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South America

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2023 12:00 pm

South America

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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October 7, 2023 12:00 pm

Whitney and Tim recently back from South America. 

A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

Join us as a Liberator at https://lanternrescue.org/liberator/ 

If you or someone you know has experienced exploitation call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888-373-7888.

 

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The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. This is Lantern Rescue. Lantern Rescue as we have a whole team of folks that are just back from South America. And Whitney, can you kind of lead us into what happened and why you went down there? Sure. Well, I am going to let Tim take charge in that part of the conversation. But I will say, Robby, all right, we did just get back from South America. We had an awesome opportunity there just to experience what it looks like to partner really in-depth with a country and build out kind of what the aftercare for our survivors looks like.

So I am going to let Tim speak a little bit to it because he is the head of that region and knows it best. But I am excited to just chat with how God moved in that time we were there. Hey, Robby. Yeah, we just got back. It was an awesome trip. We actually went down to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Minister of Interior for a country down there to help bring more training to the police, more resources in the fight against human trafficking and crimes against children, as well as assisting in aftercare with some new partners that we hope to make official here soon. And I was able to drag Whitney and Jamie down with me.

Yeah, I saw some pictures from down there. It looked like you were eating some interesting food. And so, you know, Jamie, what kind of experience was that for you?

Yeah, it was incredible for me. So it was my first time being able to go to one of our international locations and really just meet people on the ground and see in person the way we work. And especially being able to be a part of the ceremony for the signing of the MOU, it's just so important because in a country that we're working with, this really just solidifies our partnership and our ability to really get into that country and support and fill gaps the way that is needed for government and law enforcement. So it was a real honor to be there, for sure. So Tim, can you kind of take us into what that agreement looks like, you know, the partnership, and what Lantern is hoping that the partnership kind of will become as a result?

Sure. A lot of it will be to provide training, specifically to the police unit that fights against human trafficking and smuggling. So a lot of it will mostly just be training, not only for them, but as well for the prosecutors in that country. And also to just work side by side with them to help on the ground with investigations and operations, rescues, and make sure that each survivor gets to the best-fitted Africa facility to meet their needs.

So it's a lot rolled up into one agreement. So we have a lot to fulfill, but we have some good partners down there, so we're all very excited about moving forward. Robby, I think oftentimes our audience maybe doesn't recognize just how in-depth Lantern becomes with these countries.

You know, we made it a priority to not just go in and, you know, perform a rescue and then leave, necessarily, right? We want to build relationships and sustainability within these countries. So that sustainability piece is where these contracts begin to work out.

And a lot of it is coming alongside of them and helping fill in those gaps that obviously, you know, they are unable to obtain, whether it be because of funding, because of resources. We get to come into that mix, and looking at it from the Christian perspective, it really does become that hands and feet movement of who Lantern is in these countries. You know, we want to come alongside. We don't want to take control.

We don't want to run. We want to come alongside of these individuals so that we can truly link fields and be that, you know, force that comes in to rescue these individuals. But it does take time, and we know how important it is to really just get in there from the bottom up and really kind of build out those relationships and facilitate the needs that they have. And that's what we got to experience in this, was that opportunity to sit down with individuals across the table from us that are in the police force and saying, hey, these are those gaps that we have. These are difficult places, you know, and they were encouraged to know that someone from another place in the world is coming to stand beside them and help with those things and to see the encouragement on their faces and the hearts they have, you know. I think a lot of times, you know, in discussion with people, they ask about, you know, working with different governments, and obviously they're concerned about corruption and all that, and I constantly am reminding people, there are still good people, right? It may take a little longer to get to them, but there are good people desiring good things. Not everything is corrupt, you know, and we got to experience that at that table. We got to experience those people that have a heart that truly desires change within their country.

And, I mean, it was moving emotionally to sit there and know that you were in the presence of people that want to see change and want to save lives. Right, because, you know, like you talked about in the sustainability, right, if we don't put the perpetrators behind bars and if they live in those other countries, obviously if you got prosecutors and law enforcement that are, you know, making the arrests and then prosecuting and obviously then sentencing and all those things, then obviously you can make a long-term impact. But if the idea is you're just constantly rescuing and you're never putting anybody behind bars, how many more victims will there always be?

