HIT RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THIS POST TO ENTER TODAY’S GIVEAWAY. I’m giving away a copy of a favorite book and a digital download of my book Shattered Guilt. If you missed yesterday’s drawing, it’s not too late. Go back and enter, by scrolling to yesterday’s post. Remember, you can enter all giveaways until June 22nd, and winners will be announced on June 24th.
Why all this human trafficking talk?
You know how it is when a tragedy grips your heart? When Hurricane Katrina hit Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. I was ready to jump in a car and take supplies. I lived there as a young girl, and my fictional setting of Bay Town in Shattered Guilt is modeled after what I remember from there.
The same thing happened with the Tsunami in Japan. I couldn’t go, but my son did. He went with a couple of guys and did relief work. It tugged at his heart, and he followed the call. Only God knows why we are more affected by some things than others. I’m so quick to wish I could jump on a plane and help where needed. But it’s not just globally. It’s in the US, in our neighborhoods, and within our families. Tragedy has no bounds.
Whatever happens, it often leaves us feeling helpless, but like many of you, when trials come, I pray. Of course, prayer comes first, especially when God puts those issues on our hearts. That’s how it is with human trafficking and me. I can’t do much because my large family keeps me busy, but I can pray. I know God uses others out there to help physically, so it’s not all up to me. But there are other things I can do that don’t take up too much of my time. I’ll share more on that later, but please read on about a woman whose heart heaved, and she followed God’s call.
She did it.
“Amy Carmichael was an Irish missionary to India. She is known for opening a safe house called Dohnavur Fellowship after rescuing children from being trafficked in the Hindu temples. She served in India for fifty-five years without a furlough, and in the last twenty years of her life, she remained bedridden and wrote several books and poems about her deep love for Christ. Her dedication to serving God has inspired many Christians to become missionaries and to remain steadfast in their faith.” Ref: https://bethanygu.edu/blog/stories/amy-carmichael/
Sixteen years ago, I read the book A Chance To Die. At one point, I had to stop and shelve it. I couldn’t believe the practice of child prostitution that went on 120 plus years ago. I admit, I’m pretty naïve and clueless sometimes about what’s going on, but it took this book to open my eyes to the unspeakable evils perpetrated against children. That’s why I want to share this book. Whether you win it or not, I hope you’ll be inspired just by knowing a little about Amy Carmichael and how she was a pioneer in leading the fight against child slavery. Unfortunately, the exploitation of children has exploded, but we can’t give up the war, and we can all do something.
He winked at Virginia and held out a little wrapped gift. ~Shattered Guilt
We’ve all heard stories of friends or family who experienced horrible childhood abuse. Some, by the grace of God, slowly recover. Sadly, others suffer to this day. Often when the abuse is of a sexual nature, it begins with grooming, and the signs are subtle. What would you do if you witnessed it right before your eyes? In Shattered Guilt, when my character first faces suspicious activity, she has no idea what to do. Here’s an excerpt.
She jumped, and tousled curls fell across her face. Pulling out her earbuds, she stood. “Oh, hi, Miz Thompson! What are you doing here?” She pushed back the hair off her forehead.
“Well, I should ask you that question. Shouldn’t you be in school this morning?”
Virginia dropped back into her seat. Large blue eyes rolled, and she bit her lip. A smudge of red lipstick streaked her front teeth.
“I missed the bus.”
“I can give you a ride.” Melanie looked at her watch. “You’ll be in time for third period.”
Virginia shook her head. Curls fell forward again, and she tugged at the oversized sweater falling off her shoulder. “The kids are all haters there, and they already counted me absent, anyway.”
“Even Lacey?” Melanie gave Virginia a sideways glance.
“No, your daughter’s nice. But we don’t have any classes together.”
The sweet teenager was in Special Ed, and the program at Bay High was lacking. Lacey, Melanie’s daughter, had brought Virginia home a few times after school and tried to help her with her homework. She’d also brought her to church once, but Virginia wanted no part of it. She said it was boring. Still, Melanie’s heart went out to her. Virginia’s upbringing was unknown to Melanie, but it was evident that a nurturing home life was lacking.
Virginia took a quick look out the window and smiled at Melanie. She grabbed her paisley print hobo bag and stood. Her tight, ripped jeans showed a little too much skin. So did the loosely knit tunic.
“My ride’s here, anyway! See you, Miz Thompson.” Virginia ran out the door.
Melanie watched as a light blue sedan waited. She stepped closer to the café window and stared at the driver’s slightly opened window. Sunglasses shaded his eyes, and though she couldn’t make out his face, there was a familiarity about the driver. He winked at Virginia and held out a little wrapped gift. She made some jumping gyrations, grabbed the box, and ran to the passenger side. And just like that, they drove off.
Not liking the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach over whom and what she’d just witnessed, Melanie picked up her cup and headed back to the shop.
Can I make a difference?
Yes, we can. I’d almost forgotten about an incident that my husband witnessed, but speaking to a friend about human trafficking jogged my memory. She was talking about how we could be prepared to help. Here’s what happened.
Years ago, in the neighborhood where we currently reside, my husband was out walking our dog. Behind all the houses, about a half-mile away, is an urban riverbed. That’s what I call it—a vast man-made concrete run-off to the ocean. Off to one side is a gravel, empty lot. When our little pet stopped to do his business, my husband noticed a parked shiny red corvette. Beyond that, a man was taking pictures using a professional-type camera with a large telephoto lens. The subject? A young girl. My husband said she couldn’t have been more than thirteen years old. She was dressed in a tight top and ripped jeans, posing seductively and going too far. My husband yelled at them.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“Mind your own business,” the girl yelled back.
But they stopped, jumped in the car, and drove off. My husband got the license plate. When he arrived home, he called the Sherriff’s office. They said they’d turn the information over to a detective. We wanted action immediately, but the response was calm and routine. I was a bit frustrated, but oh, me of little faith. Less than an hour later, a detective called and asked if he could come over. He did, took the report, and was livid. He said they knew who this guy was. The perpetrator dealt with promoting child pornography, but they hadn’t charged him yet. They knew where he lived, and they were waiting to get more evidence. He thanked my husband for calling. We never heard from the detective again, but I’m so thankful that my husband took action. I’m reminded to pray for that child and all those in our neighborhood who might be victimized. My stomach churns at the thought, but we need to be vigilant.
So what can I do?
We can take courage and resolve to act when we’re faced with suspicious activity. In the case of my husband, calling the police was a big step that took no effort. Keep your eyes open, and don’t be afraid to move. Most importantly, right now, contact your local police or Sherriff and get the number of the human trafficking task force unit or detective. Keep their number handy on your phone. You just may be moved to call.
Whatever you do, please pray. Pray for the victims, pray for the law enforcement, and pray for the perpetrators. And trust God for his merciful and sovereign grace. It’s got to be His way and His timing, This world is not where we belong, so until God calls us home or comes to get us, we are here to give hope. Someone you don’t know needs it.
Please check back tomorrow. I’ll share another excerpt from Shattered Guilt and also about my efforts in trying to help someone. It didn’t go the way I’d hoped, but I’m thankful for an Almighty God that holds the future for all in His hands. I find comfort that He is sovereign in everything.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
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