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New Year Special

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

New Year Special

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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January 7, 2023 12:00 pm

Today's episode features Lantern Rescue founders Mark and Ren. Listen as they share a new and exciting message for the upcoming year.

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

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888-373-7888.

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This is Stu Epperson from the Truth Talk Podcast, connecting current events, pop culture, and theology, and we're so grateful for you that you've chosen the Truth Podcast Network. It's about to start in just a few seconds.

Enjoy it, and please share it around with all your friends. Thanks for listening, and thanks for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. 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. Well, welcome to a very special episode, a 2023 episode of Lantern Rescue, and to kick off this year, you know, we got quite a message for them, right, Mark? Hey, we do, Robbie, and I'm excited that the first podcast of the year is actually myself and Wren. Wren, you want to say hello? We're in different locations, but she can say hello as well, because we're the founders of Lantern. Hey, guys. You know, Wren, if you would, just take a second, because if you don't mind telling people what you do and a little bit about yourself, because I think starting the new year, people who are just listening in to us should know a little bit about Lantern and who we are and how we got started.

Yeah, that's a great idea. So, I'm Wren. I'm one of the founders. Me and Mark founded this years ago now, and we've been working together since the beginning, so I do a lot of training with the teams, and I go on raids and go into other countries and do all that with the team, but also while I'm stateside, I do a lot of legal work with victims here and cases here involving trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and adults. So, I kind of have a couple of things, but I'm really amazed by this organization, how much it's grown, and I'm just so proud of everything that it's been able to accomplish.

She's too modest, Robbie, because she won't say she's a former Marine, signal intelligence, and a fluent Russian speaker, but she's always too modest. We have incredible people in our organization, starting from Wren all the way throughout, all of our operators and stuff, and we're so blessed, and for those people who are just coming to us, I invite you to learn about who we are, and then for those faithful people who I meet who say, yeah, I've binge-listened to all of your podcasts, and I'm always amazed by that, because we all can barely probably listen to ourselves one time, but people who listen always do. God bless you folks, and they know all about us. They've met our families and our children and our wives and our spouses and the husbands, everything. They've met everybody. This show has really been a family show, and that's part of who we are as an organization, as well as with Truth Network, having that family atmosphere, where we've just been able to be really transparent through a radio show, and yeah, we change our names and we talk about different locations, but really, as a whole, if you've listened to this, you really get to know Laner. You get to know who we are, and so we're excited that we get to start off 2023 as founders and starting the first show, as well as we're really excited about a message that we want to share that you, as a listener and as part of our family, you'll hear throughout the year, and we're going to kind of lead up to that message. Well, before, Mark, I was going to interrupt you. I'm sure that now that they heard a little bit about Wren, I imagine there's a lot of folks who would like to hear about you.

I agree. I do wear a lot of hats in life, and I would just say I'm first and foremost so blessed to be the father of five beautiful girls and a wonderful wife, and so I spend a lot of my days problem solving for six females when I'm in the States, which is a blessing. And I also speak at a lot of churches, and I have a home church that I am an intricate part of in helping and leading, and so that's a tremendous blessing, because that's a family to my family when I'm gone so much. They love my children and support them when we're off in dangerous places, literally. But extensive background, working overseas, and glad that God has given me the opportunity to take on the fight that Lantern's taking on, and that is to—and really, that just leads into this—there are a lot of injustices in this generation right now. And for us as individuals, we have this calling—everybody at Lantern has this calling that the greatest injustice is the exploitation, persecution, and displacement of children around the world. And so that's why at Lantern we say we unite with nations to rescue exploited, persecuted, and displaced people, and the vast majority of that are children around the world.

And exploited means cute and trapped—I mean, they're trapped in every form, every fashion. And you see that even in who we are as individuals, not just overseas. People sometimes say, well, what about in America?

Well, you just heard from one of our founders that she is the leading legal effort against CSAM, and she can say a lot more than she said, honestly. But she's working to put people in prison here in the States. You know, the persecuted people—that's not something we've talked about much prior to this show, a couple of shows, but Lantern focuses a lot on helping people, primarily people of faith, primarily Christians, who are isolated, who are suffering under the hands of persecution, and how can we support them, move them if necessary, provide them the resources they need to be effective. And then the displaced people of the world. If you've heard any of the shows about Ukraine, you know that on a daily basis, we've been taking care of 500, 600 people a day in Ukraine since the invasion of Russia began. And so we're very focused on those groups.

We're very focused on the exploited, the persecuted, and the displaced. And really, all of us have a background in history and life experiences, unfortunately, about children who are suffering in the hands of those who dehumanize and abuse them. And they live in a world—those kids, when you see that, once you experience that, Robbie, once you see their eyes especially, they live in a world that is hopeless. And to them, there is no justice.

