An abolitionist, speaker and advocate living in Manhattan, Raleigh Sadler helps the church understand the issue of human sex trafficking. In this column, he shares the blog of a friend, John Patrick, who lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. Sadler calls him a friend as well as a monthly ministry partner. "I firmly believe that his words and experience will inspire you," Sadler writes.
"Several years ago I was waiting for a train near my office in downtown Chicago. As I stood, waiting in the cold, a young lady approached me. Her name was Sarah. Her natural demeanor seemed timid and reserved, but she pushed through all of that to speak to me.
"Hey, you alone tonight?" she asked.
I was surprised by her forwardness and stumbled for an answer.
"Nah, I have a lot of work to keep me company," I quipped.
She didn't give up and a predictable "offer of services" was made.
I told her I wasn't interested in sex, but that I would buy her dinner if she would tell me her story. She agreed. For the next hour, over a paper plate of gyros and fries, she told me about her journey to the United States.
Sarah told me about life in her home country – the abuse, the privation, her desperate desire to leave. She told me about the day she was offered a job as a nanny in the United States for a wealthy family. Then, she explained how she had been tricked and that no such job was waiting for her in the United States. Having no passport, money, home, or friends she faced deported and the return to her past life of misery, or, work as a prostitute. She chose the latter.
I listened to her story and told her there is hope to escape this life of slavery. Eventually, the conversation shifted to the greater liberation offered in Jesus Christ through His Gospel. She was torn between the fear of her "manager" and the hope of liberation. Sadly, she gave into fear. She left the restaurant and faded back into the darkness of a city too busy to notice her plight.
I know there are thousands of other people who share Sarah's story. They are enslaved to the temporal cruelty of injustice and they are enslaved to the enduring shackles of sin. Having listened to Sarah's story and knowing there are so many others like her, the appropriate question for my family was not, "Why should we support Raleigh's ministry." The question for us is, "How can we not support his ministry?"
We prayed about how much to give Raleigh and decided that our current lifestyle would not allow us to give what we wanted. So, we changed our lifestyle to free up more money. I don't share this detail to highlight our generosity (we could do more). I share this detail to draw attention to the excesses we often enjoy that could be sacrificed for the good of other people. God has richly blessed our partnership with Raleigh by allowing us to see the fruit of our giving. Every time I read a story of conversion to Christ, liberation from slavery, or increased awareness I'm reminded of Sarah. Raleigh's ministry reminds me that we are not giving money to a voiceless endeavor. We are partnering with Raleigh to lift high the name of Christ and to demand justice for people like Sarah."
Read more Raleigh Sadler blogs.