There’s Something You Need to Know…

Let’s be real.

I get nervous sometimes.

Whether showing my shoebox display of the Tundra (complete with an igloo made of sugar cubes) to my science teacher in fifth grade, talking to referees on the soccer field during a coin toss in high school, or giving a presentation on Futurist art in a British Literature class in college, my body seems to react the same each time: sweaty palms, shaky voice, and maybe even a tear or two.

I get afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying the right thing. I get scared that I’ll say too much or not enough. I’ll most likely sweat through my shirt when somebody asks me a question and I doubt my opinion actually matters. I’m not a huge fan of confrontation, which can range from a full-blown argument to somebody who is merely curious to know more.

I think that it’s ok to talk a certain way to people in an office, another way to my barista at Starbucks, and a completely different way to my friends and family. If I don’t make you choose the music in the car, then what we listen to depends on who you are…never would I want to make you listen to a song you don’t know. I tell myself that I’m simply trying to become all things to all men, like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22.

It’s biblical. Right?

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Well…no. Not really.

It’s through this that I sometimes lose who I am and the voice that God has given me as a daughter of His and fighter for His kingdom so that I don’t make people feel awkward or embarrassed. I mistake my chill and relaxed attitude for passivity and people pleasing. I don’t point out things when they’re false and I often put my feelings to the side, thinking I’m displaying some sort of holy honor towards the other person.

Label me all you want. Insecure. Compassionate. Timid. Emotional. But here’s something I do know that is true about the whole situation: sometimes, I act this way because the devil doesn’t want people hearing what I have to say. And I know that in order for him to be defeated, I have to speak up.

So here is something that I want you to know.

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The coming weekend will be an extremely long and tiring few days. The lump in my throat may never leave and my stomach will be doing plenty of flips. And honestly, I don’t anticipate getting much sleep. Why? It’s Super Bowl weekend.

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I won’t feel sick because companies paid $4 million for each 30 second commercial, and my stomach won’t stop doing flips thanks to Beyonce shaking her thing at halftime. It’s not because over 118 million people will spend a few hours watching grown men wear tight pants and hit each other. I don’t even know who is playing.

I will be sick thinking about the herds of men who flocked to Louisiana with their buddies for a “guys weekend” to satisfy their cravings on entertainment only New Orleans can offer. Their wallets stuffed and stomachs full, they open their minds to the desires of the streets.

I will stay up at night, tossing and turning in the safety of my bed, picturing thousands of women and children being forced to have sex with men they don’t know, in a city that is most likely not their own. For the 2010 Super Bowl, it is estimated that over 10,000 women and children were trafficked to Miami for sex. In reality, the Super Bowl is considered one of the largest human trafficking events in the world.

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I commit to you now that I will be fighting this weekend.

I will fight for the men who have temptation staring into their soul and luring them into darkness. That they won’t fall into the enemy’s trap, but will remain pure and unadulterated sons of a God who loves them passionately.

I will fight for the women and children who were taken by pimps and traffickers and sent to New Orleans, only to be relentlessly raped. That they will be rescued, restored, and renewed by a God who hates everything that has unjustly been done to them.

I will fight for the pimps and traffickers to be caught by police. But more importantly, that someone shares the Gospel with them and they come to know Jesus as the One who saves, forgives, and redeems.

I’m not writing this to make you feel guilty for watching the Super Bowl Sunday night, but rather to open your eyes to the underbelly of the event, making you aware of the vitality of your prayers this weekend. Don’t ignore the reality of sex trafficking happening in America. Though this topic probably makes you nervous and some people uncomfortable, it’s time.

To be bold, to speak up, and to fight this evil.

Our voices matter. Will yours be heard?

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Here Is My Heart…Finally! (Part 3)

If you’re just now checking in, go ahead and read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this. Once you’re all caught up..well..here ya go!

