He Came to Set The Captives Free

I have two file-folder boxes in my offices that contain my sermons for the past 24 years. I have folders dated 1994-2017, each containing the printed outlines of my sermons and a CD Rom of the sermons for that year. I haven’t checked in a while, but I wonder if the sermons from the 1990s contain a 3.5” floppy disc instead of a CD!

Every new year I take my file of sermons from the previous year and file it in the box, and then I create a new file for the upcoming year. I was a little behind this year, and I didn’t file my 2017 sermons until the middle of February. While doing so I opened a hanging file folder that contained several brochures and papers. Curious, I took out the contents and as I began to sort through them I immediately recognized these forgotten sources of important information.

Several years ago a few of us from HCOG attended an anti-human trafficking event at Levi Stadium. There were several speakers from local ministries, social service organizations, and law enforcement, including a representative from the F.B.I. In the concourse area of the stadium there were dozens of booths offering information on many resources and organizations that are working around the world to help end the scourge of human trafficking and/or offering help to victims of this terrible crime. Here are a few of these organizations that exist right here in the Bay Area:

    • FREEDOM HOUSE: A New Life for Survivors of Human Trafficking. Freedom House works closely with law enforcement and community partners to identify survivors of human trafficking and to provide them with the care and services they need to rebuild their lives. Through their innovative aftercare model, Freedom House is breaking the cycle of exploitation and creating new futures for survivors. Freedom House Shelters provide basic needs such as food, clothing, housing and transportation. Their case management staff helps each resident to develop an individual car plan, providing medical, psychological, legal, and social services. They help to empower survivors to become selfsufficient by providing ESL/schooling, life skills, job training, and housing support. Their main phone number is 650-488-0831. Web: www.freedomhousesf.com


    • NEW DAY FOR CHILDREN. A faith-based program offering hope and security for girls from the ages of 10-18 caught in the despair of sex trafficking. Since 2008,New Day and its partners have taken a multi-faceted approach to meet the unique needs of the girls rescued; combining shelter, education, therapy, and faith to restore these young victims. Their brochure reads: . . . a place for girls caught in the despair of sex trafficking to regain their stolen childhoods and grow into the adults God uniquely designed them to be . . . Web: www.newdayforchildren.com


    • PILLARS OF HOPE: Rebuilding Lives. Restoring Hope. They offer ser vices and solutions through these five pillars: 1) Awareness – educating our communities and equipping them with knowledge about trafficking; 2) Intervention – a street outreach program to prostitutes offering support, prayer, and a way out of “the life”; 3) Restoration – a comprehensive program addressing physical, psychological, educational and spiritual needs that will lead to independent living; 4) Transition – prepares residents to leave rescue housing (18-24 mos.) to transitional housing; 5) Reintegration – brings former victims back into society and eventually reach self-sufficiency. Their website offers many ways people can get involved, from donations to street outreach. Their website is: www.pillarsofhope.us


    • LUXI HOUSE: Home for Teen Moms. LUXI means to be conspicuous in merit; excel; to sparkle/glitter/shine with reflected light. LUXI House exists to break the destructive cycles caused by teen pregnancy, and to provide teen moms with a place to live, dream and thrive. The plan for LUXI House was conceived in Pastor Steve Willhite’s heart when he found out about the great need for safe, loving homes for young women who were caught in the storms of pregnancy. On his church’s property was a modular building that was in need of a purpose and so when Pastor Steve found the need, he knew what purpose the building could serve- a HOME for pregnant youth! Ways of helping include volunteering, donating goods and services, hosting a baby shower, adopting a room, and others. Website: www.luxihouse.org


  • OUT OF EGYPT NETWORK: addressing human trafficking in the Bay Area and beyond. Their purpose is to build community through education, networking and advocacy to provide for the safety and support for the victims of sex crimes including human trafficking, sexual exploitation
    and sexual assault. This is accomplished y bringing accountability and public awareness to hinder the acts of perpetrators while providing information for prevention and intervention. Website: www.oe-network.org

These are all located in the Bay Area. Here is one that is international:

  • FAAST: Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking. FAAST is a strategic alliance of Christian organizations working together to combat slavery and human trafficking. FAAST provides a framework for collaboration between Christian churches, denominations, universities and communities around the world who are rising up to confront human trafficking. They connect God’s people through the power of partnership, and equip them through the creation of resources, facilitation of training events, and development of anti-trafficking programs. Each partner organization’s impact is multiplied as their resources and efforts are combined to form large-scale anti-trafficking projects. Web: www.faastinternational.org

This is by no means an exhaustive list of organizations and resources that address the horrible crime of human trafficking. The Bay Area Anti Trafficking Coalition (BAATC) is an excellent resource that strives to equip and engage individuals, civic groups, and non-profits with best practices to sustain in the fight against human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. They work to build collaboration between local non-profits to establish a stronger network of care among victim service providers, and educate activists about how to intervene on behalf of those who are enslaved. Website: www.baatc.org

If these types of ministries speak deeply into your heart, and if you believe God might be leading you to be involved in something like this, please let me know. I am sure others are feeling God tug on their hearts as well. Together we can hear God more clearly and get a better understanding of how He may be directing us. The world needs Jesus, and Jesus established His church so we can bring the Kingdom of God into our communities.

Your servant in Christ,

pastor mike