One thing I’ve really enjoyed since I started fundraising is all the opportunities I have had to get invested in the fight against trafficking right here in Oregon. Last week I attended a one-day conference in Portland on sex trafficking in the city and what the church can do to get involved. We had a lot of great breakout sessions to hear from ministries in Portland that are working to end trafficking and heard testimony from two brave survivors in the morning.
The most impactful part of the conference for me wasn’t the sessions, but one short, unplanned moment. When we came back together in the afternoon the man leading the conference got up to start the next session but then he said he was going to do something unplanned, something only he and the Lord knew about.
He invited one of the survivors up to the front, stood facing her, and with tears in his eyes and a choked voice apologized to her on behalf of all the men that had ever hurt her, abused her, and treated her as if she was less than human. He asked her forgiveness for all the pain that had been forced on her and he told her how much she deserved to be loved and valued as a daughter of God. I can’t describe the look on her face, she had no words and I don’t either, but her smile was radiant. They hugged, parted, and then she would pull him in for another hug, four times they ran through that cycle. The smile never left her face.
There are spontaneous, authentic moments where you get to see the face of God in His people; this was one of those moments for me. I got a glimpse into the restoration and healing God can work in the face of human trafficking. That is at the heart of why I am doing what I’m doing.
I long for restoration and healing, for the victim and the trafficker. I long for reconciliation. I long for each one to know God’s forgiveness and the hope He offers. I want to see that radiant smile on each of their faces when they come face to face with the forgiveness and healing God offers through Jesus. That God invites me to be part of the work He is doing, that He invites me to bear witness to changed hearts and lives, is such a great honor and privilege. I feel so blessed to be a small part of the work God is doing around the world through HOPE61.