In the midst of all the struggle and lies about my future that, at times, seemed to consume me since moving home in August, I strived to remain true to God. The questions, the doubts, the external and internal voices that screamed in my mind were noisy gongs and clanging cymbals that spoke no love. The first of this year, God’s tender voice kept whispering, “Stick with Me; throughout this year, you need only to stick with Me.” God is so faithful to those who are obedient to Him, and I believe that this year is going to be one that I must obey His guidance in pure faith in order to fulfill the plans He has for me.

With that being said…

In July, I will be going to Nepal for two months with this incredible sister…

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Emilie and I spent time in Kolkata, India together last year, serving at Asha. She is a powerhouse for God who comes alive when approaching the throne of God in humility and fighting for those who need to be fought for. I am extremely humbled that she has decided to go to Nepal with me!

While in Nepal, we will be helping a ministry that serves women and children who have been rescued out of brothels, as a result of being sold and trafficked. We will be teaching and tutoring, as well as loving on them, speaking truth over them, and guiding them into Jesus’ healing arms!

The even better part about our time is Nepal is that we will be meeting up with these two amazing women of God…

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Leah (on the left) is my best friend from college who has a heart and joy bigger than anybody I know. While on the World Race last year, she spent a month at the ministry in Nepal, where we will be. Meagan (on the right) is Leah’s best friend from the Race and walks in confidence and wisdom that only comes from God. Leah and Meagan will be moving to the Philippines in April, and then coming to Nepal in July for two months before going back to the Philippines. I am beyond excited that God is blessing me with this opportunity to serve with these two remarkable women in Nepal!

After Nepal, Emilie and I will travel to Kolkata, India and visit Asha, where we met and served together last year. We will spend a few weeks seeing and hearing how the ministry is doing, encouraging and strengthening the pastor, and loving on the children at Asha.

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On top of all this, I strongly believe that our time in Nepal and India is vital to hearing God’s plans to gain victory over sex trafficking in South Asia. Emilie and I will spend a good amount of time intentionally prayer walking the areas and listening to God, hearing how our lives intersect with His plans for these two places. We believe that there is power of actually being in a place, free from the distractions of home, so that we can clearly hear God’s heartbeat reverberate through the streets and people of the nations.

After we come back to the States in September, I will be traveling to Mijas, Spain in October to start a six-month Leadership Academy at G42. The aim of G42 is discipleship, as well as helping find vision and focus for how to pursue the God-given dream placed in each of our hearts. G42 is fundamental to helping me delve deeper into the heart of God and guiding me to develop a way to fight for justice in South Asia.

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In order for all of this to happen, I am in need of your help as the body of Christ. Your prayers mean the world to me, as I cannot be sent alone. Also, I need to raise $12,000 total. If you’d like to support me financially, you can partner with me by clicking the tab above.

Nepal, India, and Spain are three avenues that God has laid before me to prepare myself to enter the world of sex trafficking and battle it effectively for the glory of God and freedom of His people. Words can’t express how excited, nervous, humbled, and honored I am to walk this journey with God right by my side. May I forever hold fast to the confession of hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!

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Here Is My Heart (Part 2)

Before you start reading this post, be sure to read Part 1 before you continue.

My world was turned upside down once I said Yes to God and His plans for me regarding the evils of sex trafficking. It seemed like I finally had a purpose in life, but had no clue how to go about pursuing the cries that reverberated in my dreams at night. I was already in the process of taking upper-level Literature and Art History classes, so there was no way I could change my major. Most recently, I had committed to go to Indonesia to serve at an English center that summer of 2010. None of it appeared to line up with fighting for justice the way I wanted.

Then it began.

It was during that summer I had my first encounter with human trafficking. A friend of mine at the English center came up to me one day and wanted to talk. I hope this isn’t another conversation about how many different verbs are in the English language, I thought to myself. One thing led to another, and next thing I knew, I learned why I was in Indonesia. “Sarah, should I go with this man to the Netherlands? It’s a free trip, I’ll get a job, and it’s with women my age. It would be a dream come true to get out and travel. To see the world!”

