WARNING: THIS IS NOT A POST FOR CHILDREN!
Part I of this post will tell you the basics of this story. This part is going to fill in the details. It is a reminder that GOD, the light of the world, is at work in a world that is often very dark. When light shines in a dark place, it overtakes the darkness. Even if it is only a candle, it overtakes a small area of darkness. It doesn’t need to be a floodlight. As Americans, we are often looking for floodlights. But did you stop to think that lots of candles together can provide a huge barrier of light against darkness? Sometimes, that is what it takes.
In a prison where there was very little light, a social worker provided the Light needed for Lynn. Now she is working to do the same for others in similar situations to hers.
Her story is not unlike the stories of the kids she works with…either the ones referred to her to pick up or the ones in the home being taught to live in a structured environment. Her heart is to be the person that intervenes in their lives long before they end up prostituted out, addicted to drugs, and/or in prison. Realistically, she intervenes somewhere in the middle of that process.
She experienced all of the above and worse until she met Jesus through the love and care of her social worker in prison. To this day, she considers that woman to be her mom. The love she had to show Lynn was often bold and tough, but during the time Lynn knew her, during a horribly unjust prison sentence (as a minor) of 12 years in prison, she came to know Jesus, learned to trust someone, learned about self-discipline, got her GED and started college.
Pat is her cohort who works more with the legal, policy and police aspect of things. She works to change laws so that the victims of trafficking are not treated as the criminals, but rather the people who benefit financially are caught and punished. Just recently, after a few years of trying to get this law passed, they were able to pass a law that is supposed to do that in Alabama.
Both women speak to groups about around the state to educate them about the signs of people affected by trafficking. Some of the work they do overlaps. Both women speak to groups and most people are shocked to know the enormity of the problem in this Bible belt southern state.
People think of their towns as peaceful and mostly safe. But this problem is shockingly prevalent wherever there are interstates nearby!
Huntsville is a hub, centered between Nashville, Knoxville/Chattanooga, TN, Birmingham, AL, and Memphis, TN. This city is just off I-65. Many of the kids (boys and girls) are funneled from those cities through ours.
As a mother, it is hard to hear some of the stories of children drawn away from home under false pretenses…40 year old men pretending to be 15 year olds online who say they love young girls, people who pretend to be wanting country singers that they will make famous when they are only luring them into this life. They pay for them to travel long distances only to find their dreams dashed when the promises were false and they are essentially kidnapped into this life.
It is sad to hear and even sadder to think what happens to children who don’t have parents who care for them. Even some of the loved and cared for children are lured away by online “friends.”
For example, I-20 is the largest area of trafficking in this country because this highway goes across this nation. But any of the major interstates are plagued with this problem! Truck stops are huge areas of trafficking where young trafficked kids (boys and girls) are sent out to knock on the windows of truckers and solicit. They are beaten if they don’t return with a certain amount of money! A recent organization called Truckers Against Trafficking rose up because of this very problem.
Awareness of what the problem looks like, where it exists and how to resolve it…all parts of what will be needed to combat a horrible cultural problem.When it comes to human trafficking, we must remember that GOD's light is greater than any of the darkness. Click To Tweet
As you know, there are many great organizations working to end the problem of human trafficking. It is definitely one that needs a multi-pronged approach! When I sit at these meetings/meals and listen to the women who come to learn more, I am amazed at who GOD brings to our group.
The coincidences that aren’t, that draw them here can sometimes bring chills. Some women with amazing connections in the community, others with no apparent power, still others with stories of lost loved ones that pulled them into this kind of work in ways they never would have been before.
It makes no difference. They all are drawn here for different reasons, from different walks of life, from different churches to be The Church in our community, shining light in dark places.
For us locally, we are helping with this half-way house and its renovation for the short term care of these older teens.
For the short term, our goal is to help Lynn get the house refurbished so it meets the standards needed to house 10 kids. Or to help Pat by doing what is needed to help make policy and get the word out in our community about this problem.
Our business meetings are combination of “this is what needs to be done” and “what can we do to get it done?” and “do you know___? I think they should be able to help us in this way.” etc. We also stop to pray! A list was passed last night for people to sign up for some jobs we know that need to be done now.
So far I haven’t signed up. I’m marinating on a few jobs in my head. I know how important it will be to pray for these two women. They are often in dangerous places where evil is is dark. But we know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!
That is the truth. We can’t change that. Jesus is more powerful than satan or any of his evil minions. We are facing hopeless deadlines, hopeless financial demands that only GOD will be able to provide for us. We will need to pray for Him to move mountains as we seek to help this work move ahead on the many levels it needs to.
So we can either get overwhelmed by the enormity of this task, wring our hands and give up! The job is too big! Yes, for us it is! But the job is not too big for GOD!
He is bigger and brighter than the powers of darkness.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world,
and people loved the darkness rather than the light
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light,
lest his works should be exposed.
But whoever does what is true comes to the light,
so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.
This is a problem that will not be dealt with by continuing is the same old patterns of behavior we have been in until now. This is a battle!
We need to be praying for GOD to work to defeat the enemy, realizing the enemy is satan, not individual people.
We need to do the things we can do…
- educate our children…and neighbors
- love them
- build our families
- encourage those who are working more directly in this kind of ministry
- participate in the ways we can…give, write grants (if you know how), donate time to serve, volunteer.
- be the Light in a dark world!
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
before all time and now and forever.