Hi there, I'm Dr. John White, WebMD's Chief Medical Officer and host of the Spotlight On series from our Health Discovered podcast.
In this special episode brought to you by UCB, you'll hear why the color of your skin might impact how you're diagnosed and treated for psoriasis. That letter wasn't about killing myself, but more so like a spiritual death, like killing the different parts of me that would not allow myself to truly live an authentic life because of psoriasis. And so it was so many people touched by the blog that they had sent it to the National Psoriasis Foundation. So a couple of the employees there at the time had messaged me and they were like, oh my gosh, we love your letter. We want you to come to a volunteer conference. And so that very next year, I was at my first National Psoriasis Foundation conference.
Listen to Health Discovered on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Previously on Lantern Rescue. I remember a woman who came in to our facility repeatedly and she was definitely a victim trafficking. She would come in beaten up. Every time she came in, she had a new sexually transmitted infection. I remember one time she came in with her trafficker. And so I said something to my boss at the time. And I said, my gosh, he's here. Don't we need to call the police or something? I mean, we cannot send her back out to him. And my boss said, oh, you know what? She's a big girl.
If she wanted to leave, she would. Welcome to Lantern Rescue, a ministry program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.
William Wilberforce once said, let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. Wow, we got another special show for you today.
It was kind of live from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville. So we get a chance to meet some of the outstanding partners. It's just unbelievable to me, Mark, how God creates these contacts for you guys. And so we got a real opportunity today in one of those contacts. And so I'll let you, Mark, introduce him. Yeah.
I mean, this is way beyond a contact. Matt Murphy here is the founder of Operation Light Shine and really a coalition that he's put together that we're honored to be part of in partnership with him and some other incredible people in the human trafficking fight. And particularly, he's the founder also of the Intercept Task Force. He's a former Green Beret and a lot of other accolades after that, that he never wants to talk about himself. He's a really humble dude, but at the highest level of operation. This guy's done incredible things for our government and for the principles of American freedom. And he has now turned his heart and passion to fight human trafficking. And he is assembling this coalition and this effort in a way that I'm telling you, Robbie has never been done before. It's absolutely incredible. And we probably need to do 10 shows with Matt.
I was going to say, we probably need to do a bunch. But today's show, he has a personal testimony about why he's here. So I'm going to turn it over to you guys, Robbie.
I know it all. I've heard it, but I want you guys to interact. Before we go there, I got to tell the listeners, man, when he puts on the headphones for the interview that he says, this reminds me of being at the gun range. I'm like, Oh, the thing at Christian talk, anybody else ever said in the history Christian talk radio. So pretty cool. But actually, Matt, I understand that, you know, it's been a tough way to get into this, but, you know, it really is your own stories involved, right?
Oh, definitely. My sister was, for lack of a better word, kidnapped, just disappeared on November 5th, 2019 by a guy who had roughed her up and done some bad things for her before. He had an alibi and the investigation just hit a dead end in a few days. And then Christmas Eve, 2019, her body was found in a river in Mississippi.
So that's where this journey started. And you were overseas at the time, from what I understand, when she was originally abducted. I was overseas working in Germany.
I was a special forces liaison officer for the Polish command, which was practicing the rehearsal for literally what's happening right now, you know, in Ukraine with Russia attacking. So I was over there and then with us, my sister ended up missing. At first, we weren't too alarmed. She'd been living a pretty bad life. She'd got bad on drugs, heroin, fentanyl, you know. She was making a lot of mistakes in life.
I didn't know how bad it was because my parents hid a lot of that stuff from me. But, you know, then after a few days, they start to wonder and question. And then you go a week, two weeks, three weeks without hearing from her and nothing. And then you're like, okay, you know, this isn't right. And so as you started in on that investigation, apparently God laid out a plan like that you could see where there were a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
Definitely. One of the most frustrating things, I think, is when you're in the family, in a situation where someone is missing because it seems like no one's ever doing enough, you know. And you feel like they just don't care or, you know, they're not investigating hard enough or they miss something or they miss a clue, you know.
