Faith Formation - Pastor Sarah's Post

 October 2018 

Did you know?....“In the United States, as many as 2.8 million kids run away from home every year.  Within 48 hours of being on the run they will be approached by a pimp, trafficker or perpetrator looking to sexually exploit them.”  (Terebinth Refuge email)

Hard statistic to swallow….we don’t want to believe that we live in a world like that, a world where someone chooses to sell children for money and use them for sex.  And yet, the reality is the illegal profits made from trafficking or sexual exploitation is $99 billion dollars or 66% of the trafficking pie, which also includes forced labor and domestic servitude.  These statistics are from the International Labour Organization, the World Economic Forum.  The Bible is clear in telling us how important children are to God.  Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.”

 A phrase that seems to always be on my mind is that it takes a village to raise a child.  Today, however, society has created walls instead of a village.  People are disconnected from each other, replacing face to face conversation with text messages and leisure time with electronic games.  The result is staggering.  Young people are finding connection in unhealthy ways, seeking companionship and love in a virtual world.  What they are finding is not love but abuse, drugs, and a great deal of danger.  Look on facebook.  You will constantly see posters of missing youth, often with comments about how they met someone online.  These perpetrators are good.  Good kids are falling into the trap of being groomed by these people, often right under the nose of school teachers, counselors, parents, and friends.  I believe it is time to rise up as a community.  No longer can we think that because we live in Brandon or Evansville, MN that it cannot happen here.  I have noticed even in this area that people on facebook are reporting suspicious people and vehicles that seem to be canvassing the area…and this IS what it takes to be that village.  People need to pay attention, to pass the word, to educate themselves and children….. to get INVOLVED in the lives of young people.

 On Sunday, October 14th Grace Through Faith Ministries is going to team up.  There will be a joint worship service at Grace at 9 a.m. which will talk about this very issue.  Laurie Kallevig who works on a global scale with her ukulele ministry will share her passion and call.  Others from the community will share what is going on in our area around human trafficking and what we can do to be that village to support and nurture our youth.  This will be an ongoing conversation with other opportunities for education and awareness.  Curriculum will be presented during confirmation touching on this topic with the students and any parents that want to attend. Self-defense classes will be offered empowering young girls and women to stand up for themselves, giving them the tools to keep their bodies safe.  Please plan on attending this worship service, it will be difficult, but I feel very necessary as we work to keep our young people safe.  I look forward to this service as well as the opportunity to serve both congregations as your pastor….and feel very blessed by the welcome I have received.  Thank you!

 Blessings,

Pastor Sarah