduce you to Troy Anderson. There will be more in a subsequent post – and hopefully in the not too distant future, a post from Troy himself. He is just a little busy most of the time.
Troy is the Founder and International Director of Speak Up, an international NGO serving girls in poverty. Troy studied law at the UCLA School of Law and served as a Los Angeles County District Attorney. Troy’s Christian faith and his experiences led him to found Speak Up (http://www.speakupforthepoor.org/). We will cover in a subsequent post related to Troy the founding of Speak Up, its services and the incredible impact it is having.
The following is an “approved by Troy” slightly edited version of Troy’s own words in his July 8, 2016, Facebook post.
“10 days ago at my Mom and Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration, I shared two of my parents’ specific traits which have had the greatest effect on me. My Mom’s deep kindness, cemented most deeply in my mind when she would care for the homeless, drifter men who were passing through Arlington, Oregon, when I was a young boy. She has modeled that kindness all my life, with orphans and single moms and kids struggling in school and more. Something about those times stuck deeply in my mind, impressing on me the sense that I was made to give and serve. Mom taught me to care.
And my Dad’s deep thoughtfulness. I remember him quizzing me about international capitals and world events as a boy, teaching me to think deeply about the world and read about world events as a kid. I always thought it was normal to think about different religions and cultures, to know populations and capitals and all sorts of facts that now fill my mind. But it was more than facts and figures; it was a way of being thoughtful about the world, of appreciating and dignifying all of humanity, of knowing that all people were worthy of respect. Dad taught me to thoughtfully engage with everyone, to think globally.
Over the years, many people have asked me why I started Speak Up and why I chose to work in Bangladesh. I tend to say one of two things:
First, that I started Speak Up to do some sort of service for girls and women who were being exploited because what I saw in brothels in Asia struck me so deeply that I could not go on as I was before, seeing tiny Burmese girls lined up for sale; seeing beautiful young Indian women for sale; seeing young Thai women labeled with numbers for sale; seeing young Cambodian students for sale. This changed my life. These visuals struck a chord in me that cannot be un-struck without losing the values instilled in me from birth. I know that my destiny, my calling, my purpose, is somehow tied up in giving my life to free and empower those who are being exploited.
Second, that deep inside me, I know that I am tempted to be afraid and that I wanted to be courageous. It’s kind of a cliché, but it’s powerful nonetheless: courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision to go forward into the fight despite your fear. That is what I wanted, to be courageous despite the things inside of me, and the things endemic to American culture, that were calling me to be safe. I’ve seen it over and over in my life and in that of my friends; justifying decisions that keep us safe, when deep down we know that we are simply caving in to our fears. So much of our lives is based on fear, and we often lie to ourselves as the only way to soothe our aching conscience. I didn’t want to live like that; I wanted to live, courageous.
I’m publicly writing these few reflections, not because I think that something is going to happen to me or that I have a morbid desire to suffer. I don’t, on either count. But I want people to be kind like my Mom, to be thoughtful like my Dad, and to join me and many others in serving in some way. I know that some who may read these words are already doing so much, and I applaud your efforts. But for those with the gnawing voice of doubt and fear, or for those who in deep quiet moments know that you are not really living up to your potential, I invite you to consider giving yourself away in sacrificial service. It may be more difficult than anything you have ever done; but I know that somehow, deep inside that struggle, you will find life.”
WOW! Maybe I really am jealous of Troy Anderson!!
Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University. You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: