A little girl born in Texas. A little girl born in Africa. And somehow God manages to bring them together in a series of events that will change their lives forever.
This is how I think of my friendship with my bff Mariam. She was born in Africa, and was trafficked into the United States. God brought her to Texas and we met in high school where our friendship began. We have been through a lot together and I am very thankful to have found a friend as trustworthy, caring, and true as she. It just baffles my mind how God conducts everything to bring us to our callings and what we are meant to do in life. Let me explain.
This past weekend was the Free the Captives 2011 Houston Conference, this is an Anti-Human Trafficking non-profit that put together a day of sessions so that people can be more aware of the reality of Human Trafficking. Mariam, having survived it through the power and hope in Jesus Christ, was asked to give a brief account of her story during a session. She mentioned that I was a photographer and Julie the wonderful director of FTC invited me to take some photos of the event. The night after the conference I was browsing photos, and just thinking about the divine appointments that God had made that day.
Julie Waters the founder and director of FTC(facebook) is very knowledgeable of groups and non profits that work to prevent and help those that are victims of human trafficking and to bring awareness to the issue. She was so sweet and kind, she and her husband let us crash on their floor(mattresses) and we had some wonderful conversations.
Ted Wall a speaker at the conference(who also happened to be the Pastor at Julie's church) told how God's gift of art can be used to bring awareness and healing to those affected by human trafficking. His church has an arts non-profit called Vox Culture (linked to their blog/website) who just recently conducted a bus tour/art show to make people aware human trafficking. I was so glad to meet him because I have not met an arts group that really focuses on the cause rather than promoting oneself.
Now I think of myself as one of God's children that he repeatedly has to tell me things over and over again before I get it and that night it just all of a sudden hit me. You see I've known for a while now that I wanted to be a missionary photographer, that God is leading me toward Cambodia, however there was still a piece missing. The why, what for, the question of "what cause is leading me there?" Was I going to tackle everything or just one piece of the puzzle? Being with Mariam this past weekend, hearing everyone speaking I came to the realization that being friends with her was no mistake. Our lives are linked and I'm apart of her ministry, and I now know that God wants me to use these artistic gifts to bring awareness to the issue of Human Trafficking in the world. Its like it just clicked. I told Mariam about this and she was like "Yeah I already knew that." I laughed because like I said sometimes it takes me a bit.
All in all I'm glad that it took me a while. It taught me to wait on God. There are so many opportunities to go to Cambodia with different groups and such however, I needed to make sure there was a clear purpose and objective to my going instead of showing up and having no clue what to do when I got into a foreign country. Now this gives me a place to work toward. I know that there is a path to be taken, and I can't wait to see how God gets me to this destination.
If you would like more information on Human Trafficking I will be making a new tab with links to videos and other websites that are useful. Check back soon.
P.S. This morning I received an anonymous email from someone and it simply said this:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Praying for you today!It was a sweet reminder that even when we forget to pray for ourselves, that God knows when to put it on the hearts of others to encourage us and to lift us up. Isn't the body of Christ amazing?
1. Pray for Gordon Griffith and his ministry to the Karen people in Burma, Thailand.
2. Pray for Julie Waters and Free the Captives, they are doing an amazing job of educating and equipping people to do Gods work for this Anti-Human Trafficking movement.
3. Pray for Vox Culture that they would continue on using their gifts to glorify God and his kingdom.