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The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. Previously on Lantern Rescue. And I said, I guess we'll just continue our efforts abroad for now. And so then COVID hit and I remember Mark and I having a conversation like, man, maybe now's the time.
So I went back to the sheriff and I said, well, you know, exactly what does this look like? Cause I, I couldn't travel and, and all of that. And everything was pretty much shut down on my end.
And so the only thing that was open at our college was the law enforcement academy. 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. Oh, welcome to Lantern Rescue today. How exciting. We're back in the Lantern Rescue studio and, you know, last week or last episode, you got a chance to hear Ray's story leading up to how he ended up getting deputized and how God had just slowly trained him as a warrior in the word.
I'm just beautiful stories. So you want to be sure and go back and listen to that episode to get to speed, but to pick up Ray's story, COVID hit and now you had this opportunity since obviously nobody's traveling around or whatever to go to law enforcement school there at the college. Courses were open, off you went. Yeah, so I figured, you know, I'm 53 years old, got plenty of bumps and scrapes along the way. I'm not what I used to be, but I said, well, maybe I'm as good once as I ever was.
That turned out to not be true. So we just kind of made a deal, me and the Sheriff. And he, I don't know what he was thinking, but I think he was as surprised as I was that I made it through there because at that time in my life, I was, you know, like I had kind of alluded to before, I was involved with the military, still working with the military, training with the military and training with Department of Corrections and doing law, you know, firearms training and those kinds of things. And to kind of go all the way backwards was just not something I was interested in. And in full transparency, and all of my military guys out there can understand this, at my age, I wasn't willing to be a private again. And so I, but unfortunately that's what it was going to take.
It seemed like whatever great hill I climbed on the other side, the Lord was humbling me again to go, no, we're going to start here. Because, so that way I wouldn't think more of myself than I should. So I go through the Academy, I graduate the Academy. We had a class of, I think, 24 students. And there were two students that were older than my oldest child.
So that's kind of what I was up against. You were, did they call you dad when you came in? I'm not going to say on the radio some of the things they called me.
But I remember checking in with you. You were sore. You were like, man, this would have been so easy 30 years ago, but this is rough right now. It was rough.
You were getting really overwhelmed at some points, right? Sure. I mean, sure.
I mean, you said pray. Oh yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah.
Because I was going to get this one shot at it. Right. There wasn't going to be a do-over later. There wasn't going to be, and when we start the SCAT, the Subject Control Arrest Techniques, and I'm getting beat up by these young Marines out there. Right.
And well, not completely beat up by young Marines. Right. Just clear that up. There you go. Okay. And so no matter how young they were, I could still handle them. But it was a lot of fun too. Sure.
And so we get through that. And the intent was I would go to the Sheriff's Office, be sworn by the Sheriff's Office, and then I would help aid and assist them at no charge to the county. So I wasn't taking a slot. I was still functioning in the capacity of a nonprofit as far as funding-wise, but on the legal side of it, I was being deputized and being utilized by the Sheriff's Office as an active reservist.
Specific to human trafficking or child exploitation cases. That was the intent. Exactly. And I think, so we have to stop. There's so many spiritual lessons of what you've been sharing, but in the practical sense too, what people need to know, this is a pilot program. This is unheard of. I mean, you're breaking ground in a new way to say, let's fight this. I want to help fight this.
Because there's going to be a lot of people who hear this, right, who are former law enforcement military and their minds are now turning. They're like, well, maybe I can do that. Right.
And so for those that are thinking that way right now, hearing this show, what would you say to them? It might be best they contact you, right? And we can give some of that contact information in the end, but some people are thinking this way, I'm sure. Yeah. So the concept of the program, and like you said, it was just, it was brand new. It's a pilot program. Right.
Not aware of anybody that was doing it before. And what the intent was is to be able to come alongside smaller agencies that are overtasked, overworked, and where a case of sexual abuse where children are involved, especially any child cases, they just become another case that this already overworked detective is working on. And so for me, what my intent was to be able to come alongside them and offer support directly for crimes against children. And when we formed our nonprofit to do this work specifically, one of the first things we did was we established MOUs with our DSS and CPS office.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. MOUs with our DSS. I'm thinking...
Okay, Sean. M-I-C-E-T-O. MOU? Yeah. Memorandum of Understanding. Okay.
So we had an agreement. DSS? Department of Social Services. Okay.
Child Protective Services. There you go. So what... Yeah, thank you for that. I apologize because acronyms definitely don't mean the same thing across the board.