It's an emotional rollercoaster to be a part of for the family, especially when it's somebody that you love, you know, that's in that situation. But it turns out when we got to the point a year later, look back, the only thing that was in her folder for the Memphis Police Department was the missing person's flyer. They didn't even investigate it.
Oh, man, brother. They didn't even investigate it. And the reason why was because she was taken in the county but reported in the city and then her body was found in Mississippi.
So you have multiple different jurisdictions, police departments and sheriff agencies involved. They didn't communicate. They didn't, you know, share information.
And because of that, you know, evidence gets lost, things kind of disappear. And that was a big driving force for why I'm here and what we're doing with Operation Light Shine Intercept. Right.
So from what I understand, Intercept came first? No. So I decided to start Operation Light Shine, to be 100 percent honest with you, that was a dark time in my life. You know, I had turned away from God for a while, you know, and a lot of the things I had to do in my career were pretty evil. When you think about how you how you operate in the world with, you know, especially in the intelligence world, especially in special operations, you get sent places to do things, you know, that are not always, in my opinion, morally just. And a lot of the things that you have to become are not not righteous, you know, and it starts to weigh on your heart.
It starts to affect the way that you view the world and the way that you interact with the world. So, you know, I got pretty dark. I was pretty lost. So my sister, when she went missing, Special Forces pulled me back to the States. They made me an instructor. And I was, you know, for lack of a better word, I just don't have a purpose in life anymore.
You know, I'm just doing a dead-end job teaching something I don't really care about. You know, lost everything with, you know, my buddies and teams and the mission. And then COVID hit shortly after that. Just drinking every day, depressed. For the first time in 16 years, I'm processing war, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, loss, death, destruction, the things that I had done, the things I'd seen. It hit me hard. And then on top of that, my sister, you know, everything that my family was still going through. It was rough, man. It was really rough. So I was playing this video game called Call of Duty, all during the COVID lockdowns.
And it's this sheer game, you know. It was the only thing I had to do. There was really nothing else to do.
And I just drank all day long. I was just depressed. Some days I wanted to go find the guys that, you know, hurt my sister. You know, some days I felt helpless. I mean, here I am, a Green Beret, you know, they've done all this stuff and I can't even save my own sister. You know, it's tough. So I'm playing Call of Duty.
And there's this thing in Call of Duty where if you kill enough people on the game, in the video game, it's like a war game, your gun turns gold. So that was my only goal in life. That was the only thing I had to do. Couldn't go anywhere.
Couldn't do anything. Depressed, drinking, playing Call of Duty. So I finally get the gold gun. And the day I get the gold gun was the day that my life changed. Because it went from the highest to the high, like, you know, my Corona COVID lockdown achievement, depressed, drunk on the couch. And then it was the lowest of the lows because I just realized the only thing I had in life was trying to get this, you know, gun that's not even real. If the video game turns off, it's gone.
It's not real. That was a wake up call. So, you know, after a lot of dark places and months of just being depressed and lost, they just kind of just looked at themselves like, what are you doing?
And what are you doing? So I just started Googling human trafficking, because a lot of the rumors around my sister's death involved human trafficking. You know, we still don't know the extent.
We know she was trafficked before she died to help pay for drugs and, you know, support her habit, but we still don't know the circumstances of her death, really. And, you know, but with that, so I was just, I'm Googling human trafficking, and I'm learning about all these organizations that do stuff like, you know, Operation Underground Railroad and some other entities that, you know, combat human trafficking around the world. I hadn't even heard of Lantern yet. And the stories that compelled me, motivated me. So I'm like, you know what? I'm going to start a charity. You know, like, you know, like, so, so I Googled how to start a charity and then I bought a book, How to Start a Charity off Amazon.
And, uh, yeah, that was, that was a pretty crazy experience. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't.
I make every day up as I go. I started looking into, okay, how can I make a difference? Right. Because you can't just start a charity. You have to actually make a difference. So, you know, you have guys that kind of do like vigilante type stuff, you know, like they're like Batman, they go to other countries to rescue people.
