Saturday, March 16, 2013

Traffick Jam 2013!!!

If you’ve been following our family for almost any time at all, you know that we had a different life last year.  We lived among the broken. We tried to shine our lights in a place filled with much darkness. We listened as people shared their tragic stories. We hurt with them. We cried with them. We longed for a better future for them.

Yet, in the blackness, we saw hope, too. 

 We were able to give human trafficking a face. Dozens of them. As my kids and I visited Hard Places week after week, the statistics became little eyes full of beauty and wonder and little arms that gave the grandest hugs. Children whose lives had been harder than you or I can fathom, but who smiled when they walked in the doors of Hard Places. They weren’t numbers to me anymore, and I still see their faces when I close my eyes. I see them smiling, happy, full of wonder, and hopeful for a better future.

I miss them like crazy.

Jack with some of the boys, all speaking to him in Khmer, hence the confused face

The staff at Hard Places is amazing. They are Christian men and women living in a Buddhist culture, witnessing the evidence of sexual sin at its worst on a daily basis. They love the children who enter their doors at the boys’ center, and now, a girls’ center, too. These are street children who have known no life but manual work and poverty. CHILDREN. At night, most were sold by their parents, a sibling, or a relative, to predators, where they were exploited and then sent back home in the morning. Once Hard Places opened, though, the kids were able to find a safe place to play, to learn some English, to hear God’s Word, and to find true love through the ministry of these dear people. Now, they have over 70 children at the boys’ center alone! The new girls’ center is up and running, and girls are excited to run to the open doors each day. 

Oh, goodness, did I mention I miss those kids?  I crazy miss those sweet kids!

Boys playing at the center 

And since I can’t go back right now, I wanted to find other ways to help. It’s a small nonprofit organization, so they don’t have access to the big fundraising opportunities some larger orgs do, and they don’t waste money on those things either. Instead, each year they host a nation-wide Traffick Jam Walk-a-Thon.  It’s on April 6 and cities all over the USA join together to walk 10 miles for these kids, each walker earning $10 per mile. I am honored to join in this year! I noticed they haven’t ever had a Texas city before, so I tried to follow God's will, step up to the challenge, and host a walk in Houston!

I was planning a huge event. I was thinking we’d fill up Reliant Stadium with thousands of people, shoot a gun to signal start, and everyone would happily walk (or run, but I said happily...) 10 miles before we had a big party at the end with fireworks going off and cheers and a whole array of Texas BBQ trucks to fill up our hungry bellies.  Not to mention the 16 tv crews that would arrive to hear about this great organization and help the kids!
But I’m new here. I don’t know anyone here. I had trouble getting a big sponsor due to the shorter notice and already planned events.

Um, maybe next year?  Maybe next year we can have fireworks and BBQ and news coverage?  Maybe?

My imagination ran wild but my heart was in the right place. I wanted to raise as much as I could for these precious children and the organization saving their precious little unfair lives.  

So I’m still going to walk.

I’m going to walk 10 miles, and I’m going to be thinking of those sweet faces and little hands I held so many times for the whole walk. My whole family is going to walk with me, too.

Go Traffick Jam 2013!

Will you walk with us?  

You can sign up at for a walk near you, or if you are in Houston, contact me to register and get your fundraising packet!  Each walker raises $10 per mile, plus a $10 registration fee.  Shirts are also available to anyone interested!  Check this other website to order the 2013 shirt in 3 colors.

Better yet, will you give?

We need sponsors for our walk
.  They ask that we earn $10 per mile, totaling $100 per walker (for our family of four).  But I’m a dreamer, remember, and I want the fireworks to go off, even if just in my head, so let's raise even more.  Way more!  Will you sponsor us?

1) handing me cash in an envelope marked Traffick Jam
2) mailing a check (received by Apr 6) written to I.O.M. (International Outreach Ministries) with Traffick Jam Houston in the memo line. Contact me for the mailing address.
3) Or, go to the site and give here by clicking on “donate” on the right side.

You don’t have to tell me you gave, but it would be fun to total up the “Houston Traffick Jam” totals, so we can celebrate together.

I love everyone who reads this, because it means you care about these children, too. 

They are real.  Not statistics.  They have sweet faces and big hearts.  They need our help. 

And I miss them like crazy.

Photo courtesy of The Hard Places Community Facebook Page

So, thank you. 
Thank you for reading. 
Thank you for walking. 
Thank you for giving. 
Thank you for caring.
Thank you for being Jesus to the least of these.

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