By Rachel Raines
Apprehensive. Disgusted. Uncomfortable. Encouraged. It’s this set of words precisely that describes how I felt during my Ascent 121 Prayer Journey. I’d been dwelling for some time on Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did for me.” How could I serve the Lord by serving others? Having stumbled across Ascent 121 online, I decided to, as a dear friend puts it, go on a mission trip in my own back yard seeking answers.
Apprehensive. Admittedly, wrongly, I was anxious about leaving my safe, comfortable suburb to drive into the heart of the East Side of Indianapolis for the trip. I’d heard about this area on the news – frequently. But the Great Commission isn’t ‘go…but only if the destination is middle- to upper-class’, so I went. I was nervous, too, about what I’d see. I had a basic understanding of Ascent 121’s mission, but couldn’t quite believe that human trafficking happens in sleepy “Nap-town” Indianapolis.
Disgusted. As I learned more about trafficking and of how victims are lured in, I was shocked by what one human will force another to do. I saw how the victims had previously defined love and how true love, both from the world and from the Savior, had been completely missing in their lives. I wanted to weep for the victims – for the circumstances that led them to their current reality and for their forever-changed lives.
Uncomfortable. As my friend and I drove to each location, I processed and prayed over places that were unfamiliar to my eyes. Department of Child Services, Juvenile Detention Center, Lutherwood, and others. I was uncomfortable at my own life’s comfort and didn’t want to accept that a child’s life might take the path documented in the journey guide.
Encouraged. Travelling to and praying over each site reminded me of a simple truth: our God
intervenes. He uses organizations like Ascent 121 to offer hope to victims of unspeakable crimes. But, it takes a village, in this case, to rescue a child. Go. See with your own eyes. Get involved in this great mission! Be a presenter or write letters of encouragement. Give financially. Most critically, pray and speak. Pray for Ascent 121 – for the victims and for the counselors working tirelessly to help angry, hurting children who might not even understand they need help. Speak about your encounter.
Since that day, as I’ve shared my experience, I’ve found two responses: disbelief with a cry for justice or embarrassment and the desire to change the conversation. Friends, we can’t change this conversation. Human trafficking is happening. In our city. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus for these victims. You’re not sure where to start? How about by embarking on a journey – the Prayer Journey with Ascent 121. When the Lord asks “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” our response can only be “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6)
Rachel Raines is Jesus-follower, wife to Garrett, member of College Park Church, and will forever be a small-town Hoosier at heart. She’s spent her career in Corporate Finance in multiple industries and is a lover of all things pertaining to Mexican cuisine, books, crafts, and fitness.