-by Bethany Ury
Last month I attended 5 days of HOPE61 training in Greenwood, IN along with several other godly women of various ages all wanting to know the same thing…What can we do???
The training, which encompassed basics of human trafficking, relevant Bible studies, prevention strategies, ministry methods, and prayer, was great in itself but my favorite part was the deep conversations and discussions that took place during and after the sessions. The word that seemed to pop up most during the week was community. Community is really at the heart of what HOPE61 stands for and seeks to cultivate. When people have community, they are no longer at risk.
One of the best examples of this is Jesus’ relationship with the Samaritan woman in John 4. The woman did not only receive forgiveness, she was restored to community. Despised by Jews because she was a Samaritan, and despised by Samaritans because she’d been divorced several times, this woman had no community. (Unless you count her live-in boyfriend, but somehow I don’t think that was enough.) This woman didn’t just need a Bible lesson, didn’t need yet another person to throw her sins in her face and condemn her. She needed healing, the kind of healing that could only come from knowing she belonged.
Verse 39 tells us that many Samaritans from the village believed the woman’s testimony and came to see Jesus for themselves…in other words, Jesus’ relationship to her (along with His forgiveness) restored this woman’s credibility amongst the people who once rejected her, and ultimately restored her to community.
This is at the heart of HOPE61. To restore people to community, offering them truth, love, and support so that they are no longer at risk. We could base our strategies off a hundred organizations with what they claim is the best step by step method for ending trafficking, but in the end we have no better model than Jesus.