After deciding that I no longer wanted to help from afar but rather hands-on in the Philippines, there was a lot to discuss. When was I to go? Would it be just me, or would Gavin and Keith come, too? Wait -- can I even bring a baby to the Philippines? Is it SAFE?! How much is this going to cost?!? What the heck am I thinking?!!?!
After the avalanche of questions formed in my mind, I decided to stop. Breathe. And pray. I prayed for confirmation. I prayed that this wasn't just another one of my crazy little ideas. And when I received that confirmation, it was complete bliss. I have never felt so certain of any idea I've had in my life. This is it -- I am going to the Philippines.
But when? We are thinking the fall/winter of next year. As for all of the other questions? I have no idea. Depending on the type of trip I am taking it may just be me. However, Keith has a friend who actually lives in the Philippines and we may take a family trip out there. My biggest concern is going there alone and having to leave Gavin for two weeks. He would be between 6 months and 9 months old and I ache already just thinking about the separation. I keep telling myself that it's not my job to worry about it. It's my job to trust God, and He'll work everything out.
Next question: How am I going to help fight human trafficking? I can't exactly go door to door and demand the freedom of imprisoned girls. While that sounds lovely, it'd be pretty much asking for danger. Nothing is for certain, but I do have a few leads. I've contacted numerous organizations to include the International Justice Mission, Love 146, Bob Tebow Evangelistic Missions and My Refuge House inquiring about missions opportunities. Unfortunately, because of the sensetive nature of the work they do, some of these organizations do not offer short-term trips, or trips at all for that matter. Unless I am willing to commit to a minimum of 9 months, I won't be able to partner with these amazing organizations. I was pretty bummed out about this situation, but there is hope.
One night while I was on my church's missions website, I discovered that they are planning a trip to combat human trafficking. In the Philippines. With My Refuge House! Never in my life have I felt more foolish when I discovered this trip. I shook my head and said "This is impossible! What are the odds!!!!" Then, I felt as though God was shaking his head at me and asking "Did you not think I was capable?" I sat in amazement and thanked Him for this trip, while also apologizing for my ignorant shock. :)
This mission trip is to take place next November and I have submitted my application to attend. My concern? They are only looking for 8-10 people for this trip, and my church literally has over 20,000 people. While the numbers are discouraging, if this is God's Will, then I will be apart of this team.
But wait...there's more. I was contacted by a rep from My Refuge House, which is a safe home for women and children who have been rescued from sex-trafficking, and am going to be partnering with them to raise awareness of their organization, and hopefully raise financial support.
BUT that's not all. (God is SO good!)
When asked if I had any skills, and I was like "Um, I think I'm a good listener...OH! And I know how to film and edit!" The man I was talking to seemed really excited about this and said that may be an avenue for me to take. My Refuge House is putting together a Media Team to film in the Philippines and depending on when it happens, I could potentially be a part of this!!!! I cannot explain the excitement I have over this possibility! Just when I thought that I couldn't make a difference on my own, BAM! God shows up and opens the door.
So while nothing is set in stone and many things have to happen for me to make it to the Philippines next year, I am preparing myself as if things are already set. Because when it happens and I get the news that I am going, I want to be ready. Spiritually, physically and financially ready.
This is only the beginning of my journey to fight human trafficking, and it will not be the only time I contribute. Law school is definitely still an option, and I am overflowing with anxious excitement to see what the future holds.