Right. And that's the good thing about this country. It's not just about, you know, locking people up and putting them in jail. It's a collective impact for a united front for not only just justice but compassion for the survivor and, you know, getting them, getting their innocence and their life back on track. That's what's so great about this country is they're committed to that as well.

Right. Yeah, and I'm sure that as, you know, the criminals or whatever you want to call the perpetrators see that, you know, this isn't easy money anymore. You know, they have, you know, people coming against it. It, you know, can get a lot of folks hopefully never to get involved in it to begin with, right? That's the hope, right? That discouraging factor when they realize, hey, there are people here that are not, they're not here to play games. They're not threatened by what you're doing. Like, we are here for those individuals that are truly in the darkest places of their lives and we're coming.

You know, you do hope it deters them and then it makes an impact that is forever. Yeah. And so Jamie, you know, we've done podcasts and some may know this, Jamie is Mark's wife. And so, you know, you hear these stories all the time, but how cool is it that you actually got to sit at the table this time and kind of see what all that looks like? Well, I'm a different Jamie. Oh.

Yeah, not Mark's wife, but we do share the same name. I work in the office supporting with contracts and HR and all that good stuff. But yeah, my first time being on the ground, it was just incredible. It's like, it's really looking at the heart of what we do, you know, like to sit there and hear the experiences of stories of our team members and our partners and understanding like why they're there. It's like, it's that unifying factor of being in this fight together and knowing that where wherever we are in the world, whoever you're listening, if you're working with lantern volunteering, if you're in country, there's a heart, you know, that really longs and desires to rescue and to support, you know, our law enforcement and fill those gaps and ensure that people are arrested and put in prison as well.

So it was impactful for me, definitely. Yeah, because, you know, it's one thing to be in the office, but it's another thing actually to be there and see what's going on. But, you know, I got to tell you, since we're talking about spouses, you know, I was at church with Whitney's husband when he saw this picture of you guys eating some really delectable looking food. You don't want to know, Robbie, what that is. And so it looked like that was a challenge, like you hadn't eaten that kind of thing before, had you, Whitney?

Oh, no, no, no. If this tells you anything, most people have that particular item as a pet in their home. Leave it up to the imagination.

No, it was quite interesting. And, you know, honestly, part of that, everybody sitting at the table, we were fortunate to be able to have that meal and enjoy that meal in the presence of people that are like minded and like parted. One of our aftercare partner in that particular country and then the head of the unit that we're working with. And so we all got to enjoy this meal and they start giggling and laughing and we're like, what are they laughing about? And they're looking at the menu.

Well, they know that we don't know what that particular item is. And so it was, you know, ordered to the table and I might have pushed a little bit that we all try it, you know, I was a little worried, but if I was going down, so was everybody else. But we did end up tasting that particular item. And I can't say it would be something I would reorder, but it definitely made for an experience. And I think it also showed the people that we were with, like, you know, we are embracing the differences in culture. We are embracing those little common differences because we do we enjoy the fellowship with them, you know, and and we enjoyed that that meal together and we laughed together.

And those are the parts that are meaningful and we're in the center. Lantern Rescue is a USA based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former U.S. 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 dollars 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 start giggling and laughing and they're like, what are they laughing about? And they're looking at the menu.

Well, they know that we don't know what that particular. And so it was, you know, ordered to the table. And I might have pushed a little bit that we all try it. You know, I was a little worried, but if I was going down, so was everybody else.

But we did end up tasting that particular item, and I can't say it would be something I would reorder, but it definitely made for an experience. And I think it also showed the people that we were with, like, you know, we are embracing the differences in culture. We are embracing just those little common differences because we do we enjoy the fellowship with them, you know, and and we enjoyed that that meal together and we laughed together. And those are the parts that are meaningful and we're in these other is to be able to share in the laughs and the rejoicing and the, you know, the story. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Right.

And so to have this moment to hold on to, I think, are incredibly important for us and for them. And, you know, that was one of those moments where we will all laugh at the idea of eating a guinea pig. Yeah, because people are probably thinking dog, cat. No, no, no, no. Yeah. And then the interesting thing about it, you know, so you could get the whole visual is apparently they leave the head on, you know, so that you can kind of see what your old friend looked like prior to the little fluffy. Yeah.

So it didn't taste like chicken. I take it. Oh, no.