You have other charities that take care of victims. You have, you know, all kinds of different entities in this space. But what I realized really quick is I didn't know what I didn't know. You know, I knew I had a certain set of skills and talent and ability and connections and a network, but I know I didn't know what I didn't know. So I went and I just started beating down doors in law enforcement. So I was like, I got to find somebody who can, who can guide me because, you know, I didn't want to make a difference overseas at first. I wanted to make a difference right here in my own backyard where my sister was taken, solve the problems that made her investigation turn into, you know, her body in a river two months later and the police started working together.
So I was like, I'm going to try to do something different. So I beat on doors all over town. And just the grace of God, this is God's hands. This is how I found religion again, this process. This is what brought me back to God. This is what brought God back into my life. And every day is just as much as what we're doing is helping other people. It's helping me.
That's the beautiful part about this. So I'm beating on cops doors, trying to talk to everybody. I finally get to a buddy who's a country singer. Well, he's the nighttime country singer, Homeland Security agent during the day. And he tells me, he tells me about, that's his day job, right? But he tells me about this. They have a child exploitation unit there in Homeland Security in Nashville and they fight the child sexual abuse material and, you know, try to hunt these predators online and rescue the victims that are at the end of these videos and imagery.
So I get to meet with one of the agents and just by grace of God, one of the best guys in the world at fighting child exploitation, works with Interpol, has created a lot of the systems and things we use to save kids. I mean, he doesn't like to say it when I say that he's the best. I say top five now just to appease him, but he is the best. I finally got the opportunity to meet with him after months of trying. He ended up just being stationed in Nashville, Tennessee. He left the national headquarters, came to Nashville, Tennessee, and that was like a swan song.
Last couple of years in Homeland Security, he and his wife are going to retire out in Nashville. So now the best guy in the world's in my backyard. So I met with him. He invited me to a conference room at the Homeland Security office.
There's about, it's full of agents, a couple of FBI people in there. And I go and I sit down and at this time, you know, I had my vigilante ideas still on. You know, we're going to go hunt people online, all this kind of stuff. So... Break them at the knees, drag them out on the streets. Exactly.
We're going to do it live. And I went and I pitched every idea I had to fight human trafficking at this table. And he just tells me, no, that's stupid. Someone already does that. That's a vigilante.
That's illegal. And I'm just sitting there like, well, all right. That didn't work. So I just kind of like, the way he tells the story is I leaned back in my chair and just stared at the ceiling. And what I really did is I leaned back in my chair and I prayed for a second because I was like, I don't know what to do. So I just looked at him and I said, hey, you tell me how I can make a difference.
And the difference was this concept that we built, the intercept taskforce. And this has been the most beautiful journey of my life because while we've created... I hate to stop you right here. Oh yeah, let's go. This is the perfect place. It's the greatest journey of his life. It's amazing to me too. Well, I know our listeners are excited to hear the next part.
So we got to go to a break. When we come back, more with Matt Murphy, Operation Light Sign. You can hear, man, there's all kinds of rescue going on before we even get to the rescue. Lantern Rescue is a USA-based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former US special operation law enforcement and intelligence personnel to partner with host nations and assist them in creating specialized units to combat ongoing security problems, such as genocide, terrorism, and human trafficking.
As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated $150 billion in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery, and facilitates holistic aftercare services. They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to lanternrescue.org to see how you can support them financially.
The following program contains sensitive content, listening to discretion is advised. Welcome back to Lantern Rescue. And oh my goodness, what a story of rescue. Just as I hear Matt Murphy's story, that you can kind of see that God's got to rescue us before we can go rescue anybody, I guess, to some extent.
And we can kind of hear that in your story, Matt. But as this gentleman met with you to start this, so what's the next step? What happened then?
Well, so the next step was all a God thing. I still didn't have any clue what I was doing with the charity. I had built organizations and done things overseas with the charity, and all the laws and rules and stuff stateside. But every single day, the right person came into my life.
The right people from board members, friends, relationships, my network, offered to do a free website or offering legal help or advice and counsel. And it was just magical how quick this happened. So we've got the 501c3 application in. That got approved less than a year ago. This month, I don't remember the exact date.
