I mentioned that it was last summer when the Lord really starting tugging at my heart about the issue of sex trafficking. For the first few months that I researched it, I felt completely helpless and really discouraged. I had spent hours reading statistics and looking up areas in the world that were most affected...turns out there isn't anywhere that's not affected by human trafficking, in case you were wondering.
At the time, Dan and I were living in Arkansas, and, even though I was so determined to play a role in ministering to these women and children, I was convinced that it was a ministry that Lord was preparing me to do several years down the road when we hopefully move overseas to work with my parents. I didn't think that I would be able to get involved any time soon. That all changed when we moved to Oklahoma City.
I don't think it's coincidence that God moved us to a city with one of the highest rates of sex trafficking in the country. Because so many major highways merge in OKC, there is an extremely high rate of trafficking just miles from our home. Some people refer to OKC as the "crossroads for sex-trafficking" in the US. Dan and I have even been at a gas station/ truck stop where we've seen some of it going on here...it's completely devastating.
Not too long after we moved here, I found out about an organization called All Things New in OKC. All Things New is a faith-based organization that "offers an unprecedented safe haven and rehabilitation for women and children who are victims of sex trafficking." I sent in my application thinking that I could maybe serve on the prayer team or do a couple hours of office work for them each week. As usual, God's plans were much bigger than mine!
A couple weeks after becoming an official volunteer, I emailed one of the directors to let her know that I was available to help any morning they might need me. Still thinking she would have me organize files or just shoot me a list of prayer requests, I was completely shocked when she asked me if I would be interested in doing one-on-one ministry with the women at the safe house! I had only been to one meeting, had zero actual experience, and no training...so naturally I said "Sure, I'd love to!".
Let me reiterate that I am as unqualified as they come for this job when I'm standing in my own power. The first time I walked up to the door my hands were literally shaking, because I had no idea what to expect. If I hadn't been bathed in prayer by other women volunteering with All Things New and my friends and family, and if the Lord hadn't showered me with grace and mercy the entire I was there, I would have probably run out in the first 10 minutes. I obviously can't share a lot about my experience for privacy purposes. The main reason I shared this, though, is because:
1) I live in OKLAHOMA, not India, not Africa...Oklahoma. And there isn't a safe house big enough to hold the women and children in this state who have been victims of sex trafficking and need ministry. It is so much closer to you than you probably realize. In fact, "In 2009 the State Department reportat that the US is now the #1 destination for child sex trafficking in the world." Yes, you read that right!! And one of the main reasons it continues to happen is because most of us are completely unaware that it is even a problem. Tomorrow I'm going to post a video on here that shares some tips on identifying trafficking situations in your neighborhood.
2). I know a lot of you are prayer warriors, and I have witnessed first-hand the unmeasurable power that prayer has had on this ministry. Please pray for continued favor on All Things New and the men and women that the Lord has called to be a part of this organization. God has given everyone a lot of vision for what is to come with ATN, but like every ministry, it's only as effective as the prayers behind it.
Here is a link to their website. You should check it out if you have time. It is such a wonderful ministry!
3). When I started sharing with some of you about my passion to help these women and children, I was so encouraged by the number of people who have felt a similar calling. I just wanted to encourage you to look into some of the ministries that might be right in your are that you could get involved in. I was amazed at how many options there were to get involved with once I started doing a little research. I'll try to post some more ministry options in OK and TX in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you all again! I have been overwhelmed by all of the support I have received for the Love146 campaign!! You guys are amazing!! Have a wonderful night!