As we have mentioned before, Jonah and I volunteer with an amazing organization here in Atlanta called Out of Darkness. They are an anti-trafficking organization that rescues women (and sometimes men) from a life of prostitution and trafficking. If you aren't aware, Atlanta is a main hub for human trafficking (particularly sex trafficking) here in the United States. When we first learned this we were shocked, but once we went through training with OOD, we were horrified at the broadness of it. By this I mean that it happens right here in our backyard, in middle-class suburban neighborhoods, as well as inner city areas. How does this continue to go on without us even realizing it? How do these young girls get trapped and deceived into something so dark? What can we do to stop it? To help these girls? To stop these men and women that continually fuel the industry?
All of these questions were in our hearts as we started feeling prompted by the Lord to do something several years ago. It was a gradual process. Jonah looked up several local organizations in the area (there are quite a few if you are looking to get involved) and found that OOD offered training sessions every few months. We signed up, went through the training, and have since been volunteering where we feel God is leading us.
One area we both volunteer with is the Ambassadors team (speaking, events, fundraising etc.). It's neat how God has opened a door for us to volunteer in an area that uniquely uses the gifts and talents we have been given.
Recently we had the honor of shooting an event for OOD called the Seeds of Hope benefit dinner. It was a very special dinner with two purposes; to show appreciation to volunteers and survivors, and to serve as the primary annual fundraiser for OOD. It takes over $7,500 to help one woman through a year of recovery, and this year has already been booming with over 50 rescues!! It was an engaging and humbling night to take part in as we heard from a survivor an incredible story of God's providence and celebrated restoration and sacrifice. And meeting the whole staff at OOD and seeing so many other volunteers that serve where God has called them was a unique and beautiful experience.
I am not sure of the plans that God has for Jonah and I as we seek Him in this and as we continue to volunteer with OOD, but I am grateful for the calling He has placed on our lives. If you would like to know more about Out Of Darkness, you can visit them here, or send us an e-mail as we'd love to share our own story.
Here are a few highlights from the evening!