My memory has been blown up too many times. So we got the charity piece done, and then it's time to build the task force, the concept. The concept behind this is that you can basically take a charity and support the police in ways that the government doesn't, with private funding. And what we can do as a charity, we can go out, we can get a building in town and house everyone that fights human trafficking and child exploitation from federal, state, and local entities together in this one building. And by doing that, you've pretty much solved every single problem in the investigation process, because now you have federal jurisdiction, state jurisdiction, and then the county and the city jurisdiction within a task force, centralized task force. The next thing that you do, and this is one of the most beautiful things, is you bring the top level of federal agents who have all the training, the schools, everything else, and you're integrating them with guys from counties and cities who probably haven't had access to the type of training, the resources, the funding, and all that kind of stuff the federal guys have. You're bringing everybody up to a higher level, higher playing field, and you're creating an environment where they feel energized about it.
And I cannot tell you how many men and women from federal, state, and local entities have come up to me crying and hugged me and said, thank you. You know, from my standpoint, Mark, when I hear this, I'm like, what? Because this started with COVID, right? When I was listening to his story, he was playing because of COVID, right? This is not long ago, but in your introduction, to the point, he's not only happened this quick, but completely effective because you've been telling me all about it. Yeah, it's incredible what God has done with Matt.
There was not a racetrack that went around, there was just been a home stretch. And he's just like, in one year, done what essentially should take somebody five years at least, if it's even possible, you know? And so, yeah, it's definitely a God thing.
And so, Landon got involved, obviously. Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah, it was probably a year ago, you know, we chatted and had a mutual buddy and close friend. And he won't say his name, particularly because this was the first guy in the States that was like, effectively doing something and he was talking about a task force.
We have such a similar model. The one of the top five, the guy is that guy? Yeah, him.
No, him. Oh, with that guy. Oh, you know, but his vision, Matt's vision of how it should be a task force and what he was just describing, you know, that's the similar model we try to build overseas. And so, we're unique in that way. It's a natural fit. It is.
It's a very natural fit. Everything from the name Operation Light Shine and Lantern, you know? Seems to be light involved. Yeah, that's right. And both of those things. So, as you started to see this come together, you're talking about these people are coming up and hugging, you know, all this. But obviously, you're seeing fruit, like people are getting rescued?
Yeah. So, right now, the first task force is established in Nashville, Tennessee. Right now, we have multiple different agencies operating in that task force, digital forensics, you know, going on. We have a federal prosecutor that's moved in.
It's a one-stop shop to get to the offenders, rescue the victims, and issue warrants from within the building. And, you know, we're building out how we're going to partner into aftercare for the victims right now as well. We've been very fortunate to create another partnership that's going to be going out soon with a pretty popular Christian football player and one of the worst tight ends to ever play the game.
No. I can't wait for them to hear that. You know, the beauty of it is, you know, we have—it has just brought everyone that's in this fight together, that's doing it for the right reasons, that's doing it the right way. It's—this has brought all of us together, because this isn't just me and what I started Light Shine, what he's done with Lantern or the other partnerships that we're going into. This is God bringing everybody that has a heart to save kids together. And these aren't just people that have good intentions. These are people that are the best in the world at what they do.
And the coalition that we're building under the umbrella right now is just some of the most talented, capable people in the world. I got—I sent in a meeting a couple weeks ago, and we get a text from a friend, foundation that we work with, and it's a missing girl flyer. This girl had been missing for five days in Dallas.
Nobody could find her. We get it, I send it to our team that we're about to fully fund of just the most exceptional people in the world. 22 minutes later, we had a geotagged pin on our location.
It was beautiful. 22 minutes later, from the time I sent the text. And she was rescued? Yes. Safe?
Safe. Oh my gosh. Yeah.
And that's the thing. And this is not a knock on the police officers that are—they do their job the best they can. They work with the resources they got. So many departments and things around this country, they're underfunded, they're underappreciated, they're under-resourced, they're understaffed. You know, they are not only are they trying to fight the criminals, they're trying to fight the system to be able to fight the criminals, the red tape, the politics, the nonsense around this world. God bless the men and women in this country and law enforcement that are stepping up trying to fight and save our kids. But what we're trying to do is give them everything that they need to be successful.
