Category Archives: Uncategorized

Release Freedom

Wow, it’s been quite some time since I wrote on my incurable fanatic blog… maybe even a year! This last year I’ve been keeping busy with abolitionism stuff 🙂 which really means doing a little writing for Abolition Now (.com) and a handful of consistent jobs for the Rebecca Bender Initiative as the Communications Manager, which keeps me busy volunteering part time 20-35 hours/mo.  I used to be on the Speakers Team, but decided I like the classroom and youth setting vs. other more platform-related settings that others on the Speakers Team were focusing on. I write a blog every couple of months, I love handwriting cards to donors each week, sometimes I attend fundraising campaign events and occasional trainings, design and publish (email 1200+ subscribers) the monthly RBI online Newsletter, research information about shelters across the US to help update the resource packet for us to use when we come across victims who are ready to escape the life, and I also meet with a couple survivors I know close by, who could use support and face to face encouragement. I have been doing that last one more than usual. God knows I work best as an advocate when I have one survivor I am helping intensely,  at a time.  And he faithful to provide that survivor for me to help. Right now I am walking alongside a survivor of child pornography, domestic violence, rape, attempted murder, and more, resulting in PTSD. I find it pure joy when I’m able to meet a need she has, whether it be a trauma-informed counsellor, a book, diapers, prayer, marriage advice, or a little bottle of essential oil for her anxiety attacks.  She is worthy! And I love it.

When my mind is not on my sweet family, Ricky, Braylon and Angel, I find it is till often landing on some aspect of sex trafficking or how I can use my gifts and talents and time to change the equation – change the atmosphere as far as it depends on me… not only that. But to release freedom. This has become my newest and favorite calling. Releasing freedom. I know that because of Jesus and all he has done, I have freedom. I have it now to release to

I know that because of Jesus and all he has done, I have freedom. I have it now to release to others, if they believe.  This goes for so many people who are bound to things. Bound to wrong ways of thinking. Bound to unhealthy or abusive relationships. Bound to sickness – in the body or the mind. I am determined to release freedom wherever I recognize bondage happening. It is my duty as I love Jesus and that’s all he did when he walked the earth. My greatest tool for this task is love. SO I am praying that I love so fiercely that I forget about my own selfish desires. I take care of me, but I don’t let myself get in the way. And I see people around me empathetically.

See them in a way that I can only imagine the Father sees them. Love them in a way I can imagine he would, if he were here – in my body.  Because… if you think about it, he is.

Advertisements

3 Ways to Use Facebook to Help your Survivor Friend

If you have a relationship with a survivor, and I need pops up, you have a choice to make. You can pray. You can pray and see how you can help without enabling, and/or you can pray, see how you can help, and mention the specific need on Facebook, without names.

I recently tried this and honestly, I didn’t expect the response I got! I noticed not many items had been purchased yet for her baby shower the following day. So I posted this: 

I immediately started getting responses – the first of which was a phone call from a friend of mine who’d just moved to Texas, and she wanted to use their tithe funds to help out! She bought a Boppy, grooming kit and a super cute  and pretty costly bouncer. 😳

Other comments started pouring in:

“Just got breast pump & accessories kit. You’re listed as alternative pick-up person at the Sherwood location :)”

“I wish I could do more. Kind of like trying to choose Christmas gifts for kids in need- want to get it all!!”

“Thanks. They don’t have her diaper backpack at Sherwood 😔” (This friend purchased a $50 Eddie Bauer deluxe diaper backpack online and had it shipped direct!)

“Chelan, order 102825229756 is waiting for you at Sherwood. :)” (0-3 mo. baby clothes and mittens)

Then I got this text from that pregnant friend of mine who got a surprise at her door: 

At the shower, I just kept handing her various presents and she was so confused and happy. “Who are all these people you know?!”
I think that I got such a great response because the Facebook post had these three elements:

  1. It was a specific need for a specific person
  2. It incorporated team-work. I said I was willing to go pick it up at my local Target, wrap and deliver it.
  3. It was brief and to the point. People can lose interest if you go on and on about a need, even if they have a heart to help.

So that was a cool little unintended experiment that I plan to conduct again and again. And I hope you do too! The girls are worth every bit of energy, time and attention you can give them. Really, it all equals love.