I wanted to shake her and hug her and cry with her all at the same time. Oh, to be that desperate to trust and to leave with a strange man, simply to get out. I began to tell my friend that the man’s motives were not right, and our conversation quickly shifted to human trafficking in the world. How it’s not just in the movies. How it happens in every country. Including Indonesia. Including America. I’ll never forget watching her tear up the piece of paper the man gave her that held the future to her bondage.

She wanted to make sure no other woman would be trapped into that lie. And so did I.

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I spent the following summer in Goa, India. This strange, diverse, culturally opposite country captured my heart as soon as I stepped off the plane and was bombarded with color, noise, and smell. The summer truly changed my life and left a mark on me that I will forever be grateful for. From floodwaters and lice, to hanging out the side of a bus and dodging cows in taxis, I came home with God whispering in my head something that actually made sense:

Sarah. This is the darkness you asked for.

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That last semester of college in the fall of 2011 seemed to draaaag on. All I could think about was the future, which was daunting enough, let alone mixed with figuring out India and human trafficking. My focus was not on school at all, and it took every ounce in me to get to class and read the assignments. For some reason, though, I felt like there was no way I was ever going to make it back and face that injustice.

But God’s faithfulness prevailed (as did the persistent nudging of a good friend), and one month after walking the stage for graduation, I found myself walking the runway towards a plane headed to Kolkata, India. Through many amazing moments at Asha Mission Children’s Home, one thing was confirmed:

South Asia is the place God has called me to serve, to fight for, and to love His sons and daughters.

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After serving overseas for six months last year, I moved back home with my parents this past August. What started off as a time of rest and renewal quickly turned into a time of battle and soul searching. I began to listen to the enemy and, if I’m being honest, started to believe him. How and when would I ever get back to South Asia? Where do I even start to get involved with human trafficking? My college degree is pointless. I don’t have the training. I’m not good enough, smart enough, strong enough…

Lies. Lies. Lies.

And, well…I’ve had enough of it.

To be continued…

Here Is My Heart (Part 1)

Closing out 2012, I spent quite some time analyzing my heart and refocusing my passions to align with God’s will for my life. I broke things down to basics, blocked out all the lies and opposition against me to recognize the underlying beat of my heart. Knowing with excited anticipation that 2013 is a pivotal year for my future, God graciously rekindled afresh the unique passion and gift that He specifically placed in my heart when He breathed life into me.

But before I give you any details into what the future holds, let me back up and share how things have fallen into place throughout the years.

I stepped on my first international flight five years ago for a quick jaunt to South America. Once coming back to Texas, I knew without a doubt that I was created for international ministry. Being an adrenaline junkie and slightly crazy, I told God shortly thereafter that I would go wherever He called me. I distinctly remember saying, “God, I’ll go to the darkest and most evil place on earth. That is obviously where they need You and Your children to come bring Light and Hope.” I must have forgotten that I was a short blonde girl who normally brought light into a room due to the brightness of my skin.

Little did I know how literal God would take my words.

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Two years later, I attended my first Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Among many “first times,” Passion was my first conference to ever attend; my first time in Georgia; my first time hearing Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, or John Piper speak; and my first time being surrounded by thousands of Christian college students.

At the time, they had a section of the conference that was dedicated to various organizations that met an assortment of needs in America and throughout the world. While exploring these different organizations, I came across one that opened my eyes to one of the darkest evils I had ever encountered. It was there that I learned the metronome of my life would revolve around the injustices and evils of sex trafficking.

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I went in and out and in and out and in and out of the display numerous times. I’ll never forget walking into the makeshift brothel filled with pictures and videos and a rackety bed with dirty sheets in the center of the room. I’ll never forget reading the statistics of women and children that barely penetrated the translucent red walls meant to portray the red light district. I’ll never forget walking out of the brothel for the last time and saying Yes to God and His plans for me in this darkness.

To be continued…