SPEAK UP: A WEEKEND TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Laura Hann is part of the Ontario Central East Division's Youth Justice League (Canada and Bermuda Territory). She shares what happened during the weekend of prayer, fasting and fight against human trafficking organized by the Justice League:

"The last weekend of February I had the incredible privilege of joining with a passionate group of young people from across the Ontario Central East Division (OCE). Sharing together for a weekend of prayer, fasting and commitment to action to join in the fight against human trafficking.

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Participants of the Justice League event

The OCE Youth Justice League leadership team and supporters had spent months preparing in prayer for the event. When the weekend was finally upon us, the resistance we had been anticipating came in unsuspecting ways. However God is faithful, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) And so neither car trouble (the brakes went on our van on the way out), nor powers (issues with governing authorities), nor sickness (three out of our main speakers/leaders were struggling with colds), nor weather (Friday morning's big news item was a weather warning for a full fledged Canadian storm) could keep us from completing the work God had set before us. (Romans 8:39, revisited).

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 Creating posters in one of the workshops

Through the prayers raised and by God's grace, a car was provided, issues were resolved,sickness was subdued and the promised 15cm storm went somewhere else.

The weekend started off with a powerful personal testimony from a woman named Bridget, a sex trade survivor, whose story had everyone captivated! Setting the tone for the weekend the group worked through the questions of the Whys behind the Whys as to the root causes of human trafficking. Taking time in smaller groups to pray over our findings, we lifted up the victims, the consumers, and the traffickers.

One of the main outcomes of this weekend was to help connect the dots, to find the link between personal passions and talents, to providing tangible ways to get involved both as individuals and in community.

Saturday was filled with a time of practical training for everyone. The morning provided opportunities to explore tangible methods ranging from how to write letters to the government to how to create resistance art. Saturday afternoon was a time of community action where the group joined together and headed into a nearby city to host a peaceful rally to raise awareness on the issue of Human Trafficking - both at home in Canada, and globally. With only a few hic-ups (and despite the Canadian cold) the rally on Main Street went extremely well. There was even a lady and her young son from out of town who had heard about the rally via facebook and came out to join us!

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Silent prayer warriors on the streets

Saturday evening Majors Stan and Aura Burditt shared with us the work they are doing and the opportunities they've had within the Salvation Army in London Ontario to combat the issue. In keeping with an atmosphere of sharing over coffee time conversations, they encouraged us on the importance of building relationships within our own spheres of influence, of meeting the immediate needs of those God brings into our lives, thus enabling the growth of trust in order to reach spiritual needs as well.

The most powerful time for me was the Sunday morning session on "what next?", "where do we go from here?" Lead by Sharon Hann, a co-founding member of the Youth Justice League out of Toronto, this session gave us an opportunity to reflect on all that had been discussed and experienced through the various workshops and practical activities that had been provided. To really think, about what we are passionate about? What do we do well? And how can we connect those dots?

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Posting commitment cards

Throughout the worship time over the weekend a tree had been drawn on the wall, first as a gnarled worn out tree that, by the end of the weekend, turned into a tree full of life. We were given time to pray and also write down what we were going to commit to as a result of Speak Up. We then shared with each other and prayed over our commitments. These commitment cards, ranging from declarations to pray, to educate, to run a Freedom fundraiser, were then posted to the tree, as the fruit that will grow from our time together.

There was an incredible turnout and an amazing presence of the Holy Spirit, I know God is doing an amazing work in these young people and still others that he is raising up! Please remember us in your prayers and the commitments that we made to join in the fight!"


"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute".
(Proverbs 31:8)

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