Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faith and Sacrifice

Although I have been tremendously blessed by all the amazing people God has brought across my path this past week in Texas, I am homesick for my Latin home and the team that have become my family.  The season has shifted for me and I find that I will travel more this year to raise awareness of trafficking and to raise funds. My heart hurts a little at the thought of being separated from my team, the women and children there and missing out on some of the amazing things God is doing in Central America. David says in Psalms, "teach me your way, Lord that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart...." This passage brought so much comfort, I need an undivided heart as I focus on the tasks ahead rather than what I am missing. Faith and sacrifice are the anthems for a life lived poured out for Jesus and the evidence of both should be seen in our lives daily.  I have to continually challenge my heart to check that I am willing to do the hard things God asks of me even when I don't understand the reasons. He is so faithful, my God never fails me. 1 John 4:16 tells us we know and rely on the love God has for us. Do I do truly know and believe this truth? I find today as I pray and spend time with Jesus that this principle John was laying out was optionless. I have but only to know and rely on His love. This is how I survive weeks of unknown. Thank you to all of you who pray for us.
I wanted to update everyone on our teams that are scattered. I am posting a few paragraphs I received from two of our short-term team members who are currently serving in Costa Rica. Here are their thoughts:
"As I entered Costa Rica, I felt a familiar presence—much like an old friend.  I have been to Costa Rica twice before and I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while.  And God must have been too because His grace definitely comes down here with us.  The pace of life here is much slower compared to normal life in the States, but it is a good change.  It gives us the time needed to reexamine greater things and priorities, but also allows for us to further press into the Kingdom of God through prayer, fasting, and intercession—something that is much needed on the mission field.  Since I arrived one week ago, I have gone on several events put on by YWAM that outreach to the local prostitute population, and I have been rocked by seeing the love in the eyes of my fellow Christians in YWAM and the need of love in the eyes of those in bondage on the streets—God is doing big things down here with these people and with Lightforce.  This is the greatest time of our lives, and how could it not be?"

"One week? I feel as though I have been in Costa Rica for twice if not three times as long, which in this case is a great thing. I am here to soak up every aspect that Lightforce is involved in as well as the beauty of Costa Rica. The first week has included busy time as well as time to just sit back and think; which as an American I can say doesn’t happen very often. I have really enjoyed immersing myself in the Latin American culture and their ability to enjoy the day for every minute given to them. Twice this week as a group in addition to YWAM(youth with a mission) we have gone into downtown San Jose and ministered to the prostitutes and transvestites. Feeling the darkness in the streets and realizing that the light inside of us is greater than that darkness has been the driving force behind my compassion for these people. God is greater than the darkness here. Ultimately I have enjoyed learning about God, Costa Rica, and myself but know there is much more to learn."


For updates from Laura go here and find out what God is doing on the streets of Costa Rica!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Driven by Love

I recently had the incredible, challenging privilege to educate a couple of classes at a local high school on human trafficking and its effect on the Superbowl. I loved every second of the day! They asked such great questions and had a desire to help find solutions. As we discussed real problems and possible solutions, I could tell they were all still trying to process the hard truth about what goes on during famous events such as the Superbowl. For many, the Superbowl will never look the same. 

LightForce is teaming up with the Dallas chapter of Jesus Said Love run by Lori Warren to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation that will take place around the Superbowl. I have the sweet honor of representing LightForce at a big event this coming weekend.
I am looking forward to all God has in store and I will keep everyone posted as the next few weeks progress.

Laura is heading up our side of ministry and outreach on the streets of San Jose's red light districts in my absence. There are many exciting plans in the works for the opening of a coffee house. We are praying for God's direction and provision.

Anita is back and getting the newly owned house called, "Lighthouse" in Nicaragua ready for our grand opening. 