The training, the technology, the resources, the talent. Yeah. Can you even imagine, Mark, this policeman gets this text, this girl is at this location, the elation he had to actually go make that arrest? And the information able to do that, then the family that was on the other end of that. And oh my goodness, you can see— The capacity of what Matt has put together is incredible. And they're on a mission.
They're duplicating that in multiple places. And it's a game changer. It really, really is. So I know every listener, because we're Christian networks, got the same thing I've got on my heart. It's like, how do you feel like God's come after your heart through the last couple of years from a standpoint of, are you making progress towards— Yeah. Every day I get better.
And it's not an overnight process. You know, when you do what I did for so long and a lot of people have done and, you know, it puts a dark cloud over you. And at first, when I first started, I was praying, but I didn't feel like anybody was listening.
I didn't deserve that. And it's just been every day getting a little bit better. Sometimes you take a couple steps back, but then you jump forward. So my relationship with God has changed a lot. I don't necessarily go to church. I watch it on TV and I do my own Bible study. I have the Bible app on my phone.
So I just like, read that. I get notifications. A little Bible study, you know, and I try to spend at least 15 minutes a day just after, you know, the Bible app notification. I have it set up to where it just tells me, hey, it's time. And I just study whatever it gives me and then pray about it, think about it.
That's just something I built into my life. And I pray now. And I feel like God's listening now. That's the difference. I'm just going to go on record.
I'm sure Mark would agree with me. He listened the whole time. I mean, you know, you can tell the root by the fruit, right? I mean, you know, clearly, you know, I've done this interview and I'm affected. I mean, I saw the look in your eyes, you know, when you're talking about how God came after you.
And I can see that, you know, that it's real and it's a beautiful thing. And so I know the listeners are with me and that we need to be praying for Matt and for this coalition, you know, from Mark for Land and Rescue Operation Light Shine. And then what's the name of the coalition again, Mark? It's Operation Light Shine. Just Operation Light Shine.
Operation Light Shine is the charity. Our product is called Intercept. That's the Intercept task force. And that's what we're trying to expand across the country. We've got 22 governors that want to talk right now about bringing Intercept to their states. We're actively in conversation right now down in Florida to expand, hopefully be making some pretty quick progress on that.
Really, just as fast as the, you know, the contributions and donations come in is as fast as we can move. And so it's amazing to me, Mark, it is. We talked about connection, but in a way it's just, however you want to say it, you know, God's bringing people like the football player you described and different people through the National Heritage Broadcasters Convention.
Here it is. I mean, I'm blessed out of my socks. I get to meet you and see, you know, what God's doing through you. And again, you know, we've all got stuff and none of us deserve, not any of us deserve what God's done for us. And so, you know, I'm with you. I'm with you. I appreciate that. Well, that's one thing I've learned, you know, and this is just my interpretation of my study. Like when you look at the New Testament, it's nothing but Jesus going to dinner with sinners.
That's it. That's who he loved. You know, and, you know, I know I'm not perfect. I still make mistakes. I try to do good, try to be just. I try my best to make a difference and change other people's lives. Like I said, it's been changing my life. But, you know, I think that's the biggest thing that kept me away from Christianity for so long is everybody lives like God on the throne and not Jesus as he lived.
And it wasn't until I started to be able to like make a difference and actually get to see the change in me and the change that that has in others and knowing that I'm not perfect and not holding myself to a standard that's not attainable and just living my truth and doing what God tells me to do and taking advantage of all the opportunities and people that God's put in front of me. And that's been life-changing. Wow.
Yeah, life-changing. Wow. Thanks, Mark.
That's just unbelievable. Thanks, Matt. Thank you, listeners, for continuing to pray for us and these wonderful organizations, what God's doing out there. Because, you know, anytime I hear this, I can't help but think of that girl that we interviewed.
I don't know. And now she was screaming, right? Does anybody care?
Does anybody hear this? Right? Just like you were on the couch or like, you know, and God clearly does, and he's clearly doing something. And so, man, we need to keep screaming. Amen. Amen. This is the Truth Network.
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