Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking
by Sharon Holeman photos by Praise First Media, LLC
My friend speedy is a classic car enthusiast. He spends hours restoring things that might otherwise be disregarded. He repairs the broken pieces of an engine, replacing old parts and tweaking the rest, polishing and detailing until the metal shines and sparkles
The same loving care is then taken on the car’s interior – from floorboards and seating, to the dashboard gauges, to the exterior paint, tires and rims. Every detail is taken into account. It’s not a quick process. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s a process that requires patience and a lot of effort, but he does it knowing that the result will be worth the work. Doesn’t this sound like what our loving Father does for us?
Webster’s Dictionary defines patience as “the power of suffering with fortitude; uncomplaining endurance of evils or wrongs.” My goodness, I don’t think I ever realized how much Jesus looks like patience personified. “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7 NLT)
The expanded definition from Webster’s reads “constancy in labor or application; perseverance.” I see Jesus in this description, too. His determination when it comes to the pursuit of our hearts and the restitution he offers through his loyalty in labor testifies of his great love for us.
This restoration, both in ourselves and in classic cars, is reflected in Cars at the Crosses, an event sponsored by Bethany Church. The annual car show benefits Trafficking Hope, an organization that aims to fight human trafficking on the frontlines of neighborhoods and communities. Founded in 2007 by Laura and Lee Domingue, the group partners with local and state law enforcement agencies, corporate and private sector groups and churches. Their C.A.R.E.S Initiative (Coalition, Awareness, Rescue, Education, Service) helps local churches combat the problem, and they even have a resource designed for small groups.
According to a report from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the number of substantive calls received from Louisiana in 2016 was 334, which constitutes the 20th highest call volume of all 50 states and Washington D.C. Louisiana also reported 108 trafficking cases. As of June 30, 2017, the number of calls in Louisiana was 139 with 59 trafficking cases reported. These statistics sadly put us on target to exceed last year’s case count. That’s 59 daughters and sons in our state whose lives have been tragically impacted already this year, and possibly others who could currently be in despair.
While the figures are disheartening, we must not grow weary of doing good, for perseverance pays off. As an informed community, we can be better prepared to help stop this unthinkable crime, and through organizations like Trafficking Hope, reach out to victims with the expectation of healing and renewal through Jesus. It will take forgiveness and fortitude, commitment and strength, patience and time to see improvements. And while we know patience isn’t always easy, and restoration is rarely a quick process, it’s always worth the work.
For more information, visit the website at traffickinghope.org or attend the Cars at the Crosses event on Saturday, October 21, at Bethany Church off Siegen Lane, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Although the show is raising money for a serious cause, Cars at the Crosses is a familyfriendly event complete with food trucks, live music, inflatables for the kids, and of course, some of the coolest cars in town. You’ll be able to donate to Trafficking Hope, admire some beautifully polished vintage chrome, and you might even run into my friend Speedy.
Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles – 12 American Women, 12 True stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her
Glory and inspire Louisiana , she is now penning her first screenplay. Ministry Today
showcased one of her photographs on the cover and several others as article imagery. Sharon is a graduate of the University of Texas at san Antonio and The Art institute of Houston. she is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word.