Freedom Stickers ~ a Dream Coming True

In late 2012, I was given an idea I think I called the Bathroom Stall Initiative Campaign, Rest Stop Sticker Initiative. It was to create stickers to place inside bathroom stalls in women’s restrooms, in the establishments along our major Interstate, I5…establishments such as bars, restaurants, rest stops, and gas stations. 

I played around with various sticker designs, and first researched my chances of distribution at rest stops by calling Oregon Department of Transportation, then the OTE ~ the Oregon Travel Experience, who maintains all of Oregon’s rest stops. I was met with a stop sign, and I put the idea on the back burner for a while, but I made sure to tell a few influential friends about it.

Well, I am so excited to report that one of those amazing and influential friends of mine, Ms. Nita Belles, has played a major part in getting a sticker designed, and helped pass a bill through congress, into law, that says we can now distribute “Freedom Stickers” in establishments where liquor licenses are renewed, as well as other places, with owners’ permission! 

Just. Wow.

A local news station did this story on it today:

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Sticker-to-help-human-trafficking-victims-in-public-restrooms-346509102.html?mobile=y

I just think it’s so amazing that I was unable to implement an idea The Lord gave me three years ago, so I just waited, and someone else  – someone I admire and respect – was completely able to. It was just a matter of time and legislative power and I’m sure, connections. And I was invited to be a part of the action.

I cannot wait until Monday when I go with my survivor friend, to the Freedom Sticker Release event at the Salem Capitol, to hand those freedom stickers out!!!

Praising My God AGAIN for his faithfulness in my life and for using just the right people at just the right time to bring about his will for freedom on this earth. 😄

   
   

A screenshot of an email from January 2013, when I was telling a friend about the idea:  


The A21 Portland Walk for Freedom 2015

   

The tape over the mouth, to me, symbolized how million of currently enslaved victims feel. They may not have tape on their mouths, but they feel too  fearful to speak up or speak against their abuser. And so they remain silent. So many are bound by chains of the mind or threats that are very real. We walked to in a way, speak on behalf of those silent ones in a life of slavery.

  

  

 
   
  
 
 

Today’s Walk – was walked in honor of 3 of my local survivor friends…  
   


The Lantern Walk ’15

What an amazing evening of light, information, inspiration and activities at the Rock Creek Country Club! It was a full day, as I’d worked the first half (care giving for my client, Vern), but after I arrived so much was already prepped for the evening’s event. When I was gabbing with a fellow volunteer, a Compassion First friend approached me asking if I could pick up a girl from a transit center so she could attend for the night. She was a suspected victim or survivor of either sex trafficking or domestic violence. So I jumped on the opportunity. “S” was very shy, beautiful and reserved…and seemed to keep asking people how CF rescues girls. I’ve yet to hear how the evening went with her but I know she got connected to some of the best people in the biz like Darlene Of “Abolition Now” who I believe, drove her home that night.

I got to rock climb, walk the lit pathway through the golf course alongside another amazing survivor I love (while our kids connected ahead of us), and tear down the chairs for a while until alas, my poor nearly 40-year old body gave out. 

  • There were about 250 attendees
  • Amnt of funds raised: over $18,200 (net)
  • Close to 30 people from Horizon Community came as a direct result of promotional efforts like a lobby table, a video announcement they made me do, and of course, word of mouth.

I’m so proud of my church and proud of all who made The Lantern Walk a success with only a few glitches here and there. A special shout out goes to Julie Gholston, Horizon’s Community Care Director. Amazing.

It was a phenomenal effort and over all, a great event that raised both awareness and funds for Compassion First’s mission to provide safe shelter for Portland area survivors, right downtown.

I’m on board for next year, already.

  


A New Endeavor Awaits

This last year I’ve been content. I’ve been doing things here and there – what I can do without carving too deep into family time. 

  • I’ve been representing human trafficking on my church’s Community Care Task Force (1 of 5 focus areas we engage in), 
  • giving what I call “text support” each week, and each month mailing handwritten cards and praying for the handful of beautiful survivors I know (along with my friend Samanatha – part of our “Break Free” evening of prayer for sex trafficking at Well & Good Coffee House), 
  • attending fund raisers (like the Christmas wrapping party for A Village for One, The Lantern Walk and the Banquet for Compassion First), and awareness events (like, the Women’s Mission Fair for Horizon Community, and documentary showing of “In Plain Sight”)
  • lobbying for the passing of important bills
  • keeping up on occasional trainings on writing articles and other ways to engage the fight, via Abolition Now
  • pursuing and executing 2015 winter I5exit ~ our family’s annual awareness event (holding up signs along I5 and driving website traffic to http://www.I5exit.com along with recruited volunteers). That’s been cool, especially when the local news comes by for an interview, features it in a story and the web traffic skyrockets as a result! But it’s one day a year.