Oh, it didn't. OK, well, but tell us about the aftercare connection. I'm really interested about that. Kim, I'll let you step in on that one, because I you know, that's a connection that you've built out and learned.

Yeah. So that was one of the reasons I wanted Whitney and Jamie to come down on this past trip was to meet some of the people that we are currently partnering with and wanting to partner with. You know, it's amazing to go into the into these aftercare facilities and, you know, we got to sit down with a bunch of young girls and, you know, just talk to them. And, you know, Jamie and Whitney were phenomenal. They were there as instruments of God's love. I mean, it was just amazing to see them work with these women and these young girls. But I'll let them talk about that experience.

That was their first time meeting some of these girls and the women. And not only the survivors in both of these aftercare facilities, but the the workers that work there are just just amazing to just committed. You know, you hear Mark talk about people having a servant's heart all the time on the program.

And that's what these people have a servant's heart for sure. Wow. So, Jamie, is it possible for you to take us into one of those stories? I obviously, you know, not the actual name or or kind of, you know, who you might have met or a little bit of how they got there.

Yeah. Well, I'd like to share a little more about how it was that day when we visited. So the girls wanted to share. So we're talking, you know, 14 to 17 years old in this aftercare facility and they they knew we were coming and they wanted to share a choreographed dance with us. And that was so funny because Whitney and I were also kind of praying through and thinking through what we could do, you know, to kind of break the ice, introduce ourselves and we thought of doing a line dance and teaching them a line dance.

So we wanted to bring a little bit of America, you know, into the mix. And it was just a really fun opportunity to, you know, build that connection, build that trust. It's like we're strangers. We're coming in. They've never met us before.

And we want to create that comfortability. So it's like a line dance feels like a little trivial, but it was really beautiful in the moment to be able to spend that time with them and get to know them a little bit like that and just have fun together. Well, I know inquiring minds all want to know what was the line dance? Oh, it was the boot scooting boogie, Robbie.

We did it. Yeah. That's just great. It's a whole different visual.

I really like that, though. You know, I did that at my daughter's wedding not long ago. So very fun. There we go. And maybe you want to talk a little bit more about what that led into with our devotion.

Yes. And Jamie said it perfectly. We really wanted to come in as vulnerable as we knew they probably felt having us there. And so our dancing skills were our vulnerability.

But they embraced it and we embraced them. I'll tell you, Robbie, that was probably the most impactful moment for us in the trip because we were sitting side by side with these girls that have been through unimaginable circumstances in their life. And 14 to 17, you can imagine, these are just young and beautiful girls where we sat down and the Lord, I found that we were going two days before we got there and purchased some Spanish devotionals online and brought them along. It was very much like a Jesus calling right where it's day by day devotion. And the Lord knew exactly what these girls would need to hear that day.

We weren't sure we were going to be able to make this particular survivor house. And in that devotion, it really just exposed to being in the desert and wondering, you know, where is God? And God found them in that place at that time with all of us sitting in that room, you know, and was able to speak to their hearts in unimaginable ways and unto our hearts. You know, three of the girls that were sitting there knew Bible verses probably better than Abby Robbie. In the time, the short time they've been in that safe house, they were able to just share how God has moved their life.

And so that moved all of us to tears. You know, I don't think, I think when we left that place, as much as we hope to have blessed them, they blessed us, you know. And so those are the partners we're working with, people that are just loving on these girls and encouraging them. And there were so many stories in there, I know we don't have the time to tell them, but those girls have really just been through a lot and to see them seek the Lord despite what they have been through, I think put all of us in a place of realizing just how incredible God is.

Wow. And so you're afraid to share your faith or that's part of what that Recovery Center is about, is people's faith? So here's the neat piece, is that particular one is very well structured. It is not faith-based, but that being said, a couple of months back, Tim and another one of our team members were able to go and share, take some Bibles to this particular place, Survivor Home, and those Bibles, I believe, are still there. And these girls have had the ability and access to reading them and learning about the Lord. So that little piece that was left there in that place by two of our guides that went down has actually created a desire to know the Lord and seek the Lord even further. And it's cultivated in that place. The people that take care of these girls, their hearts are incredible.

And so, you know, the love of Christ is cultivated in those places. That's so wonderful. We're so grateful for the update, guys. Thank you, Jamie. Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Whitney. Yes, God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 14:32:26 / 2023-10-07 14:40:32 / 8

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