We've all heard that "God works in mysterious ways."
But sometimes He works in the kind of way that hits you over the head with a 2x4.
I got WHACKED recently. In the head with that 2x4.
An acquaintance of mine, a woman whom I'd met on the playground of Rice Elementary while we were waiting to pick up our children every afternoon, suggested a story idea to me for IN Magazine.
She told me about this new place in East Texas, a refuge for girls who are SURVIVORS of sex trafficking.
Hmmmmm....I thought...Isn't that a problem in places like Thailand? Or Cambodia? Or Brazil?
No, it's not.
Did you know that Atlanta, yes, the one in Georgia, is the world's No. 1 destination for sex trafficking?
Nope, me either.
And I didn't even know that until yesterday.
But several months ago, I assigned a GREAT writer to a story on the Refuge of Light organization, a long-term safe home for girls who have survived sex trafficking. These are girls who haven't been imported from Asia, or the former Eastern Block countries; these are girls who have been captured into sex slavery right in our own backyard.
Guess where the No. 2 sex trafficking in the US is?
I'm not sure how God was working here.
As the editor of IN Magazine, I promote AMAZING community causes in EVERY issue.
But if I were to volunteer with each organization I'm so enthralled with, I'd need at least 17,893 hours in the week to give everyone my best effort.
When that AWESOME writer, Cathy Primer Krafve, turned in her story, I was intrigued.
There's a certain journalistic distance from the things we write about.
But not this one.
Something was needling me.
And so I was on my way to Newk's, to have lunch with a girlfriend, and I had the OVERWHELMING NEED to message MISSY ZIVNEY, the assistant director of Refuge of Light, and tell her I'd like to do MORE.
She readily accepted anything my skill set and talents could contribute.
Then, that week, I had lunch with one of my dearest friends (even though I thought she hated me for about a year). Leslie Sanford had just returned from the CATALYST conference in Dallas.
The two major issues that the church outreach discussed were sex trafficking and clean water initiatives.
Leslie and I had lunch at Wasabi, our favorite place. She told me all about Catalyst, and it touched my heart.
Leslie, I said, did you know we have local initiatives in both of those areas?
Leslie, the volunteer coordinator for WIRED, a singles ministry of GREEN ACRES BAPTIST CHURCH, did not.
So I filled her in.
And all her volunteers are on board.
And YESTERDAY we had a meeting for Refuge of Light. Missy reports that 5 people were at the first meeting. I'd estimate almost 20 were at yesterday's meeting. So many of us came to Missy in unusual ways.
Sex trafficking and the exploitation of children isn't only a third world issue. It's right here.
So I'm giving my time and talent to Refuge of Light.
And so should you.