India, 2014

It’s funny that God only gave me a few hours to decide. It’s as if the opportunity was tailored to me.

I know you like to make decisions quickly, and then stick with them, Gianna. Have a go at this one.

Yes. Yes I’ll go.

And in about six hours, I’d committed half of my October to traveling to India and learning about human trafficking.

It should be quite exciting! Especially considering I’ve never been out of the country. And considering I’ve got a layover in Paris, and one in Amsterdam. Considering that I’ll be able to make necessary contacts in the event that I pursue an internship.

So many “considerings” are bouncing through my mind. There’s a bit of a rush as I fill out my passport application. I get a tingle when Donna tells me that I’ll need shots. Needles. Fabulous. There’s a quiet prayer when I see the schedule and training and travelling and begin to feel the weariness that will touch my bones and pull my eyes. And yet, it sounds amazing. I’m not alone. Everyone I tell grins and exclaims how exciting it will be. Yeah. Except, we must consider why.

Consider that women and girls are promised jobs – and then work long hours without pay, with abuse. Consider that some are lured romantically, and when they enter that most holy matrimony, they discover that they are not loved, but ripped open. Not nourished but drained. Not cherished but used. Used and trapped. Consider that some are desperate enough for food that they will sell their own sister/daughter. Consider that some aren’t desperate for food, and will still sell… Consider that an estimated 27 million of God’s loved ones are enslaved, and perhaps 14 million – FOURTEEN MILLION – are in India.

Considering –

My passion to help end trafficking has a very local focus. It started in my school-room, for one. I honestly 
didn’t know God would every use my dawdling on facebook, but that is where I initially learned about trafficking. Then my community. I and an amazing team hosted a 5k last year and this year to raise funds – funds we could disperse to American justice and anti-trafficking organizations.

I still want to focus on the U.S. with my abolitionist efforts. Why India, then? And yes, I asked this of myself too. There is much less poverty in U.S. Girls involved in human trafficking here are often abused at a young age, or live with someone who set an example of slavery and domination, or overrun, trampled upon prostitution. Many U.S. girls are kidnapped. Some are regularly stalked and lured. In India, selling or false promises of a job are much more likely. Impoverished girls live on the streets and see others making money there nightly, so they follow suit. So the situations vary a bit between the countries.

But a girl’s heart is the same. A rescued child feels the same shame. A woman taken from trafficking has the same lowly, downtrodden spirit. A girl who’s been abused, kidnapped, overworked or stalked still carries the pain and humiliation that should never have been placed on her shoulders.
That is why. Because I know girls that age – girls who would have been at risk in a larger city, or a poorer family, or even at the right place a moment earlier. Thus, anything I can learn about trafficking will only aide me in educating my own community again and again in how to protect and heal our daughters, sisters and friends.

That is why I am going. I want to learn. It will hurt, I know, but I want to learn everything I can about trafficking, the trafficked ones, and what strategies we can use in this combat. I want to teach. The things I learn cannot stop with me. I want to take them to our community, and take them to the 5k, and to the churches, and wherever else I can. People need to know what goes on before they can raise their hands to stop it. I want to pray. The better I understand what happens in the heart and mind of an abused child, the better I am able to agonize over them when I talk with God.

If, after learning what I’ve shared, you want to know what you can do – please pray. Pray for emotional and spiritual strength. We are learning about a very dark, very sinful practice, and it will not be easy. Pray also for physical stamina and health. And thank you, because prayer is the most important support we can receive.

If you would like to give financially, please message me on facebook or text me.

Thank you so much for reading, for caring, and for your prayers. 


Cedars and Fawns

Psalm 29:5
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

Ahh trees. I love trees and thickets and windbreaks and woods and bottle-necks of woods.
Tall glorious growths that breathe our air backwards in benevolence and exhale that we might fill our lungs. Quietly sociable rustling creatures in the breeze, waving creaking monsters during storms, and pleasant, shady statues during the summer days.

Trust in a tree’s strength is true-placed. As a child, I never doubted a tree. Surely the branches that barked my shins and scratched my palms with their rough, delicate skin could withstand the light stand of a girl. Surely limbs that waved themselves only slightly in the wildest of winter winds could bear the weight of a wanderer.

Yet cedars. Cedars have thick boles and branches that shade each other and reach out under each other like people spreading their hands palm-up to reach the sun. The cedars slant and thicken around their middles and squat to stretch further.

