In addition to greater opportunities to pray for the sick and to bless people, my confidence and boldness to reach out and take a risk has greatly increased. More importantly, I have observed that many of the volunteers, especially among the young people, have never had or taken an opportunity to reach out and serve the poor in a public gathering. A vision for such service is birthed in them. I have seen multiple times how the clinics are an opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds, ages, experience, maturity levels, talents, and church backgrounds to come together.
Heroes can come in the unlikeliest of places, and they don't always announce themselves as heroes (or even know that they are). But the woman who extended forgiveness to her son after years of bitterness, the high schooler who vowed to change the way he treats women, and the teenager who defied the nagging voices of insecurity to summit a waterfall---they are our heroes this year, and it's been a gift to be a small part of the journey each one is traveling. These are the stories from each of our models so far this year that stand out and make us listen closely to how God is transforming lives through the united service of the Church.
"It couldn't happen to my child or anyone I know, because they're good kids."
If we are to combat human trafficking and exploitation in our community, we also must fight against the myths that numb us to the real scope of the issue. A recent conversation with a Gresham law enforcement officer sheds some much needed light on the local situation, as well as how Adorned In Grace plays a valuable role in anti-trafficking efforts.
We are blessed to call the Adorned In Grace Bridal & Formalwear Shop part of our anti-human trafficking model. Proceeds from sales of the gorgeous gowns and accessories are put towards prevention, education, aftercare for survivors, and more. The store does so much good but we knew we had to take it to the next level to continue fighting trafficking and aiding women affected by sexual exploitation. We went searching for the right person to manage the store, and we knew our hunt was over when we met Lucinda.
How do you help someone scarred by trauma? How do you step into their life, knowing nothing of the pain they've experienced, and reach so deep as to pluck out a little bit of healing? How do you even begin to relate or offer comfort? If you know someone who has endured a traumatic event, you may have grappled with these questions. At Abolition Now's Hands of Hope mentor training, attendees learned strategies to effectively counsel individuals haunted by the horror of sexual exploitation.