There is one thing teenage girls do better than anyone else—sleepovers! Little did we know that a ministry could be born out of a simple get together. This night started like any other sleepover, soaking up the last of summer before our first year of high school began. We felt so old and scared. We felt like our lives were moving forward too fast. Deciding to be still for just a moment, we shared the beauty of embracing the now. We promised each other that we would make the next four years count. We did not want to walk across the stage on graduation day and wonder what our high school years could have been, we did not want to be left with any “what-ifs.” Our simple cry was to make God known and to make a difference, no matter how small.
The topic of sex slavery from the prior Independence Sunday quickly made its way into our conversation. The struggle between empathy and compassion ached in our hearts. Should we try to do something? What could we do? There was a certain anticipation that fell on us, our minds racing and hearts heavy with a burden for the lost and hurting. We wanted to do more than feel bad for those girls in bondage. We wanted to do something.
Our conversation quickly turned to action. We sat on the bedroom floor stunned at the rapid turn of events. We began throwing out all kinds of crazy ideas, undying hopes and limitless dreams. When we stopped for a second to catch our breath and calm down, we realized that these ideas could actually occur! We landed on the idea of having a cookout and involving our youth group.
Within minutes we began spitting out names too alliterative and cheesy to satisfy, but there was just one that would not escape our minds, SOS: Save Our Sisters.
Immediately Isaiah 61 came to mind and we quickly grabbed a Bible to confirm our mission.
“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” Isaiah 61:1,3
With this scripture, God reassured us we were exactly where He wanted us to be, fulfilling the work he had prepared for us in Christ Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit in an 8th grader’s bedroom on that one last summer night was undeniable.
The Big Event
Before we knew it, we had a couple meetings lined up with leaders in our church, and we were eager to testify to all the ways in which God was revealing Himself. They supported us with lots of wisdom and insight, steering our untamed passion to a focused effort. Research and statistics soon began filling our days. We realized we knew nothing about the issue, and to our surprise, neither did the adults around us. We were thirsty for stories, knowledge, and understanding of this social injustice. We found a few trusted ministries to send the funds we hoped to raise. Resulting from the flurry of brainstorm ideas at the sleepover, a student-wide cook out on the soccer field at our church was soon in the works.
We promoted our event on local radio stations, posted flyers all over town, and spread the word to anyone who would share in our excitement. Local stores and bakeries donated food, cakes, gift certificates and supplies. We were amazed by the support we received. It felt like a true community effort. It was definitely a learning process—we had never before processed the concept of needing not only the food, but the table for the food, the tablecloth for the table, a grill master for the burger, and silverware to dish out the baked beans. We pulled together over 30 committed volunteers, food for 500 people and a soccer field full of fun.
After much planning, many meetings and detailed preparation, mid-September had arrived and it was the night of our cook out! The night was brimming with a live band, tables lined with information and brochures, custom T-shirts, prayer stations with statistics from countries all over the world, and stories of broken lives torn apart by trafficking. We tried our hardest not to hold any expectations for the night because quite honestly, we had no idea what to even expect! To our astonishment well over 500 guests joined us that evening—friends and family, people from adult Bible Fellowship classes and youth groups from across our city came to learn and act as abolitionists.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
This isn’t about us. It never has been. Our dream dawned late summer of 2010, and we never imagined the journey Christ was preparing for us. If someone would have told us where we would be four years later, we would have never believed them. We are simply another example of Christ-followers who take His Great Commission seriously, to take the gospel to the nations. We want to take the gospel to the broken. We long to see these girls rescued from slavery and for them to hear the gospel of Jesus who can set them free for all eternity.
Our leadership group has grown and shrunk back again fluctuating through times of refinement. We have learned a lot about working with close friends and people you love. It is not always easy. God has knit together a group of six best friends, despite our differences. Five home-schoolers and one public-schooler, all with different families and different stories, but we all have one common goal, the glory of Christ.