During the summer of 2012, 60 women in the Women2Night’s Wednesday night summer community gathered weekly for the Mark Batterson Bible Study, The Circle Maker. Toward the beginning of that summer, Global Outreach brought forward a young leader, Kate Luce, in the weekend gathering so that the entire congregation could pray as she set off for the summer to explore what the Church, the people of God, could do concerning the issue of human trafficking.
The Circle Maker challenged every woman to choose a specific need in her life to “encircle” with focused prayer. In response to the call to prayer in the weekend gathering, the leaders of Women2Night challenged the women in the study that summer to also pray collectively for a second circle: human trafficking. The women spent the next 4 weeks praying.
Toward the end of the study, W2N leader Patricia Harvey invited the entire group of 60 women to come to her home to watch the gripping Christian documentary Nefarious and consider what the Lord might be leading us to do next concerning human trafficking after our season of prayer. Eighteen women arrived.
At the end of the film, the room was silent. When women finally began talking, someone suggested, “What if our next step is a prayer walk around the State Capitol?”
That prayer walk happened on August 15, 2012. Three husbands accompanied the 20 or so women who prayer walked – Alan Selis, Mark Cody, and Jim Harvey. At the end of the prayer walk, we led a discussion on the steps of the Capitol. Patricia’s husband Jim Harvey, a recently retired Superintendent of Schools in Mason, suggested forming a team and defining some strategy for moving forward.
We asked Jim, “Would you and Patricia lead this team?” Jim later shared he did NOT want to say yes, but the Lord kept bringing to mind his own daughters and granddaughters until he felt compelled to say “yes.” At the first formal meeting that September, HOPE Ministry was born with a team of about a dozen men and women involved.
Women’s Ministry had very little budget at the time – and we now had men involved in the ministry. Women’s Ministry leaders suggested that HOPE take both a global and local focus. Later that fall, Global Outreach agreed to take on the ministry.
On January 20, 2013, during Human Trafficking Awareness month, we showed the documentary Pink Room in the large children’s room at Trinity to over 200 interested attendees, including a female Deputy Attorney General for the State of Michigan and a man on the State Task Force for Human Trafficking, both of whom attended Trinity at the time. Numbers of young adults turned out. This core of 200 people became the ongoing support for HOPE Ministry in the years to follow – attending awareness and education events that featured various guest speakers, helping with fundraising and prayer, and supporting other projects HOPE took up.
A team of 8 to 10 people, including Patricia, Lori Orr, Beth Lienhart, and other Women2Night leaders, and members of the Harveys’ small group — led the ministry for several years, helping HOPE to connect with anti-trafficking ministries in Cambodia and Nepal, as well as to place hotline numbers in local rest stops and hotels and help support fundraising for the creation of a Lansing home for victims called The House of Promise. Jim and Patricia Harvey traveled to Cambodia to work with Agape Ministries there. A team from HOPE – including Jim Harvey, Stacey Van Norman, and Bill Juhnke — traveled to Nepal with She Is Safe staff and members of our G.O. staff and established a trafficking prevention program for young girls in a rural region called Gangphedi.
Prior to this program, this rural, impoverished mountain area was devoid of young women over the age of 12 – their parents sent them sent to India for “jobs” that actually enslaved them to traffickers. With the initiation of the “Girls for Goats” program, led by She Is Safe and supported by HOPE Ministry, families who would agree to keep their girls at home to raise and care for goats were given goats to supplement the family income. This successful program continues today.
- AIM offers a 7-session online Sex Trafficking Prevention Workshop written and taught by Clayton & Emily Butler designed to help you move from awareness to action on this global problem. This course will equip you to learn about ways you can prevent sex trafficking and make a difference in your own community.
- A Boy Named Jorge by Cindy Similien
THINGS TO READ
- Justice Awakening by Eddie Byun
- The White Umbrella by Mary Frances Bowley
- Why Not Today by Cork & Kemp
- Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking by Raleigh Sadler
- Not in My Town: Exposing and Ending Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery by Burroughs & Powell
- The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
- Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd
- 30 Day Devotional by AIM
- Operation Toussaint
- The Abolitionsists
- The Pink Room