Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Barbara's Story - A Poem

I was inspired to write this poem after hearing Barbara Amaya speak and then later attending a discussion of her book Nobody's Girl.  Her story reflects the tragedy of a typical case of child sex trafficking.  Sold from one trafficker to the next, she was trafficked at the young age of just 12 years old.  Barbara's story was one that was hard to hear and even harder to read.  But her story didn’t end there. She is no longer a victim, but a victor!  She is more than a survivor.  She is an overcomer.  Her story is ultimately one of hope, courage and strength.

Visit Barbara's website Here
Purchase Nobody's Girl Here

Barbara's Story
Me and my daddy
At home all alone
But he starts to touch me
And he starts to moan
I tried to tell mom
But she refused to believe
So I made up my mind
That I had to leave 

A lady befriends me
One day at the park
I decide to go with her
Because it’s getting dark
But her caring for me
Was not what it seems
And soon I am sold
To a man on the streets
Wear this, eat that
Bring this amount home
I don’t get to make choices
All on my own 

Reading a book
that gets ripped from my hands
“How dare you take time
away from your man?” 

I just want to read,
I want to learn more
“Selling yourself
is all your good for.” 

Survive without him?
I’m not sure I could
Surely he’s right
When he says I’m no good 

No one will want me
And no one will care
It was torture at home
So I can’t go back there 

I turn to drugs to numb all the pain
How has my life become such a mess?
I soon meet a nurse
Who sees I need rest. 

She offers me hope
And I find a way out
Of a life that a child
Should know nothing about 

Now I’m stepping up
And using my voice
I want to tell others
That there is a choice 

We must educate
And make better laws
So no other child
Falls prey to it’s claws 

The monster called Trafficking
Must be brought down.
We must raise awareness
And smash the pimps crown 

So that’s what I’m doing
I’m using my voice
I’m compelled to others
That there is a choice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Drops of Dew

After an evening of outreach, our group began talking about how we sometimes get discouraged because we want so much for these precious women to be freed from the life they are living. I began to picture these women as beautiful flowers and the words of love we speak to them as drops of dew on their petals.  I pictured our words as a drop of refreshment into their dry world.  It refreshes them at the time and place they are right at that moment.   

Perhaps our words are all they can “drink in” at the moment.  Any more would drown them. 
We have to trust that God is placing other drops of dew on their petals and that in His perfect time, when they are ready, he will pour out his flood of love to them.  Love that is perfectly satisfying, perfectly quenching, life giving.
Drops of Dew
I stand wilted in the hot sun
My petals dry and parched
A moment of relief
A drop of dew
Moist, Refreshing. 
but does not penetrate
It clings and lingers,
A glimmer of hope
Drops of dew collect on my petals. 
They pool together
They form a stream
that runs down my stem.
The water penetrates
and sinks deep into my roots. 
Bringing refreshment
Hope rises up
Now comes the rain 
perfectly quenching,
perfectly satisfying
I am beautiful again

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The End Times for Human Trafficking

Our message at church recently was about Apocalyptic Compassion.  Our pastor talked about our fascination with post apocalyptic movies.  These movies all have the same dark plot where the End Times have come.  The world as we know it has been destroyed and is marked by violence and chaos.  In these movies, the people have learned to just live in the circumstances of their situation.  They have learned to accept that this is the way things are and do nothing to change it.

Sometimes I think we have this attitude toward the issue of Human Trafficking.  The problem is so bad what difference can we possibly make?  We think this issue to too big and runs too deep. We say, well it's not affecting me personally.  We think that there will always be a demand for sex, and a hunger for power and money.  How could possibly eliminate this issue?

But we need to change our mindset from "I can't" to "How Can I?"
If we can't envision the world without Human Trafficking then how can we ever expect it?

If we fall victim to a defeatist attitude we will do nothing. But if we expect that God will do something, then our perspective and actions will be different. We will be motivated to be active in the great work that God is accomplishing.

We are called to reach out to the lost, the hurting and the broken.  We are called to have compassion for them.

We can learn from Mary's example in John 12 where she uses an expensive perfume to anoint Jesus.   The story takes place 1 week before Jesus would die on the cross.  But Mary, knowing the End was near for Jesus did not despair and give up.  She chooses to use this time to pour out her heart to bless Jesus. She demonstrated apocalyptic compassion.

Isaiah 58:10 tells us that if we spend ourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then our light will rise in the darkness, and our night will become like the noonday.

Part of the reason these movies are so popular is that there is always a heroic restoration.  There is someone or some group who steps in to save the day.  To make things right.  To offer a new beginning.

We need to declare that this is the End Times for Human Trafficking! 

The world tells the victims "You don't matter." 

We can show them that they do!

We can reveal God's power to a hurting world. 

We can give them A New Beginning

Saturday, May 2, 2015

We Stand Together

Remember the children's game Red Rover?  There are two teams and each team links hands with their teammates. The two teams would stand facing one another and one team would call out,

"Red Rover, Red Rover, send Billy over"

If your name was the one called, your mission was to run at full speed and attempt to break through the human chain that opposed you.  If the chain was strong enough you would not be able to break through. 