I've learned that too. The intent was to be able to forge a relationship with our Child Protective Services to be a resource and asset for them as well that they could utilize. And then also to help aid and assist our local law enforcement with just an extra set of hands to be able to work specifically as it pertained to children. So as we started this journey, we realized for all of our law enforcement guys out there, make no mistake, I don't want to make this sound easy.
The way that this was done was only God could have done this. I would say moving forward, that target person is someone that has extensive experience in law enforcement. In my particular situation, I was just surrounded by a group of guys that were in law enforcement actively in our area that I had a personal relationships with, and they were as motivated to see this successful as I was. And so, yeah, I literally have spent 15, 16 months in a field training perspective learning, but learning in the field, learning on the job. Because my intent was to be able to aid and assist CPS, the Child Protective Services, being able to have eyes to see, having a little bit of life experience and a different view of things, but also from a heart of ministry.
That was the biggest thing. One of the biggest things that I joke with the guys in our CID, so to kind of tell that story a little bit, is that the sheriff, once they swore me, he assigned me to criminal investigations as an active reservist. So Criminal Investigations Division? Yes, department. Oh, department. And so with our Criminal Investigations Department, which CID, that allowed me access to the cases.
And so what I was learning was the investigative process, how to preserve the integrity, the prosecutable integrity of a case, how to conduct an investigation, how to document that investigation, which was very important to what we were trying to do. Obviously, because I was an active reservist and I was an unpaid resource and was willing to work 50 hours a week, which I have for the last 15 months, the sheriff was very motivated to say, okay, yeah, this is a resource that we'll utilize. And our criminal investigations, our detectives were more than willing to work me like a rented mule. There's no doubt about that.
Because I did kind of skip to the head of the line as far as... Yeah, and it can't be skipped. I think for those who are considering this or thinking through this, there's a great deal of relationship building you have done over the years. There's so much trust involved for a sheriff to allow you to do this and to interact and allow this program to be under his watch. That department has a lot of trust in you at every level. And that's why it works.
It's so similar to overseas. Why do we operate the way we operate in? And it's not just our capacity and our capability.
It's that government official we are signing MOU with or we're working with, the IGP, the Ministry of Defense, they trust us. They know our hearts. And a lot of that is where you were just headed is because we're also ministry people. They see we're there.
We've left our children, left our wives, left our families to come here for weeks on end because we care about the kids and the future of their children. You cannot blow past those two things. Well, I would agree. And I think that the relationship establishes the rapport that establishes the trust.
And we have a perfect model of that. Jesus with his disciples, that's exactly what he did. He chewed dirt with them. He broke bread with them. He served them.
He walked alongside them. He developed a relationship with them so that they could trust at some level the sincerity and the words that he said. And that was the same thing with our department. Like you said, is that there was, and in our community, this wasn't something I just showed up one day and said, hey, I want to do. I've been serving our community at the local level with children in ministry for the past 12 years up to this point.
I did a lot of programs with communities and schools and our local high schools and college programs doing camp ministry stuff at no charge or little charge at all to help and aid and assist our community in ministry. And so, yes, that's a good point. I'm glad you brought that up because there was a lot of work was done long before this was ever brought before them. And they knew what I was doing as far as our work with sex trafficking, child exploitation internationally. And they knew where my heart was. They were already aware of it because I have been serving them for the past 12 years. And so making this transition, our agency was like, okay, well, we trust you, but trust, but verify, right? You know, so they trusted me enough to know that I was sincere about what I was doing. This was a calling, not a job, very different.
When you have a calling on your life, the clock doesn't matter. So, you know, how cool is it, Mark, as we got to go to another break, but as I'm sitting here thinking that, wow, God, had you connected to this situation, like from day one, and you had a chance to see all that, you know, that they were teaching and, and as well as understanding the law enforcement techniques that he's learning, but you got the connection to him to share the stuff that you're learning overseas. And he's got the stuff to share with you.
We collaborate back and forth and it's all in processes and all kinds of things. And I just think of the, you know, the connection that God has made and so spectacular. So we have got to go to a break. When we come back, we've got more of how God is using Ray Lantern Rescue. And this is locally, I mean, like right here in the USA.
So we'll be right back. A lot more Lantern 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, listener discretion is advised. And welcome back to Lantern Rescue. And this is another special episode coming out of the Lantern Rescue studio right here in the Lantern Rescue office. And we're so blessed to have with us both Mark and Ray. And this is the second episode with Ray.