I think of the boles of the redwoods, for the branches I scarcely saw. I recall thick trunks with knobby supports that dived underground to become roots. I remember backing up and staring in fascination at the lens of my camera because I could not see the edge of the tree in it. I remember looking up at the smooth, ancient grooves in their reddish bark and watching them stretch like lightning bolts up the sides of the trees to where the lower branches were – high above the rest of the forest. The tops of these trees? I never saw them.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

Cedars – redwoods – indisputable signs of strength, and yet the strength of a shout from heaven snaps them over.

These trees are majestic like natural pillars to the entrance of a king’s remote palace, perhaps the palace of heaven. But when the king cries Welcome! even the supporting pillars wilt.

These trees grow in beauty and glory season by season, and extend themselves in their assigned shapes with graceful stretch and silhouette. Yet when their maker’s beauty beacons from afar, even their full glory is disfigured next to this radiant embodiment of beauty unborn.

Yet some in this torrential rain of glory hear only terror. In pain and anguish they decipher not soft syllables but slavery. The powerful voice is the voice they have come to fear and revile, for the only powerful voice they know is a voice that beats them the while.

And over these, I pray the Psalm 29:9, for The Lord makes the deer give birth.

He is over the long-lived glory of the cedars, and the miraculous coming forth of the fawns. Just as his voice causes cedars to crumble, so his gentleness cradles new life. His glory triumphs over that of the earth, so his tenderness tends the weak.

And so our God is a God of glory and thunder and babies, a God of declaring beauty and a God of delicate birth.

A God of the strength of cedars, and a God of the fragility of fawns.

Freedom Challenge

I know I’ve organized a 5k, but I wonder what else I can do.

These girls need love.

I read an article about a girl named Danielle Douglas who was forced into trafficking in Boston. The article said that trafficked girls – prostitutes – are told that the pimp is the only person who will love them now. It is pounded like a nail into their minds.

Nobody loves you –
Except me.
You are worthless!
The only thing you do for money is this,
and do you think anyone could love you now?
The only love you’ll get is from me.

It’s as if each time they raise their hands to strike their girl, they’re holding a hammer. A hammer pounding lies. But even a crooked nail can get fiercely embedded in wood. And even pulling a nail out leaves a scar.
People need love to live. It’s a life-nectar straight from heaven – flowing thick and syrupy through all of scripture. Love is so prevalent in my life. My dad started my car this morning. My coworker grinned cheerily and exclaimed that she “gets to work with [me] Friday AND Saturday!” Love is why I hug Mom before I leave, and why I give Leah dancy-hugs and why I try to make Christa laugh, and why I pray that all my friends who leave will be abundantly, explosively happy in their far-away places even when I miss them.

And love is what these girls live without.

Even law enforcement – those we hope would protect these girls – doesn’t love them.
In a trafficking situation, there are three participants. A pimp controls the prostitutes, whose services are purchased by Johns. If the police happen upon the situation, the prostitute is arrested. WHY?! WHY would you arrest a helpless girl? Would you pull up a marijuana plant and chop it to pieces, and then apologize kindly to the grower/seller/purchaser?


Ooooh how I ache for this situation. They don’t just need our help: they need our love. I don’t know how this will look yet.

Yes, I’m organizing a 5k Freedom Run this year, and the funds will be used right here in Minnesota to erect a safe-house for girls brought out of trafficking. But how else can we love them?

I honestly don’t know the answer. I know part of it lies in awareness, and I know part of it lies in prayer, and so I have a challenge for you.

How much do you know about trafficking? I challenge you to find out more. Research trafficking in your state. Research the different kinds of trafficking. Research WHO is trafficked (be surprised and broken.) I challenge each reader to find out 5 facts about trafficking that you did not previously know.

I also challenge you to prayer. Take one new fact, or all of the facts you learned. Take a friend, or a group of friends. I want us to pray for 27 days, starting February 1st, that God will use us to bring justice to our world, country and state. And city.

Finally, if you have an idea of how we can greater love God’s children trapped in slavery, please share it with me here on my blog, or my Facebook inbox.

Here’s a few resources to get you started:
Slavery stats:

Where part of our donations are going this year:

Article about Danielle Douglas, and Superbowl trafficking article.