Imagine what the game would be like if everyone lined up and stood next to each other, but did not link arms.  Each person just stood with their arms down to their side, doing their own thing.  Maybe the person chosen to run is bigger that you and you're afraid of getting hurt.  Perhaps you don't like the teammate next to you and don't want to hold their hand.  Maybe you've never won at this game before so why should now be any different?  How easy would it be for the other team to break through?

Obviously, this scenario wouldn't work.  The object of the game is to link arms, making you stronger, and making it as difficult as possible for someone to get through.   

This simple children's game is a great illustration of what needs to happen in the fight against human trafficking. I picture each person as an organization with their arms linked to another.  Each one with a different name; churches, non-profits, government agencies, businesses, law makers, after care programs, individuals - all standing together, arms linked in a united front saying NO! 

"We stand together and Pimps and Traffickers are no longer getting through!"

Ecclesiastes 4:12 New Living Translation (NLT) 
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. 

I love the NLT version of Ecclesiastes 4:12 because it says we can conquer.  It doesn't matter if the person coming towards us is bigger than us or if the traffickers have been the ones winning at this game for far too long.  We can create partnerships and work together and we can conquer!

We are actually beginning to see collaboration in the Chicago area.  Many organizations and churches are sharing resources and volunteers. It's a beautiful thing to see. 

No one person, organization or church can do it all.  We do what we can with how God has equipped us.  When we link arms and stand together, we create a barrier against the evil of human trafficking and together we can create change. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Power That Raised Christ From The Dead - Believe

These powerful words were recently spoken at a women's gathering and the sweet lady who wrote them gave me permission to share them with you.  The words resonated with me.
Come Awake.  Awaken to the needs around you and to a world begging to be seen.  
You have the power to breathe life into lungs that are weak.
Today, may you be reminded that the same power that raised Christ from the dead
is available to you! To empower you to live for Him!
The Power by Alexis Shipman 
After believing comes the healing
And the promise of a king
To grow roots that run deep.
 So come awake,

 Breathe of glory

Breathing life into lungs that are weak.

 Death brought to life by the power of majesty.
Marked, branded by the one
Forever scarred with the mark of the cross

The call
By his will, his choice, his desire

To live through the life of these sinners

 What does this mean for our sisters,
For our loved

 for a world begging to be seen?

 The power that raised flesh from the dead,

What does it mean?

That made white of something red,
Dwelling in me?
The power of the throne
Alive in this heart


We must believe
This gift

Our new identity
Death brought to life

Now alive

The power of a cross
The power of the thrones of heaven

To move the mountains of the earth

That raised up death from the grave

And created from dust

Building a foundation for us to stand up

For us to rise up
And move forward



 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realm.” 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Local Event: A Night of New Beginnings April 25th

In the Chicagoland area, an estimated 16,000 - 25,000 women and girls are victims of commercial sexual exploitation each year. Refuge For Women - Chicago plans to open in Chicagoland in July of this year to offer a new beginning to women who have been sexually exploited.  Their program provides a residential family setting for healing to take place.

You are invited to A Night of New Beginnings to learn more about the Refuge For Women program and their plans for the home here in the NW Suburbs.  The evening will feature several interactive experience stations to help you get a feel for the redemptive work that God is accomplishing in KY and will accomplish here in Chicago. 

You will also get to hear first hand how God is working in the lives of several soon-to-be graduates of the program in KY and experience a powerful performance by Allie, a talented musician and soon-to-be Refuge graduate.

For more information or to register please visit the event page Here

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Upcoming Book Discussions

Dancing With the Devil by Anny Donewald
April 18th at 10 am at Panera Bread in the Arboretum
100 W Higgins Rd, South Barrington, IL
A memoir of transformation from a high-end stripper and escort who hit rock-bottom, turned to God, and left teh sex trade to found Eve's Angels, a ministry reaching out to women in the sex industry. 

Read the book on your own and join us for a discussion.

“Dancing For The Devil is not just a pole-to-the-pulpit memoir, but a call to action about how the billion-dollar sex-for-sale industry in America is impacting our culture. Anny Donewald and her co-author Carrie Gerlach Cecil grippingly and beautifully illustrate how one woman went from a life of privilege to surviving the underbelly of the sex-industry and ultimately advocating God’s grace in places others don’t dare to venture.”

Nobody's Girl by Barbara Amaya
May 26th at 7pm at Willow Creek Church
220 Exchange Drive; Crystal Lake, IL

Nobody's Girl is a memoir of Barbara Amaya's story and how God rescued her from a life of sex trafficking and child and domestic abuse. 

Read the book on your own and join us for a discussion.

“Human Trafficking is actually a Human Tragedy. It is the responsibility of those who have triumphed over this tragedy to till the soil, water the soil, shine our light on the soil and watch Gods garden of overcomer’s grow strong roots and thrive! Barbara Amaya fulfills this responsibility in her book Nobody’s Girl.”
-Marian Hatcher, Project Manager, Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriff’s Office