By Carl Stagner
The statistics are disturbing. The stories are gut-wrenching. We must resist the tendency to become numb to the pain around us the longer we deal with a painful subject. But since the Church of God began championing the fight against human trafficking, your investment has brought forth much fruit. Stories of transformation and deliverance have been compiled and continue to be posted to the CHOG TraffickLight website. They remind us why we’re staying in the fight. They propel us onward to Freedom Sunday 2015 with great expectations of what the Holy Spirit will accomplish as we work together. One such story, featuring Bibles and a strip club, centers on the vital ministry of OneHeart Dayton.
Donna Cox of OneHeart Dayton tells the following story of what can happen when Christians aren’t afraid to share life with the poor, the hurting, and the lost. Names have been altered to protect individual identities.
Candy is six feet tall in her bare feet, so she towers over my five-foot frame when she puts on her ten-inch stripper shoes. The strip club dressing room was crowded with entertainers dining on OneHeart Dayton’s homemade fare as she stood up and said, “Miss Donna, you know what we need?!” I pulled up two bar stools and stood on the rungs to be a little closer to get eye contact. “What do we need, Candy?” thinking this should be interesting. She laughed and said, “You are a funny lady! We need a Bible study, Miss Donna!” she proclaimed.
A Bible study in a strip club? Who wouldn’t be caught a little off guard? But sometimes God calls us to do things that don’t always make sense, yet they bring him great glory. Donna Cox continues:
The group agreed. Then a woman from the back said, “So, are we going to be the Christian strip club? Everyone laughed. So I said, “Of course, we can have a Bible study!” Two girls came up to me and shared that they didn’t have Bibles and asked if we could get them a Bible. OneHeart Dayton put the word out that we were in need of Bibles, and we quickly received a donation of New Believer Bibles! It was incredible to watch women be so excited to have their very own Bible to study. Then Cassie asked me if I had ever heard of a Bible highlighter and, if so, could I get her one. I told her that I had, and I would find one for her. The next week before we were leaving on outreach, a gentleman from Salem Church of God came around the corner and said, “I forgot to give you the highlighters that go with those Bibles!” What?!
As long as I live, I don’t think I will ever forget women jumping up and down in ten-inch stripper shoes like little kids just because they received a Bible highlighter. As we were leaving the dressing room that evening, I looked back over my shoulder and here were two young women still sitting, facing each other with their Bibles open, devouring the Word of God. This is not supposed to happen [in a strip club]—but the truth is that God is everywhere, and he orchestrates the open doors and draws all people to himself. So, yes, in the dark recesses of a dressing room, in a strip club, in Dayton, Ohio, God’s light shines.
OneHeart Dayton is one of several CHOG TraffickLight partners. Your investment in CHOG TraffickLight has also helped to support similar ministries across the country and around the world. Donna’s story of the unusual happening is a reminder that these ministries are making a real, observable difference in the lives of real people. Donna adds, “Their stories are often complex and complicated. Only through the healing power of Jesus Christ will they ever find their way. That is the only true way for all of us to find freedom.”
Abby Knowles agrees, and believes we must therefore keep up the fight for freedom. As she continues to coordinate the CHOG TraffickLight efforts, she urges the Church of God to keep praying, promoting, and raising funds for the cause. “One of the things that most surprised me as I began working with TraffickLight was the groundswell of participation on Freedom Sunday,” she reflects. “I hoped that the Church of God would embrace this opportunity to bring awareness, and I had no idea that brothers and sisters well beyond the Church of God would join us and utilize the tools we’re offering. It’s so humbling to see God’s church come together, and we have a chance to lead the way! The need is great and the cause is truly unbelievable. We have to keep hitting the gas pedal on our efforts to bring awareness, implement change in our circles of influence, and raise funds for efforts making a difference on this front. On a weekly basis, we hear about how dollars are already making a difference in lives and communities from the United States all the way over to the streets of Berlin and Cuttack, India.”
Freedom Sunday is February 14, 2016. Sign up for Freedom Sunday at access a wealth of related resources at www.CHOGTraffickLight.org/Freedom-Sunday/.