To find our 5K on Facebook, search "5K Freedom Run: Fighting darkness One Step at a Time.

The Snow Fort: An epic of three warriors

Perhaps school is turning my brain to mush, but I wrote an epic out of a snow fort fight...


I know.

However! I cling to the idea that creativity is proof of some remaining brains. Besides, it was fun to write something in the style of the old, unrhymed-iambic-pentameter epics I'm studying in school.

The day dawned dark; the sky was lade with snow.
Sun showed just the gray bald back of his head

Left flurried, self-secure littles preparing
For white, stormy arms. Gray atmosphere seeped

Into the hearts of all. But yet remained
Three warriors. The one, a youth, declared

To two his purpose. His design meant ill
Towards all who loved him, raised him, did him good.

Some land of theirs he stole in secrecy
And sought snow castles thereupon to build

His purpose scofflaw fugitives to hold
In “freedom” but still bent to do his will.

By such he thought to earn a treas’ry vast.
By hard work first, he’d live a slothful life

And toil by breaking backs of other men
Thereby to win himself a vast estate.

To such end joined one of the twain fighters.
Together labored they to build their hall.

Betwixt they swore the fortune they would share
But to his heart, each swore to keep the whole.

That last wise warrior knew a better scheme
Which would reward the good and right a wrong.

He let them build the castle to their will,
Then he would seek to turn the profit good

To such an end he let them labor on
Thinking to make them slaves to their own work

And on their finish, conquering would serve
To punish them, and give their fruit to those

Who lovingly did raise them their whole lives
And gave own labor to raise these two traitors.

By such a scheme he waited through the seconds
And seconds turned to minutes, minutes hours.

Then was time ripe to satisfy their greed
And they began to seek out those in need

Of escape from a dire, and criminal life
By giving righteous “well paid” work of light.

Then did the third, our hero, gladly rise.
And went him forth among them as a spy.

He sought by hard work, constant, to earn trust.
And surely it did work. For such a man

Of character is surely never found,
But is compared to him, who lives in legend.

Thus was it that he came inside their lodge
And knew the secrets, strong and weak thereof.

Beyond this, knew him patience, for i’ faith
He waited hours more for them to part

And leave him master, caretaker and heir
Should aught befall them ‘fore they made return.

So sure their downfall, eminently near
The third of that bold party made his call.

He stood upon the parapet and declared
“I claim this fortress and this castle mine

For use as should be for our benefactors
That they which gave us home and health should be

Returnéd that same gift by warriors three.
If thou standest by me, come and welcome.

Our names be renowned for hospitality.
But if thou durst oppose, gird up thyself.

I will attack thee forthwith as you stand.”
With such, he waited their reply with calm.

But they knew not aught of humility
And threw themselves against the walls to fight.

The warrior threw them back and then rained down
A shower of stones and snow and ice unceased.

The two were so beset, one ran away
Deserting what he had not first begun.

The other stood and used with his strength
A shovel – left from work – became his shield.

Howe’er he stood, he could not win the wall
But stood away from reach of raining stone.

Until by chance he spied him such a tool
As might befit the conquering of a wall.

There lay a pickax where his warrior friend
Had thrown it down as he fled far away.

This he took up and quickly advanced close
And when he reached near enough for his arm

He raised, and threw the pickax on the wall.
It struck its target, and tumbled down inside

Lay the last warrior, slain for his good heart.
So thought the wicked one in triumph glad.

But lo! There stirs our hero living still.
He creeps, bleeding, weak, up to the gate.

There he grasps the handle of that ax
And pulls it from his body carefully.

He staggers, wounded, out, and finds his prey.
The warrior gaggles, frightened, runs away.

He thought him conqueror, and his opponent dead
But the man was living and pursuing.

Then came the wounded man so close in fight
He grasped the wayward warrior by his helm

And thrust him forth into a cloud of white,
He cried “Die now, thou villain! Be dispatched

Into this wild, white, devo’ring abyss.
I end thy black days here, in death of white.”


Remember This, Israel.

Isaiah 44:21-22
“Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you;
you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Do you see these things, child? I made you. Your form was made precious and beautiful by my hands, and because I love you. You are my servant. You are here to work in my vineyard, and to bring others home with you at the end of the day. O Israel, lovely, you will never be forgotten no matter how many people lose track of you. I will always remember you. Your life and faith are always on my mind. Your sins have been hidden as surely as a billowing white cloud hides the blue sky in summertime. When you feel blinded on a misty morning, remember that I am that blind to your sins. And when you get lost in that mist, return your soul to me, because I have purchased you from wandering and all that follows lostness.