It's completely void of justice, and they don't even have a purpose for life. And, you know, my days and my nights are consumed with the thousands of faces that I've seen around the world who live in that state. And the problem really is that a lot of people don't even know where to start or how to fix that, right? So we say it on a show like this, and there are people who hear it, and maybe they feel powerless, or they feel like, if they're being honest, eventually what happens is they disengage. I mean, we see that in every aspect in the world today. There's people now who are like, oh, man, you know, America, should I even vote? And so they just disengage.

Does it even matter anymore? And so they disengage. And that is a wrong response, for sure.

And that is not who Lantern is. That's not who our people are. We are fighting for the one.

We will all die fighting. We're not going to give up. And the partners and family members that we have in our organization now, they have that same drive, and they have that same mission. So we don't want anybody who engages with us to ever feel powerless and then disengage because we feel like we're a solution to that. And I know there are a ton of organizations out there to choose from, and it can be difficult, you know, to tell who is actually doing the work to make a difference. I mean, we often encounter other organizations, or they get referred to us, and honestly, we hate to admit it, we're in the same place that our supporters are. But we have to stop and evaluate and go, is this an organization or is this somebody who we can partner with that's actually making a difference versus those who are just creating more gaps in the cycle? Just having, you know, just creating more problems, or they're consuming funds that honestly ought to go to organizations who, like us, really need them because we're a tip of the spear, we're doing the things we say we do.

So at Lantern, we really believe, we truly believe that the knowledge of these injustices, they prompt a desire for us to be engaged in the activities we're in. And that starts everywhere from advocacy to the actual tactical rescue, and that's rewriting the way the story ends for children who are stuck in these unfortunate circumstances, right? And so we get to rewrite the stories, the lives of so many children all the way down to, you know, we've rescued children as young as a few months old, right? I mean, I think our youngest is how old, Rand? What's the youngest? The youngest who was involved in sex trafficking was 18 months old.

Now, if you consider all of our displaced refugees in other countries, that's going to have, you know, we've got brand newborn babies, but it's been sexually abused at 18 months old. That's right. Good point.

That's right. So, I mean, we get to rewrite their stories. I mean, and we get to be there right there at those moments. Our employees, our staff, our people, our volunteers, all of us, we're at that moment of rescue, and we get to see a life rewritten how it would have went had we not been there. And so in order to bring East Child Justice, though, in order for us to be there, in order for us to do that, we have got to have partners that fight for the exploited, fight for the persecuted, and fight for the displaced.

And that's really where all of us collectively come in, because Lanter has done something that is so unique. And I would pit it up against any activity of any NGO in this field, in this area, and we're not saying it arrogantly. It is just God's favor on what we do and how we do it. And listen, I mean, there's no playbook. I look at my own company all the time, and we look at, you know, Ren and I look at everybody, and we say, look, there's not a book. We're not opening a manual at our desk that says, here's how you counter trafficking, here's how you rescue the persecuted, here's how you help the displaced.

It's like there's not a manual somewhere. You know, unfortunately, we have to stumble through a lot of things, but my goodness, God has been good to us to lead us to the right places, right people, and the right activities. And so, but this is where we have created something that is a sustainable model that works to bring long-term freedom, hope, and justice to all of these groups, okay? And that's what it's about. We have often said so many times, it is not about the American hero complex. It is not about us thinking we're going to ride in on white stallions in a country, do something, and rescue somebody, and then leave, and then go get the pats on the back. That is not who we are in this organization. Any organization who gives off that vibe, run the other direction, okay?

Run away from them. And, hey, I know we've got incredible heroes, but there are so many heroes that will never get the radio time that they deserve, including the children that are rescued. It's me and all of our organization, if we could just shut up and give this radio time to all the children that we've rescued, we absolutely would do it, you know, because they are the ultimate heroes at the end of the day.

But that sustainable model is working, and it's working well. And so when we have this radio show, and everything from our social media radio show to anything that we put out, it's really an effort to invite people to be part of protecting those innocent lives. It's not us saying, oh, look at us, or look at what we did.

It is about trying to bring people into the family and say, look, please be part of this with us. Please, we need help. We are in a war, and we don't have the funding of a government. We don't have the funding of even other organizations, but we are in a war, and we are trying to do all we can, and so please come in and help us protect these innocent lives. And so we want everybody to stand with us, to help in the really vast growth of injustice that is happening in the world right now, and the exploitation of children around the world is happening at such an alarming rate. We need people to help and join in with us and partner with us. And so when you hear us, you shouldn't feel powerless. You shouldn't get off this show and go, well, I don't know what to do, and you shouldn't disengage and say, well, man, it's such a big problem. I'll just not worry about it and hope it works out. No, we need you to be part of protecting these innocent lives. I hate to jump in right there, but I will. We've got to go to a break, but yeah, it's actually just a wonderful opportunity for us to take part both in prayer and financial support of Land and Rescue.