I sit in a hotel typing this and catching up on much needed rest and prayer in preparation for the next few weeks in Dallas. One of my friends teased me that she would like to switch places because my life was so much more fascinating than hers. I looked around my hotel room and thought of how things must look through her perspective. While she thinks her life is too boring and quiet, I at times envy that life. I think how crazy I must seem to the average person I meet.
 Bayard Taylor wrote, "The bravest are the most tender; the loving are the daring."
I think people often think I am really brave and live my life as Tomb Raider's, Laura Croft. I smile at the thought of how in a very tiny way, there are similarities to Laura Croft's missions and mine. However the similarities may be, one thing for sure is not, my life and look is definitely nothing close to as glamorous as Croft's!

Bayard Taylor's statement rang so true to my heart.
I have watched the pattern in my own life; as I derive my bravery from loving God, my heart becomes more tender. As my heart becomes more tender, I feel my compassion for others increase. As the cycle spins over and over the choices we dare to make become seemingly "crazy".

The world's standard would tell me my life is abnormal, adventurous, extreme and cutting edge. Jesus takes me to the foot of the cross where the stage was set for life lived by abnormal, adventurous, extreme and cutting edge. Jesus was and always has been CUTTING EDGE. What the world calls abnormal, God calls normal. My life and what I do in LightForce is totally and completely normal! Yep, life is like a movie when Jesus is Lord. Read enough stories of life for the disciples through the scope of normality and you will agree.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Made Aware

27 Million, a number that haunts me. 27 million, a number that has become a passion of mine to change. 
In September of 2009, I was made aware of the number 27 million.
To some of you reading this post, 27 million might seem random or insignificant. However, it is important you be made aware of the significance of the number, 27 million.

It is estimated that there are 27 million people enslaved in trafficking rings worldwide. Out of this 27 million, 80 percent are women and children and out of all female victims, 70 percent are trafficked for the commercial sex industry. The largest portion of victims trafficked in the world are trafficked for sex.

Slavery? Trafficking? Victims? Children? 

Yes, is the answer to all of these above questions. Yes, it does happen. You and I live in the largest slavery movement in all of history. 

LightForce International Ministries along with many other organizations, exists to fight against eslavement and exploitation of women and children in the commercial sex industry. 

Perhaps you are feeling like I first did upon learning of the devestating business of sex trafficking. Shocked. Horrified. Sad. Helpless. Imagine how much more devestating it would feel to meet one of 27 million face to face and learn she was only seven years old when she was sold to a brothel. Hard to believe but I met her and hugged her tiny, scared little body. 

If you were to google or research 27 million, statistics would hit you from everywhere. The fact is, 27 million is a number of a statistic in the studies done of trafficking victims. To many people 27 million is just a statistic. To others, perhaps it is still just a random number. However, to me, 27 million is so much more.
27 million has a face, name, age and a dream.

What Can I do?

1.) Educate yourself, become aware. Research and learn. There a few good resources out there such as: 
There are so many but these will at least help you get started.

2.) Spread the word. Once you become educated, pass the information along to others who are not aware. Traffickers have built their horrible empires and bank on the foundation of ignorance to the problem world wide. The average person knows very little or nothing of Human Trafficking. 

3.) Get involved! 
All of us have different roles in fighting against modern day slavery. Pray and ask God what role he would have you step into.
Help us out! Use your voice!
Fundraisers or Signing up to host a "MADE AWARE-27 million isn't just a number" Campaign in your local area is a great help!
By helping us spread the word and educate people, you personally assist in the rescue process of victims world wide.
You can:
-Plan an event to raise awareness or fundraise for LightForce or another existing organization in your city.
(Many organizations are underfunded and helping them fundraise is a huge help!)
-Create media that answers common questions about trafficking
-Volunteer for an organization that works to prevent trafficking
Whatever role you step into is of great importance.

If you would like information on how to help LightForce out, please contact us here  and let us know how you are specifically interested.

LightForce had an amazing and productive year in 2010 of fighting against sexual exploitation of women and children. We received an incredible batch of interns this year! LightForce was also blessed to partner with some amazing organizations as well.
Our staff thanks all of you who prayed, supported and served alongside us this year. We are humbled and blessed by our amazing partners.

Happy New Year!