A few nights ago, I was sent a text by an acquaintance from church. He said his son was downtown and came across a young lady, J, who was scared and needed help. Later he discovered she was caught up in the sex trafficking scene, had been literally running for her life, and offered to bring her home. He lived at home, himself, at 24. She’s been sleeping in their garage this last week, and getting a chance to relax, and observe how this family lives. Eating with them, worshiping with them (dad leads worship at church and plays guitar), talking about all kinds of things. Dad thought of me to see if I could help, as this is a temporary solution. I texted Rebecca (Bender) and she agreed to talk with dad and J. But I have the privilege of being the in-between advocate, which makes me light up inside.
I stopped by the mall and asked the associates at The Body Shop if they would be able to help me support her by providing a gift of some kind…and they asked their manager and he approved 3 different gift boxes worth over $30 each, for 3 survivors I know. This kind of generosity amazes me, and yet didn’t surprise me. I’ve known TBS to be a big supporter of anti-trafficking since my SCTNow 5k awareness campaign days (’10-’12). So after the mall, last night, Angel and I got a chance to meet her in person at their home. I love to give gifts to survivors and pray with them, if they allow me. And she allowed both. She said on three different occasions how she sees a strength in Angel. “You are so strong. I can just tell”.
Her smile was almost constant the whole time we were there. She seemed genuinely happy to be there. With the gift box of Mango scented things, I included my own box of little things: Rebecca’s book, Roadmap to Redemption, 5 nail polishes, and some Freedom Stickers with the National Hotline on it, that she can ask bar/club owners if she can stick on the back of their women’s bathroom stalls (she is extremely interested in helping others out of the life of trafficking and this was the best thing I could think of that she could do at this point). Oh, and some peppermint-scented play dough I made yesterday. So weird, but I thought it would be fun and almost therapeutic for her. She seemed to just love smelling and playing with it, which made me smile. The last thing was a rubber bracelet that said “Don’t give up. You’re worthy of love”…and she liked it, but immediately asked Angel if she had one and when she replied no, J gave her the one I’d just given her. It was obvious the joy she had to be able to give to someone else in that moment.
I prayed on the way home and am praying this week, for peace, true rest, divine guidance and HOPE for J’s future. She will need addiction and mental help, spiritual guidance and over Holy Spirit covering.
Will you join me?