I mean, how fun is that, that we can see God doing amazing things, and we get to partner in like they always say, see what God's doing and get in on it? This is our opportunity. So we're going to be right back with a whole lot more on Land and Rescue 2023. Land and Rescue is a USA-based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Land and Rescue 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 in annual activity. Land and Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Land and Rescue 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 landandrescue.org to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back to, wow, this unbelievable episode, 2023, Land and Rescue, trying to share the vision with you all, an opportunity for all to join part in what God's doing with Land and Rescue. And so, Mark, where do we go from here? You know, we're building up to share a message that we're excited to share, and we're talking about partnering with Land and Rescue.

And I guess I need to say it this way. So partnering with Land and Rescue means that these children will begin to experience and understand their true value and worth, okay? And they'll have an opportunity to experience physical, emotional, spiritual freedom all to the fullest. And that is what we want them to have in the rescue process. But what the question everybody has to ask themselves and what we know the answer to, and we just want other people to know the answer is, what happens if you don't step in and help us? What happens if somebody just turns this off, this show off, and doesn't care, or just says I'm too busy?

Or what happens if somebody says, well, you know, I think this isn't a big deal or a big issue. I wish I could download my entire mind and brain and images. I'm sure Rand would say the same and all of our operators say we wish we could download to the whole world the images that we face on a daily basis.

And those are images that are from our past experiences of work and life, and those are daily images from our field teams and our time in the field and our places that we're all going all the time. And what that translates into is a child who doesn't have opportunity to experience physical safety. That little girl has got no emotional safety. She has absolutely no spiritual freedom. Her life is hell on earth.

It's an absolute hell on earth. Somebody said, hey, share a story with me. The problem is when people ask us to do that, they think we have one significant story. We have thousands.

We have thousands, Robbie. It floods through our head, it floods through my mind so fast when somebody thinks I've got just one story to tell them. I've got so many little girl faces and little fingers and little hands and little eyes and ears and precious hair and precious faces of girls who are being raped. Girls who are facing 12, 14 hour work days. Girls who are being sold as a piece of property who do not know any different. They've never been to school. They don't know anything about how life could be or should be for them.

They have no rights. And so they're passed from one bad situation to the next. Yeah, there's the girl who I remember forever who had so many customers waiting on her. Yeah, there's the 13-year-old girl in a country who was so drugged, she's completely out of her mind, passed out on a couch, just being abused by men. Yeah, there's the vacant stairs of girls that when you enter into an area where they're being sold, they're just completely, they look like they're soulless.

They look like they have no soul left in them and they're just teenage girls. And so I can't tell you, I don't want to just go one story because it's not just one story. It's thousands. It's hundreds of thousands. It is millions. Yeah, the stat, 41 million.

It's probably greater than that, okay? It's millions of girls who are suffering, and boys too, who are suffering in the hands of perpetrators. It's millions of people who are being persecuted because simply they believe in Jesus Christ. It's millions of people who had a home. Hey, this morning in Ukraine Odessa got just leveled.

I got texts from people who were living in their homes who are now on the street running towards central Ukraine because their house has been leveled, okay? It's those people who need hope, who need physical safety, emotional strength, and spiritual freedom. And so when you come along and you say, what happens if you don't step in? I can't tell you how many operations we've been in where if we did not have the funding from a partner, we would not be able to act. Funding matters. It's very, very tip of the spear with us because that money goes toward, we're sitting there, we need one more vehicle to put victims in, then I've got to acquire a vehicle and I've got to put gas in it. It is equipping the law enforcement, the agents that we're with to be safe. Like, we can't stick guns in our belts, boys. We've got to have holsters.

Yes, Lander takes care of that if you really need to know. And body armor and things that we have to do to be safe and to operate safe. And all of that happens because somebody stepped in, somebody gave money, somebody put it forward to say, look, here's the money, here's the fund, I believe in what y'all are doing.

Do it, go forward and make most use of it. And we make incredible use of the money. And I feel like this leads up to the message that we want to share with people. And that's this. You have the power to protect a child. Robbie, you have the power to protect a child. Not just Mark, not just Ren, you do. And every single listener who's hearing this today, they have to know whether they're driving to work, whether they're waking up this morning, whatever state they're in and they're hearing it.

You have the power to protect a child. And you do that in partnership with us. And so I'm convinced there are more giving hearts. And I'm convinced that God prepares those people to fight with us because we've got a massive agenda for 2023.

We have a huge number of countries who are requesting us to be in places and to build sustainable programs. And we're not going to stop. I'm not going to stop.

Ren's not going to stop. Our board's not going to stop. Our advisory board's not going to stop. Our operators are not going to stop. Our directors of operations are not going to stop. Our people on the ground are not going to stop.

