Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hope for Human Trafficking Victims

Photo credit: Katie Martinez
The transformation of a human life is far more astonishing than that of a homely moth turned into a spectacular butterfly. And, that's what's happening because of the lovingkindness of Christians, who have chosen to make a difference in someone's life.

In the past two days, I've received two emails that demonstrate how Christians can help bring about such a metamorphosis. The first came from a friend, who has taken the time to build a relationship with a teen trafficking victim.  This girl struggled to leave behind what she perceived to be the "family," she became part of shortly after running away from home. Deceived into thinking they cared about her, she was arrested numerous times while my friend prayed and encouraged her in every possible way to leave "the life" behind. Yet this girl continued returning to the streets until several arrests resulted in her being sent to juvenile hall. While there, my friend's influence finally came to fruition, and her prayers were answered. The girl accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and is now starting to live life on His terms. She's back in high school and doing well.

The other email revealed hope for the future of girls like her--as college graduates. Point Loma Nazarene University has begun offering a new scholarship program for former victims of human trafficking. And, hopefully this program will eventually spread far beyond San Diego.

A young woman's past shouldn't have to define her future and when people care enough to get involved, it won't. In his email my friend Jamie Gates, the director of the university’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation,  included the details of how people can help with these scholarships. With great excitement, he said:
We've launched a 45-day crowd-funding campaign for the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund to help survivors of human trafficking get a college education!  We're aiming to raise $40,000 by Dec. 14, i.e. a symbolic amount equal to what it costs Point Loma Nazarene University to educate one student for a year; in practice this will serve multiple students in the first year, and is seed money for a long-term funding plan.  We want the world to see that Christians care about helping survivors move forward with "hope and a future."  We also know we serve a God who can do "abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine"!
And the beauty is, as my kids say...this is for reals!  We already have three survivors in the early stages of applying to PLNU for the Fall of 2015!

Would you please get involved?  Would you be willing to mobilize those in your circles to get involved in the following ways:

Step 1Pray for us all in this endeavor, especially as survivors begin to join our campus as early as Fall 2015.

Step 2: Help spread the word.  Like, share and repost our online updates 

Step 3: Give even a little bit to the crowdfund campaign as early as possible to show publicly how wide the support is.  It will also greatly assist in encouraging others from off campus to give.  This campaign will only last 45 days.  Help us blow past the $40,000 seed money goal that our student leaders challenged us to meet.

Every little bit helps.  We're settling in for the long haul on this one.  This 45 day crowd funding's a major leap of faith.  But what a fun way to start!

Wouldn't you like to join Point Loma's fun and help change a life by praying, contributing, and spreading the word? By making this program a success, maybe in a couple more years the young girl who finally got off the streets can go to college. With the Body of Christ at work, the transformative possibilities are endless.

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