If you want to follow up with him, go back and listen to the first one. So Ray, God obviously has orchestrated a whole lot of stuff for you. But now you got a chance. You've been deputized, you've been to grammar school, all sorts of different ways. And now he's actually put you on the streets and you got a chance to use this stuff.
Can you take us there? Yeah, so basically, I got sworn in, I was handed a badge, and I was turned over to CID. And a good friend of mine is a field training officer for the sheriff's office and also an investigator. So right out of the gate, he's putting me in the thick of things just so I can get exposure. And guys, I cannot begin to illustrate how difficult this job is. You know, you go to the academy and all you know is just a little bit more than what you knew before. But the work does not even begin until you get out on the street. And I remember one of our instructors said when we got ready to graduate from the academy, he said, you really still don't know much. And it'll take you about two to three years before you finally start realizing just a little bit of what's going on. And I can speak to that because we're out in the field.
This is our first week. And lo and behold, a call comes out. And at that time, we decided to respond to it. We're criminal investigations, not necessarily always responding to calls. However, because all of this was new to me, my detective partner was like, hey, let's go to this because there was children involved.
He said, man, this is right up your alley. So, we go to this neighborhood and there was a kid that was assaulted by a parent and he was in the hospital. And so, all these detectives and law enforcement are there trying to sort this out. And so, I had literally, I was just mouth breathing. I had zero idea what was going on.
No idea. And I was all excited, got a badge, got a gun, and just basically told, sit in the truck. And so, as we get there, you know, the detectives were doing their work. They're talking to the witnesses and doing the good work of the investigation. And all of these kids started coming around the detectives and kind of interrupting what they were doing.
They were small from ages three to 13, 14-year-olds, most of them on bicycles. And so, I took that opportunity. I'm like, well, I know I can help here. So, I was basically started getting the attention of the kids and was bringing all the kids around me so that they weren't distracting the detectives as they were interviewing witnesses. And so, it turned into a really great moment because ultimately, as I started kind of playing with these kids and picking on these kids and having organized bike races and all this stuff to keep these kids occupied, from that, I developed a very quick relationship with these kids where they wanted to tell me what had happened, what they saw. And so, I mean, that's a very lengthy story in and of itself. But through the course of that, I was able to gain information that assisted them.
Because the one thing about all the kids told a different story, but they had the same thread went through every one of their stories, that that woman hit that kid with that log. And so, it was a pretty neat experience. But I spent an hour and a half out there holding a little camp. And I remember the captain, the captain come up to me and he goes, what are you doing? And because I had these kids lined up doing a bike race. And I said, well, I'm just basically just spent the last eight months in the academy to do what I was doing for the last 16 years before I ever came here playing with kids.
Right. But it was a great opportunity. And right then, I knew that God had placed me in this situation. But not only that, it's those moments when you can look back and see how you were prepared all along for this. Because a lot of times, our law enforcement partners, they're there and they've got a specific job to do.
And sometimes just being an extra set of hands to help draw attention away from, you know, like the kids, for example. And just to kind of lead where that story, you know, that was the very first week. And a couple of days later after that, we got a call to another issue with some kids that were being abused and with a sex offender involved. And so I go out there, same situation. I'm just mouth breathing, not really understanding what in the world is going on.
But there's two young boys in there. And I was able to go in and speak to them and talk to them and comfort them in a playful way. And really, I started to realize this is something that I think I'm going to be able to utilize as it pertains to how God has equipped me to be able to connect with young people, connect with children, connect, develop trust with them very quickly. Because I'm not the big mean cop. I kind of humble myself to their level to serve them. And I believe that that, I truly believe that especially kids and kids in crisis can see the Spirit of the Lord, whether in you, whether they realize that's what it is or not. When it's not me that's doing this, it's him through me, right?
Because that's where that strength and that ability comes from. And so fast forward eight months later, we're back out in that same neighborhood that I was doing the kids on the bike races. I guess a little side story, one of the things that I made it a point to do was all of the kids that I had made contact with, and there was a lot of them over the last, at this point, it was about seven months into this, it's Christmas time. And I made it a point to go back and connect with every kid that I had any contact with in the capacity of law enforcement. And took them, just little Christmas gifts and candy, just made them know that they mattered to me. And I was able to locate all of them, but two, I guess they moved out of the area.
I don't even know what happened to them. And so that was a very powerful opportunity because these kids are local. And I see them in different places and they know me when they see me and they'll seek me out to speak to me.
I'll see them in grocery stores. And that's all part of that connection that I'm wanting to make. It's not just about getting bad guys.
