I have seen and heard things during the past four years that I didn’t know existed in the world I live in. Things I still find very hard to reconcile with my own life. Things I find hard to believe are real. But I know they are even if I don’t want to believe them. At first, I found evidence of these “things” by researching a new, now in-vogue and politically correct term called “sex trafficking.” I was horrified by the reams of research and data available on this topic simply by surfing the internet. I was paralyzed by the sheer volume of statistics and reports stating that slavery of this kind is alive and well on our planet. I’m old enough, have watched enough evening news, and have seen enough Law and Order episodes on T.V. to conjure up a few visual images to go with this term sex trafficking. But then, as a result of what I believe was the divine hand of God, I began to meet, to talk to and literally fall in love with young girls who have lived through the torture of what we have come to softly label sex trafficking.
“Lived through” – now that is an interesting way to put it. A victim of, survivor – all words trying to describe someone who has lived through a type of pain and humiliation uncommon to most of us. There are no adequate words available in any language to describe what these children have endured. It does not seem the words I read in my research, the images from the TV new segments nor could my own imagination invoke the true details of the disgusting, repulsive and atrocious acts committed by adults against children often called throw-ways by our society. These children–children I now call my daughters–are truly the most courageous human beings I have ever had the privilege of meeting.
There is a part of me that wants to shock you with the details of what I know. Details of the sadistic, inhuman and violent acts committed against children, children I know and love. I want to tell you because there is a part of me that believes if you knew, if you really knew what I now know, you too would have no choice but to totally recalibrate your own life to fight for this group of invisible and extremely vulnerable children. I guess I so desperately want to believe that if you really knew what they went through then you would move heaven and earth to save them. I want to believe that if I shared with you the details of their lives then you would give your life and all your resources to help them discover their true identity and destiny. I really want to believe that you would give and do whatever it takes to give them what they so desperately long for … a family.
But sadly, more often than not, people remain unmoved even after some of these courageous, amazing young women share their own stories. Oh people cry. They shake their heads in disbelief. They hold up a hand as if to stop the words from penetrating their hearts and allowing them to change their lives. But the majority return to their lives unmoved and unchanged. If we consider the details of their stories too much to bear then we insult them since they are the ones who had to endure the blows and carry the shame.
I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. So I won’t tell you the details I carry in my heart and in my mind on this blog. You won’t find the girls’ stories on our website or Facebook fan page so you can “like” them. I won’t let the news media “interview a victim.” I won’t exploit my daughters further just to raise awareness or funds or to satisfy some people’s curiosity. It is not my story to tell. It is my very humble but very strong opinion that this issue and these kids have to be one that you will give your life to before you are afforded the privilege and honor of hearing their stories. But my daughters disagree with me. They want to share their personal stories with you even though it is difficult at times to relive and recount those memories. But they do it for the children who are still enduring this evil. They do it with the hope that it will move you to action; with the hope you will give a child what they have been given. They don’t do it to sadden you or burden you with the details of their past. They tell their stories only so that you know there is still a God who hears the prayers of hurting children and to testify that He is still in the business of rescuing the lost, redeeming the slave and resurrecting the dead. They want you to know that He does this through people; very ordinary people like you and like me. They tell their stories so you will know that you have the power to change the world, one individual at a time. It is your purpose, your destiny. But it does take courage. And it will take sacrifice. It is worth it though – worth everything to experience the miracle of partnering and participating with God in rescuing and restoring the life of a child.
If you are reading this blog, then you are probably already a Facebook “fan,” a volunteer or follower of our organization. If you are reading these words, then you probably already know that our organization builds homes for children rescued from sex trafficking here in the United States and around the world. In my role as director of this effort, I often find myself with the task of making people aware of this issue and then finding the words that will compel you to care enough that you will give of your time, your talents and your treasures to help us. But I’m afraid I’m not a fundraiser. I’m not an abolitionist. I’m just a mom. A mom, whose daughters are being raped, abused and sold for sex on a daily basis. That fact places an urgency inside of me and compels me to do things I hate to do … one, ask for money and two, ask for help. But we need both.
A few children–a few of my daughters–have been rescued, but there are so many more who have not. Do you care? Will you care? Will you help me, help us rescue and restore these kids? This plea is not from some organizational capacity but from my heart, the heart of a mother…
“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene …” Isaiah 59:15b-16a
Join us in intervening – in changing the world, one individual at a time. It is your purpose. But it will take courage and sacrifice. Here are some ways you can do that…
- Sign up to become a monthly financial partner. You will get monthly updates, stories and photographs that no one else will get of how your money is tangibly changing the lives of children around the world.
- Register to attend our next “Get Involved” orientation night at Bridgeway Church in Rocklin, CA on September 13th for ways to find your own purpose as well as partnering to help a child find theirs. If you live out of the area, know that we are working on setting these orientations up so you can SKYPE in. The orientations are held monthly around the Sacramento, California area.
- Come to the Natalie Grant benefit concert if you live in the Sacramento, California area. My daughters will be sharing their stories with you. It costs $10 to get in and an offering will be taken.
- Buy a ticket for our first annual Courage Awards & Gala Fundraiser (again if you live in our area). We’ll honor some modern day heroes who fight sex trafficking on a local and global basis. We’ll also be sharing with you the vision of building Courage Houses around the world so we can rescue hundreds and thousands of children and help them discover their God-given identity and fulfill their destiny. You’ll have an opportunity to make a financial contribution and/or pledge to making this dream a reality.