Three years ago if you would have asked me what I thought about human trafficking, I would have told you that it involved refugees being sold into labor and was a third world problem. I didn’t think people were sold against their will for labor or for sex here in Texas and the issue of human trafficking was not on my radar. Little did I know that human trafficking is the second largest crime next to the trafficking of illegal drugs, and it does happen in my city.
My heart became full of passion for this issue quickly as I began to learn more and I decided to dedicate myself to volunteering with an organization who supports survivors of human sex trafficking and does outreach to those trapped in the trade. I became part of a team, who would visit a brothel, to love on sex trafficking victims and those who are being sexually exploited. The process to become a volunteer and the training to be prepared to encounter this dark world took a little more than a year. It’s not for the faint at heart. While the preparation takes tenacity and perseverance, it insures that only the dedicated remain. There was waiting and more waiting, wondering if we’d ever get started.
Once our team was assembled, the day finally came and we made our first visit to the brothel. We reached the locked door and knocked. Nervously waiting, we knocked again and waited. No answer. Weeks went by and we’d visit again hopeful we would make contact. We knocked and we waited. We knocked again. Nothing. I wondered if the 18 months I spent in preparation would ever bear fruit. I asked myself, is there really someone on the other side of that door? Does someone on the other side really need my love? After 12 weeks, we faithfully returned to the locked door and knocked again. In a few short seconds the door opened and she emerged. Quickly closing the door behind her, I stood there with what felt like a blank stare in great surprise. My heart beat fast as I extended my hand to say hello and introduce myself. The visit seemed to last seconds, when in reality it lasted maybe 3 minutes. There it was, faithfulness, patience and persistence all summed up in this brief moment of love.
The 18 months I spent in training and preparing for this meeting helped me to become a more patient person in my own life, and that’s not a word I would ever use to describe myself. During this time I was hopeful and remained in faith. I had a quiet knowing that one day we would make a visit and become friends with the very women who need our love, who need a smile, who need a friend. We will meet those who need to know that they have value. These months of training and waiting, knocking and waiting have brought tremendous healing in my own heart, something I’ve longed for, for 30 years. I want to show the love that I have longed for. The unconditional kind. The big kind. The kind that sees past the ugly, the flaws, and the insecurities.
When there’s something you’re striving for and you have your heart set on it, even when it’s hard, when the climb is more steep than you ever thought it would be, when it costs you more than you thought it would, don’t give up. Keep showing up. I know why I was put here on this earth. God made me to bring light to the darkness. He made me to be right here, doing what I’m doing.