It's really about being able to make an impact in the lives of people that the opportunity to present the gospel to them in some capacity is available. Because I truly believe that no matter how valiant our efforts are to save people in crisis, to stand in the gap for victims, to liberate the oppressed, if we do not have the opportunity to articulate the gospel to them and introduce them to the only one that can truly heal them and can deliver them, then we're offering nothing but temporal reprieve from suffering. And I believe that with every fiber in me. We can see that.
But take us back to seven months later. You got a lot. Yeah, I'm sorry. I got lost in the sauce because I love the sauce. So don't get me wrong. Okay.
So, you know, you can't help but, you know, when you feel an opportunity to preach the gospel, you just got to drop it in there. Right. I agree. Any rate, so seven months later, we're back into the same neighborhood looking for a guy that had assaulted a child sexually. He's a ghost.
Family's not cooperating. There's a huge language barrier. One of the guys that I went to the academy with is also sworn in our department as well as a road deputy.
And he's fluent in Spanish. And so I call him and he comes out there and he's trying to help us. And we're trying to get some information on where this guy is. And so we're getting nowhere. He's like, they're not going to talk to us. I think the guy's been here recently, but they're saying he's not. He moved away.
He left the country. So I was like, okay. And as he continued to talk to our witnesses there, I looked over across this little driveway and there was about five or six of those kids were lined up against a trailer looking back at me.
Those same kids that I did the bike race with. And one of the little girls, she raised her hand up. To you?
To me. She raised her hand up. And when I saw her, I called her by her name.
And I had no idea the impact that had on that child. And all of a sudden here, they all come running over there. Oh, you remember my name? You remember my name? And I remembered all of their names. And so that connection that was made right there in that moment, I'm like, man, this is what it's about because they sought me out then. But where it turned into an investigative tool was when my partner come over, he's like, we're not going to get any information. We can't, we don't know where this guy is. I said, I bet you, I can find out for you.
I bet somebody can tell you right here. Exactly. And so I asked them, they're like, oh, that guy? Yeah, he was just here before you guys left. I'm like, really?
Are you sure? Yeah, yeah, he drives that white truck. And we're like, yeah, that's his truck. And I said, well, if his truck's here, why isn't he here? He's like, oh man, that ain't the car. That's not the truck he drives most of the time.
He's got this car and he described this car to a T. Right. That we didn't even know he had and then told us where he worked and all of this. So this information that we were gaining from these children was very instrumental into us locating this guy.
And so, you know, I can't, there's so many details, obviously, I can't get out about the case. But as I've started this journey and really forced these relationships and have found the value with working with our local agencies, especially with the child protective services, not just law enforcement, but being able to be a resource. So when kids are involved, now I have road deputies that are calling me.
I have social workers that are calling me. Hey, we're in this situation. Can you come out here and talk?
Talk to these people, talk to these children. And so from my end, it's growing way quicker than I had ever anticipated. But it took 16 years to get it off the ground. Right.
Yes, it really did. So I hate to, oh, well, I hate to jump in again, but I know all of you listening have enjoyed this journey with me as we've listened to Ray's story. And you can see, you know, the heart of the Lord's bodyguard, right?
I mean, these valiant warriors out there, men's men, I mean, with serious amounts of military training and all sorts of stuff, yet you can hear the heart that's so clearly for the little children. And I hope, Ray, as we leave our listeners, how would you ask them to pray for your ministry right now? I would say the number one prayer request that I would have is that we that we continue to humble ourselves before the Lord as agents of what we're doing, because it is it's a fight worth fighting. And sometimes you have to resist the urge to fight it at a secular level, at a carnal level, and just pray that we'll always be mindful that though we walk in this flesh, we do not war after it. And to remind ourselves that this is a spiritual battle we're in. That's the reality of it. It's a spiritual battle. It manifests itself in the physical. But if we can stay mindful of that and true to our cause, that's where our success is going to come from.
Thank you. Well, we'll be praying. And also, you know, if you're listening, you might be having the same thing run through your mind that's running through your mind, like, wait a minute, he does 50 hours a week and how's he getting paid exactly? You know, where's this money coming from?
You know, because obviously the county is not paying and whatever. And so, you know, ministries like Land and Rescue and those kinds of things that you give to and, you know, seek it out, find out how you can help keep these boots on the ground that definitely need to be for these young people in counties across this country and actually across the world. So we thank you so much for listening, for hearing the heart of these warriors is absolutely just something I'll never forget. And thank you, Ray. Thank you, Mark. This is the Truth Network.
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