I was made for more.

I’ve been content, but also…not. Discontent in a natural, happy, waiting for His timing kind of way. It’s been low-key like this – in the ways of awareness and advocacy – since I stepped down from Stop Child Trafficking Now, December of 2012. It went from all the work associated with organizing annual 5k’s and annual documentary showings all with zero budgets in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to attending the occasional training, prayer meeting, film or banquet. In ’13, I was trained in AWARE’s “Deceptions” curriculum, awarded a certificate of classroom readiness to present it in middle and high schools, and in ’14, I was trained in “Mending the Soul” to deepen my understanding of trauma and abuse. But I haven’t quite been able to utilize either, really, since. Mostly because AWARE merged with NW Family Services and was not able to give me any word on opportunities/interest in Oregon schools.

I’ve wondered if I’d ever feel that powerfully electric, emotional feeling again, that I felt on my way home from presenting “Deceptions” to high schoolers in Vancouver during my January 2013 training presentation. I cried, driving home on I-205 that day, tears of fulfillment.

But things can change pretty quick. A few weeks ago, I received a message from a friend who owns a non-profit…a God-loving woman who’s had my respect for many years, and it seems as though He in his goodness and perfect timing, put me on her heart to collaborate. Teach. Train others. Present. Travel around Oregon. Bring hope and empowering resources to those on the front lines. To join her small team of difference-makers. I could hardly believe it, and at the same time believed it entirely!

This will change everything. It’s already begun to  reignite in me my purpose in this pursuit of justice and freedom and healing, as well as the pursuit of the preservation of childhood, purity and innocence. 

Pray for me? I will be accessing God’s guidance, humility, protection, boldness and wisdom and letting it all loose in this new endeavor. Your prayers for me will be a catalyst for God to bring it all about for His glory! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

More details in the next month. 

Til then, keep speaking up for the voiceless, standing in the gap for the defenseless, sticking up for the vulnerable and shining bright your light in every dark place you come to. 


A Mini-Lobby Day at the Capitol, for HB3040

Yesterday was pretty stinkin cool. For some reason, I just geek out about being at the Capitol when it comes time to lobby for a human trafficking related bill to be passed. This one we lobbied for yesterday, is House Bill 3040, which will allow hearsay as testimony in a sex trafficking case. Which means that the victim will not necessarily have to take the stand and be further subjected to traumatic cross examinations and forced recounting of probably the worst period of time in her life. This “hearsay” exception bill will allow for things like text messages to be permitted as valid evidence in a human trafficking related case, just as it is already, in domestic violence related cases, from my understanding.
The less we can subject these girls to more fear and intimidation during a trial, the better. For goodness sake, they’ve experienced enough of it and now they need healing, comfort, and OUR voices to speak for them.

Here’s a video I snagged of Caleb LaPlante of ACT Southern Oregon, addressing two main concerns or points of interest:

  1. The Prevention Project and the education and empowerment they are implementing in schools – from the east coast now on the west!
  2. Our duty as the citizens and legislators of Oregon to completely SHUT DOWN backpage (.com) and other human-selling websites like it. You’ll notice toward the end, the legislator he addresses is taking notes as Caleb kind of puts him on the spot to address this crucial issue “today”. 😉 Love it.

So I gathered with about 30 others in favor of this bill and in support of Shared Hope International’s Kids are Not For Sale in Oregon Campaign. And I even got to stay for my first hearing. It was interesting!
But my favorite part was connecting with other die-hard abolitionists like Caleb, Keli Ulery and Nita Belles – Bend author of “In Our Own Backyard” and Director of Central Oregon’s chapter of OATH. She re-lit my fire to really get involved in the design, print and distribution of an awareness-raising sticker that would be allowed by law, to be placed in bathrooms in places along I-5 – or anywhere alcohol is served.
God put this on my heart back in 2011 in a detailed way…and for him to remind me of it yesterday was humbling and energizing all at the same time. I am determined to make this happen and get involved with Nita on this sticker initiative.

EXCITED for the future.
Let’s END this.