For today’s giveaway: A useful “Pray Always” Tote bag and an ecopy, digital download of Shattered Guilt. I hope you win, but you’ll have to enter first! AT THE END OF THIS POST, CLICK ON RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY.
Meet My Brave Friend
Today, I wanted to post a video interview with a friend who has worked for over thirty years in the fight against human trafficking. I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen, but the timing wasn’t right. Currently, she’s orchestrating VBS for her church. A hefty feat, but then she’s a remarkable woman. So instead of the interview, with her permission, I’ll share a portion of our conversation from a few weeks ago.
Devonna Drey could write a book about her experiences and her knowledge regarding human trafficking and a host of other things she’s passionate about. Most having to do with children, born and unborn. But, as a wife, mother, grandmother, ministry leader, and community activist, she’s just a tad too committed to adding that to her repertoire.
I met Devonna at church many years ago. She is a sweet, effervescent bundle of energy with a beautiful voice to match. The first time I ever saw her, she was singing. But it wasn’t till a Women’s Retreat, when she gave her testimony, that I learned of her complicated young past. Complicated is sugar-coating it. When we spoke, I learned about her early involvement in rescuing young women off the streets of Hollywood some thirty years ago, and how to this day, she’s still involved in rescuing children. Devonna gave me many resources, and I’m compiling them in a document that I’ll share tomorrow.
Rescue in action.
Here is her story of a very recent rescue. An unexpected one. Devonna and her husband were driving home one night and passed a little motel. She didn’t like what she saw and said the scenario was classic. A teen girl, head hanging down, wearing a backpack, walking down the stairs. An older man, hand on her shoulder, close behind. Devonna sensed something wasn’t right, and she and her husband immediately pulled into the motel parking lot. When the couple got to the bottom of the stairs, they turned a corner. I think at this point, Devonna had already called the police and gave the location. They watched as the man handed off the girl to another man, ready to go back to the motel. My skin crawls just relating this. But the police arrived immediately and intervened. Devonna and her husband left, leaving the situation in the hands of the authorities, hoping and praying that the girl would take help and the men would be apprehended.
But Devonna wasn’t finished. She said she was visiting the motel in a few days to talk to the owner about what was happening in his establishment.
What can you do?
Devonna did what I hope to have the courage to do the next time I see someone that might need help. Unfortunately, not all of us can be as active as she is in her community, but we can take these steps.
- Be prepared. Familiarize yourself with your local law enforcement and task forces.
- Educate yourselves of the signs of abuse, or trafficking.
- Watch for signs. Be alert.
- Call the authorities when you see something.
And most importantly, pray. I pray that we’ll all have the courage to act and follow God’s guidance to help others, whatever the situation.
What did Bay Town Community do?
In Shattered Guilt, the community decides to put together a Task Force in light of the alarming incidents in Bay Town. Here’s the excerpt from Shattered Guilt.
“Okay,” Bert answered. “Well, the rest of you keep an eye out for that white van. Joe, can you do a drive-by at Melanie’s house every night? I can only patrol so much.” Nodding at Mayor Taylor, he added, “Unofficially, of course.”
“Look,” Mayor Taylor responded, “I know that sometimes the bureaucracy frustrates people, and sometimes rightfully so. But when that frustration motivates dutiful citizens like yourselves, and the community gets involved, well, that’s a wonderful outcome. Be careful and mindful of the law and stay connected. Please run everything by Chief Bert here, and give him an account of all you do so he can keep tabs—a paper trail of sorts. Fair enough?”
“You know, I think it might be a good idea right now to seek some wise direction,” Desmond spoke up.
Bert replied, “You’re right, Pastor. Mayor John, you got time tomorrow—”
“We needs to pray,” Joe interrupted.
“What?” a few voices, not in unison, said aloud.
“I think the direction that Pastor Brooks is talking ’bout is God. We needs to pray,” Joe said, nodding at Desmond. “Pastor?”
One by one, heads bowed around the room. Some even grasped hands, and Desmond prayed. He gave thanks for all present and asked for God’s guidance, protection, and intervention on all the events at hand. As he finished, a unison “Amen” broke the hushed, solemn moment. ~~~~
I started writing this story nine years ago, and by then, I’d lost touch with Devonna. We reconnected at a Christmas Concert two years ago, and I started following her on Facebook. When we recently spoke, I was surprised to learn that Devonna, initiated a task force in her community! She contacted the mayor, approached the town council, and now her town has a Human Trafficking Task Force. It was a much longer process than in my book, but she began the fight. Her church helps too. They lead rescues and go looking to help children and teens on the street—something to think about if God has put this on your heart.
Thanks for joining me today. Please check back tomorrow to read another excerpt of Shattered Guilt, and I’ll post a document listing organizations with a wealth of resources that Devonna has recommended. A couple of reminders:
#1 – This week, I’ll donate 10% of all book sales to one of the organizations.
#2 – If you’ve missed any giveaways, it’s not too late. Scroll to each Release Day blog and enter.
#3 – Hit Rafflecopter Giveaway below for today’s prize.
Have a blessed day.
Nancy Brashear says
Wow! I loved learning about your friend and what she has personally done to fight human trafficking. I look forward to your interview with her soon. And I love how you dealt with this topic in your debut novel, Shattered Guilt.
Thank you, Nancy. Yes, she’s quite the hero to many! I hope I get a chance to interview her soon.