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*this article was originally submitted to the GPS, a digital resource from Women’s Ministries. Click here to read full issues of GPS.
It was a Sunday in October of 2010 that I first met Charles Powell of “Mercy Movement.” Little did I know as we sat and shared over a meal at a local restaurant how my life was about to change. Charles shared passionately with me about the current state of trafficking that we were facing right here in our own communities. Not some remote country far from the western Pennsylvania community I call home, but right here in our hometown. That’s right…modern day slavery, also known as human trafficking taking place in major cities, as well as, rural communities here in the land of the free. Human trafficking deviates from our historic view of slavery, making it hard to conceptualize. But ultimately, slavery today and 200 years ago share the same notion; it’s the notion that a person’s life, liberty, and fortune can be under the absolutely control of another, and be sold, bought, or used at the will of the owner.
Statistics estimate that there are between 10 million and 27 million slaves in the world today. It is also estimated that human trafficking generates profits of 32-33 billion dollars annually. The victims most vulnerable are women and children. Children in particular are sold, bonded, trafficked, subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, recruited into armed conflicts, and forced to work as domestic workers. Many are being forced into sex trafficking at the early age of 12-14 years.
As I sat and listened to Charles share I knew that the church had to join in the fight against trafficking, but the question that filled my mind that night was…how? How could a small church in western Pennsylvania make a difference in such a huge, overwhelming world-wide problem? The answer was not as difficult as one might think…do something. So I simply said to Charles, what can we do? He replied, “more than anything we need long-term aftercare facilities that will offer healing and recovery to those women who are rescued from the world of trafficking.” The ministry of “Project Restore” was born that night and developed over the next three years with a mission to provide a safe and healthy home environment where Hope and Christ-centered love collide to offer complete healing and restoration spirit, soul, and body. Project Restore serves women ages 18 and older in a long-term, aftercare home called “Lyndsey’s Place.” Lyndsey’s Place is an 8 bedroom home with each individual having her own room and space. Services are comprehensive and meet emotional, spiritual, and physical needs as we are equipped. We are blessed by Joan, who serves as the Director of Housing (house mom), and Savannah, who is the Director of Programming. Both Joan and Savannah live full-time in the home and are supported by the most amazing and caring volunteer team one could hope for.
Project Restore and Lyndsey’s Place are outreach ministries of both Bethel Life Worship Center and River of Life Ministries Conference. Should you wish to have more information about the ministry you may visit our website at www.projectrestore.org and follow us on Facebook. If you would like to know how you may support financially or connect with Project Restore and Lyndsey’s Place please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Kent has served as the Lead-pastor of an IPHC church in Western Pennsylvania for the past 11 years. With a vision to share the love of Christ with a lost and hurting world He casts vision to bring light to the darkness of the victims of human trafficking. Through Project Restore and Lyndsey’s Place, lives are changed by bringing hope, healing, and restoration.