“We need an *NGO!” Those words made my heart leap out of my chest every time our friends from Homeland Security (HSI) said them. Those words meant hope and freedom to me, but not for me. Those words meant a quick prayer asking the Lord to help me connect quickly, help me listen intently, help me to respond rightly, but most of all, I begged God for us not to lose a single one because that meant the possibility of another captive going free.
Recently Refuge for Women had an incredible opportunity to participate in an operation that focused on rescuing potential trafficking victims and identifying the individuals exploiting them. There were two distinct personalities involved – law enforcement from various agencies and states and several non-profits whose hearts were knitted together over the one cause for which we all rallied – freeing women from human slavery.
The HSI team we worked with breaks the mold when it comes to law enforcement. I would describe them as gentle giants – the authority they carry is unmistakable, but the heart and desire of each one was clearly evident. They were not seeking to arrest anyone; they wanted each woman we encountered to understand there were options and resources… that’s why we were there.
The details of this operation were carefully considered and thoughtfully planned. Looking around the room at each individual who understood their assignment, it looked like a beautifully orchestrated concerto or a masterpiece upon a canvas – everything, everyone, working together for a common goal.
I didn’t want to leave when my shift had come to an end. I wanted to stay and continue to speak hope, value, and opportunity into these women’s lives. As I was saying goodbye to the dedicated team, I let the head of HSI know I was in! I was in for each and every operation they would plan, I was in for supporting them as the heroes of law enforcement that they are, I was in for continuing to lock arms with my sister organizations to fight the good fight.
The room that day was filled with the same heart and the same goal in mind… we were there to set the captives free!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. ~Isaiah 61:1-2 NLT
*non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit group that functions independently of any government.