Pop-Up: Two Leaves
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
We’ve been fighting trafficking together for almost one year now. I’m taking some time to reflect on what we’ve experienced so far. It is truly awe-inspiring to think of how far we’ve come in restoring the shattered hearts and minds of Survivors. We have our eyes on the property for the first Sanctuary. We’ve created a network of local support in Romania. We’ve already rescued forty-five Survivors this year. Truly, we are unlocking cages together.
None of this would be possible without God’s support, and He’s been with us every step of the way. I want to share with you a divine moment, a “pop-up,” as my sister and I like to call them. I have felt so grateful that God sends us these little reminders that show us that we are on the right track. These pop-ups keep my heart going when the burden of sex trafficking feels like too much to bear. I hope they’ll inspire you too.
In August of 2018, I was attending our Security & Psychology Summit in California. We brought together a contingent of experts to map out Uncaged’s initial strategy. I sat in conversations with people whose expertise far exceeded my own. I could barely follow some of the conversations as they were laden with jargon in fields I didn’t understand. Midway through the week, I went to my favorite bench overlooking the ocean and prayed, “God, are you sure you have the right person for this job? And am I on the right track?" I asked. Doubts swirled in my mind.
When I was walking back to the building after prayer, I noticed an aloe leaf. On it, someone had carved in big letters a word... “Romania.” I thought it was strange because I knew nothing about Romania. Regardless, I felt the leaf was for me and snapped a photo of it. In the days following I was introduced to Beni Lup, who has since become our partner on the ground in (you guessed it) Romania! And since then we have discovered that Romania will be the location of our first Sanctuary.
A couple months later I was back in the same location. I had a particularly difficult day where I felt betrayed and alone. Feeling utterly discouraged, I wandered out on the same path and simply gazed out across the ocean. “Lord,” I prayed, “I am here to remind you that these traffic survivors are Your people, and this is Your problem. It’s feeling really heavy right now, and I’m not sure that I can do this.” I hung my head.
king down at the ground, another leaf caught my eye. On it, the word “Romania” glistened once again! Tears and laughter welled up in me. “God, you’re hilarious,” I said, shaking my head. This time, I knew that message was for me. I ran for my phone and snapped another photo.
Ever since that week, God continues to show me why Romania is a strategic location to co
mbat human trafficking. So many precious Survivors hail from this country. How great is it that we get to turn this nation, so vulnerable to trafficking, back into a land of healing and hope?
I’ll probably never know who carved the word Romania into those two leaves, but I’m grateful that they did. I’m even more grateful for the journey God has put us on with Uncaged.
Who can stand against us? Let’s bring healing to hundreds, even thousands of Survivors.
We hold the keys to freedom.