By: Abby Shaffer

 

IMG_0107For some reason the holidays always seem to catch me by surprise. This year is no different. It is possible the later than usual warm weather overshadowed the constant “I wants” by my kids. I find it hard not to look forward to the holidays when I see it through my kids’ eyes. The extra family time when everyone is off work and school. Seeing extended family we haven’t seen in awhile. The sweet treats that only come out once a year. And of course the presents.

As I came to grips that indeed the holidays are upon us, I couldn’t help but think of the kids. But not my kids, rather the kids that will not be able to celebrate the holidays as they are meant to be celebrated: the hundreds of thousands of kids estimated to be trafficked every day nationwide and here in Indiana. And I think about the young girls that Ascent 121 has served over the last year – did you know there were more than a hundred girls in Ascent 121 programs this year?

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It breaks my heart to think the love that encompasses the holiday season will not be felt or properly received by trafficked kids. These kids are held in bondage – sometimes physical, sometimes emotional – while my kids and I will be surrounded by the warmth and glow of the season. There most likely is no light of awe and wonder in trafficked kids’ eyes anymore.

After volunteering for just short of a year with Ascent 121, my perspective has changed on much…much I have taken for granted. I am thankful my kids are able to hug family members and friends without fear. They are able to freely give and receive love. My kids are having a childhood that no one has tried to take away.

Ascent 121 has been trying to repair the lives of trafficked teen girls since 2013. I would ask as you all gather around your tables this holiday season you say a prayer for Ascent 121, the girls they are currently helping, and if you can please donate to continue the important work they are doing. They are being Jesus’ hands and feet for these young ladies and spreading awareness in hopes to end trafficking.


 

Abby Shaffer is a volunteer with Ascent 121.  She is a stay-at-home mom with a background in public relations and broadcast news.  Her hope is to help Ascent 121 educate and make people aware of sex trafficking in order to combat the crime.

One thought on “From A Mother’s Heart

  • December 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm
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    This touched my heart, not because it’s a sad story – tough it is – and certainly not because it’s something I’m not familiar with – after 40 years as an uncover freedom fighter, I’m far to familiar with the problem we face – but, because, we’re still not exposing the problem to the masses….though it’s much better than a few years ago…thanks to organizations like yours, and a few filmmakers who are attempting to battle the issue.

    I’m a Christian with my own story, but also a writer, author, a filmmaker, and marketing professional….not to mention a single dad of three daughters, beautiful enough to have been stacked more than once…we put a stop to that. I now have four granddaughters I keep within tabs on.

    During my college days in the mid 70’s, at I.U. Bloomington, Forensics and Psychology, I operated youth programs as a street worker, undercover agent (At 22 I was already a military intelligence combat veteran ) with trained counseling skills, working with kids from project areas, mostly females 13 -16, while there I also started an alternative to jail and rescue programs.

    During my work as an agent , I stumbled upon a HT ring from South America, and though they were reported, nothing was followed up on – of course not – my undercover work (duel lifestyle as a student) also revealed corruption within the judicial system itself…so, I was eventually set up (on a drug deal) and taken out of commission…and forced to leave Bloomington and college just 17 credit hours short of graduation…thank God He used the experience to help me find Him ad His Grace….Unfortunately, before I left the Bloomington area (and school), we ended up losing one of our 14 year old girls, Isabella Santiago, and I’m fairly certain she was taken….I filed reports, but later learned that no records of Isabella, or of her drug ridden mother, could be located – vanished just like she did – so the years past, I became a husband (of a victim of CSA) dad, and ESPN writer/producer, yet I was always doing freedom fighting as a coach, single dad, street ministry.

    About five years ago, I wrote my autobiography – or part – yet was cautious as to what was published – so, after a few years of writing and producing faith-based films, I’ve recently wrote “College Bound: Window of Hope” – and my main character is Isabella Santiago. It’s a modern day look at HT and the lives that are affected when a 17 year old “College Bound” girl (Isabella – Izzy) is ‘Taken” while on a mission trip….it sheds light on the fact that HT happens everywhere, and that it’s a color within is woven in our America culture – we’re nowhere close to exposing the problems, or those most deeply involved with malice, greed, and social disgrace.

    College Bound is a film that reveals God’s true gift of faith and forgiveness and how change and recovery can be obtained and during our darkest hours.

    I’m looking for partners and cross-promotional opportunities.
    https://www.facebook.com/collegebound4/

    Michael
    M.T. Arnold

    Reply

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