None of us are going to stop. And we're not going to stop until they are rescued and those who are being exploited, those who are being persecuted and those who are being displaced, that we're going to take control of choosing to end the story they're in and to rewrite a new one. And so to do that, I've got to have people who know they've got the power to protect a child. And so when you partner with us and when you give money, it's not just you're not just giving, you know, 20 bucks to something else that's a good cause. You are choosing to have the power to protect a child in those dollars.

Okay, because that's where those dollars are going. That's what's happening. We are going to protect a child. We are going to do what's right with it. And so I know today shows me kind of I don't even know how much time we've got left, and I know I just went off maybe on a long, you know, moment there. But you caught me at a time where we're passionate about 2023 and this message that we're sharing with people, and I hope it resonates with them.

So, Robbie, I don't know if you've got any questions. That's the heart of playing it right here in the show. This is our heart.

You'd want, you know, that passion. Clearly, if any of us had seen what you've seen, right, you know, you would hope that we would be standing on a corner of someone saying, please help, please help. These people need our help, you know, and so we're grateful that you can share your heart like that.

And, Ren, I'm curious because you're in the same boat only in a different kind of way. Yeah, so something I definitely wanted to say was we talked about how me and Mark are the founders at the beginning of the episode, and we didn't really talk about how we started Lantern. So we really started Lantern basically with our lunch money and no idea what we were going to do. And we just kept pushing, and it happened. And we went from there, from just the two of us and very limited financial means, to today, now in 2023, where Lantern Rescue has rescued over 1,000 victims of human trafficking.

So that's a challenging thing. That's incredible. But the in-between, that in-between from when me and Mark were running around the country sharing a protein bar because that's all we could afford for the whole day, to where we're rescuing over 1,000 victims, that in-between was only made possible by individuals that stepped in and helped out. That was not one giant donor that came in and gave us $50 million.

That didn't happen, unfortunately, if anyone's willing to send us a text. But that happened because individual people stepped in and they shared a post. They donated $20 here and there.

They bought something from the store. They spoke about it, our organization and just human trafficking in general, to other people. And you never know who you're reaching. So even if you don't have the financial means today to send money, share a post, share the podcast, listen to it with your friends, talk about this, you never know who you're reaching. You sharing a post could get it in front of someone that does have the ability to write a check for $100,000 to help out.

So no matter what you can do, even if you feel like it's small, it is a huge help in aggregate to us. And it is such an insurmountable problem, human trafficking, in the world. And prosecution rather. And it's just so – sorry, I work in prosecution, so it's a habit.

Prosecution. It's such a huge problem that it seems overwhelming to the point where you're like, you just want to turn it off and you just can't cope with it because you don't think you can do anything. But you really can. We've done what we've done because individuals have reached out and helped. And I can't even name all the people that have reached out and donated or shared or helped or supported us in one way or another. So don't feel like you can't do anything. If you can financially give, that's incredible, and that goes such a long way.

We put the money to incredibly good use. But if you can't financially give, there's other ways to help. We wouldn't be here today without all those individual helping hands. And the prayers, right? There's no putting the value on the prayers. And I know a lot of our listeners have been part of that team, and those prayers are clearly what lead to the financial resources.

But also the favor in those other countries is we hear time and time and time of these stories that nobody gets the access that you guys get. And that's clearly God that's providing all of that, right? Yeah, we've got a great prayer list. There's an email that goes out with Prayer Quest. If you want to be part of that, just go to our website. You can join those warriors who are embracing that role and praying for us on a daily basis and taking on Prayer Quests.

So yeah, Robbie, you hit the nail on the head for sure. And we meet people all the time who say, oh, Lanter, we pray for you guys. We pray for you every day. And we need it. We're in dangerous situations. The next few months, we're going to be intensely in places, traveling in hard places and difficult places. One exciting thing we're going to be doing is we've got a former victim that we rescued who we just recently helped her acquire a salon.

And that's an incredible step in her life. And we're going to be there for her grand opening in the country that she's in. So we're excited about that as well. So we get the good, happy faces, too. I mean, we've got a lot of hard, sad faces in our lives that pop in our minds. But listen, we also get to see the smiling faces. We see the happy faces, the families reunited with their children. You know, we get all of those, too.

So those are precious things. Yeah, and I hate we're out of time, but I am so grateful for both of you. Obviously, when God called you like Wilbur Wilberforce, that you didn't stand by and do nothing. And so I would pray that all of us, we all have some kind of resource, whether it's financial, whether it's prayers, whether it's social media, wherever it is, to stand in the gap. We're so grateful for how God has called you. He's also calling us.

And so you're listening today means, ah, he's knocking on your heart. And there's our opportunity to answer the call that you guys put so wonderfully. Thank you so much, guys, for today. It means so much. Thanks for having us. Thank you. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 02:04:30 / 2023-01-08 02:15:42 / 11

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