The Little Things
There’s been a shift in Berks County in regards to human trafficking recently. I am talking about a deeper level of engagement in the community on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. My ego can easily allow me to take credit for the work we do at FREE in raising awareness…if I allowed it. We are doing a lot of educating and prevention work on human trafficking, and for this we are SO grateful! The doors are opening more and more. People are reaching out to us and wanting their places of influence educated on modern-day slavery. But as I can quickly go to pat myself on the back, the Holy Spirit, ever so softly says, “It’s not you, Andrea.” Ah….that momentary twinge I feel from that gentle yet blatantly honest correction from the One who moves like the wind.
There seems to be more focus on human trafficking; more people fighting against it and more people wanting to understand more about it. Unfortunately, I think there’s more focus on it because we are seeing it more in the news. I know we definitely have in Berks County. Hearing about it happening in another country overseas is one thing. But when it’s happening right in your own back yard, it brings it to an entirely different level of reality. It becomes more personal. There’s a shift. I do not believe this is exclusively for Berks County, but rather it’s a shift that’s happening in Pennsylvania, our country and our world.
Human trafficking is so complex. There are so many variables that come into play regarding it. From the victims, to the traffickers, to the buyers. It can seem like an overwhelming and daunting fight to take on. But this shift, it’s a tangible one. I can actually feel it in my spirit.
Having volunteered my time in human trafficking work for many years, I can tell you, for me personally, it has seemed like there has been an impenetrable wall up, a wall consisting and consumed by so much darkness it didn’t seem possible for light to break through. But that’s not possible because “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5. I do believe, however, that there are more and more cracks forming in that wall, and more light is bursting through. Life is also bursting through the cracks of this wall. It reminds me of Kari Jobe’s new song, The Garden. It talks about new life, and it’s represented by a beautiful garden. Here is one of the lyrics, “I can see the ivy, reaching through the wall, cause you will stop at nothing, to heal my broken soul.” This garden, the ivy, is growing up and through the cracks of this dark wall that tries so hard to keep the life of Christ out. But that’s not possible either because He came to bring abundant life (John 10:10) even in the most dark and spiritually void places.
This shift can be felt from one end of the world to the other.
Someone recently told me Christians have really rallied around the cause of human trafficking around the world.
That’s actually true.
The majority of organizations, shelters, transitional homes and aftercare programs for victims and survivors of human trafficking are Christ-centered.
Of course they are.
Why wouldn’t they be?
Only Christ can fully heal and restore lives that have been ravaged with such a complex trauma.
Only Christ can set the captives free. (Isaiah 61:1)
Only Christ can bring freedom to the victim’s, traffickers and buyers.
He knows that. That’s why He places human trafficking on the hearts of His children. He places it on our hearts because it’s HIS heart. He has a heart for the oppressed, the marginalized, the one’s without a voice, the one’s that have been forgotten. He is for them.
So He’s raising up an army of His followers to tackle this volatile injustice against human beings.
I have recently been met with a crossroads, if you will, at FREE. There’s been so much happening. Great stuff. Awesome stuff. But a lot of stuff. Stuff that can take FREE off course. I started to feel anxious and overwhelmed. What do you want me to do, Lord? How is this going to go? What should I do about this…about that? Well, what about this? What if this happens…what if that happens? I started to struggle with not being sure of who we are at FREE. I felt like I wasn’t doing things good enough, fast enough, perfect enough……..
I was pretty much begging God for answers, for clarity, for direction.
Then one day recently I woke up and a “memory” of mine showed up on my Facebook wall. It was the first blog I wrote for FREE shortly after I came on as director. ( You can read that here. https://www.freefromht.org/because-of-jesus-we-dont-believe-the-lies/)
And there it was. So gentle. So soft. His answer to me. His answer to me with my own words, from my own blog a year earlier. Ha! That is so God. His answer was right there on my Facebook feed “Jesus Christ is the reason why I do what I do. He is the reason I want to shine light in the dark places. It’s not my light I am shining, it’s His light. I am just running the race to Heaven making pit stops along the way; serving, loving, giving, sharing who He is and what He’s done in my own life.”
Boom. All anxiety and stress gone. Clarity, direction and focus now suddenly clear. He is the reason why we do what we do. He is the reason we shine light in the dark places. It’s not our light! It’s His light! He reminded me of this. But He also wanted me to loosen my grip. I started with a loose grip, but my grip slowly got tighter and tighter as time has gone on. I started to confuse his strength with my strength. He reminded me to release my hands. That it’s not mine, it’s His. It’s his organization. It’s His battle. He reminded me it’s about Him and the little things.
FREE is called to raise awareness about human trafficking; to educate our community. We want to prevent our youth from being trafficked! We always say we do it for the one. If one girl we educate is saved from being trafficked because of something she learned, we did our job! We do it for the one. But we must NEVER forget that everything we do is for THE ONE!! Jesus. He is why we do what we do. The little things. The little things ARE the big things!!! The little things are the game changers. The little things are Kingdom things. People often ask us if we are rescuing girls off the streets. Many times people want to be involved in the big things, or at least what they perceive to be the big things. No. We are not out in the middle of the night pulling girls off the streets. There is a place for that. And we are thankful there are people risking their own lives day in and day out doing this type of work. We are so thankful for the direct-care workers. That’s not what we do at FREE though. We do the little things. We sit with youth and talk to them about what sex trafficking is. We teach them key signs to look out for. We bring stickers with the human trafficking hotline number to businesses and organizations in our community for them to put up in their bathrooms. We do this so if a victim were to use their establishment bathroom and see that number they can call for help if they need it. We give human trafficking presentations in our community and give the people we encounter tangible ways they can get involved in the fight against human trafficking. We pray. We pray hard together and individually. We walk up and down a street in our area known for “prostitution” and we pray. We pray for the victims. We pray for the traffickers. We pray for the buyers. We bring purses filled with toiletries and feminine products to places that serve vulnerable women as a way for those women to be blessed. We are thankful for the big things, but we are also thankful for the little things. It is all needed.
We do the little things. And I have peace in that. After all, it’s not about me. It’s about Him and shining His light. It’s about His heart and how He calls me, how He calls us, to be in alignment with Him and His heart. He always draws us back to Himself and His heart, friends. Always.
So we will keep doing what we do. The little things. The Kingdom things. The Jesus things. And to this we say yes and amen.