It’s the simplest of lessons. I formed you. You are my servant. You will not be forgotten by me. I blotted out your transgressions. Return. I have redeemed you. The words are short and simple! It takes seconds to read through them and continue on to the next verses. The truths, though. Can such beautiful truth be so simple? It’s practically a complete compilation of answers to those questions life smears tauntingly in our faces
Where in this universe DID we come from?
I formed you.
Why does that matter?
You are my servant.
Who cares about that? Nobody pays attention to your servants.
I will never stop paying attention to you.
Well we messed it up. Sorry. No can do.
I am as blind to your forgiven sin as you are to the sun at night.
Return! I have redeemed you. Come back.

And that return is the most glorious return of all.
“Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
Shout, O depths of the earth;
Break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, an every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob

and will be glorified in Israel.”



I tried something new here. Something new new. I invented my own poetic meter. The lines are vary in length and number of poetic "feet", but there in each is a break before the last four syllables. The rhyme scheme is a simple abcb one. Each line becoming a sentence in itself was not intentional.


Blooms abused as weeds dance light-footed, on whispering breeze.

Birds share songs of night; ignore the moon.

A pure westward glow shrinks shyly upon itself – blinking at dusk.

Traffic sounds blur miles away: tonight they will not reach, in my cocoon.

Evening sighs a happy breath, its colors fade.

The silver maplett tousles, wrestling wind.

Pale colors transform white, dark becomes black.

My soul’s asleep, now, with nature’s twinned. 


Freedom Run: Fighting Darkness One Step at a Time.

Yet another day of school. I promised myself I'd study in five minutes. First, facebook. JUST five minutes.

M had posted something that had a big red X logo. I scanned it for anything interesting. "We're in to end it" the post said. End what? *Scroll* Ahh. Human trafficking. Good cause, I thought. Good cause indeed. *Scroll*

S had posted something that had a big red X logo. I did a double take. The same post! I'm  proud of you, S. I nodded silently to myself. Perhaps I should re-post this. It's a good cause. It'd be good to raise awareness about human trafficking.

I moved the mouse over to the "share" button.



NO. This isn't what you were trained to do. This is not how your parents, your youth leader and your time at Summit Ministries trained you to think.

Oh, ok. What, then?

Check it out.

I shifted the mouse just in time and clicked on the link.

The website was mostly black and red, with the big X logo etched in flashy places. I scrolled through, taking it in. Statistics barreled at me. And estimated 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. Over 100,000 thousand people are enslaved in AMERICA alone. Two children are sold every minute. 

Every MINUTE? The bloody logo stared at me, daring me to believe these outrageous facts.

I can't just ignore this.

I looked at the top of the page and found the "Action" tab. There must be something I could do, some way I could support this movement besides re-posting it onto my social media network. A list of fundraiser ideas came up. Host a bake sale, have a car wash, do a dodge ball tournament, on and on. My hometown does dozens of these a year. They looked way to ordinary. HOST A MARATHON. I jumped. The words flashed at me. I laughed. I don't run! And I'm supposed to host a marathon? That's comical, really.

School tickled my brain and I closed the tab. Homework doesn't wait well.

But I couldn't get the idea out of my mind. I tried not to think about it as an obligation, but in the back of my brain I boiled down the marathon to a more workable portion: a 5k run. A day passed, then a few days, and a week. I couldn't forget about the horrible things I'd read about girls deceived into sex trafficking, and children who didn't recognize pimps until it was too late.

I presented the idea of a 5k to raise awareness about human trafficking - especially sex trafficking - to my college Bible study and my youth leader. They fanned the idea into a plan and volunteered to help see it carried out.

We are hosting a Freedom Run.

Together we have organized a 5k run/walk for June 22nd. Check in begins at 7 AM and the race begins at 8 AM. There is a kids run starting at 9 AM and a silent auction during the races. Strollers are welcome! No skateboards, bikes, wheely-shoes, etc.

Register early for the run to ensure a t-shirt! The deadline for early registration is June 8th. Registration info and the registration form can be found at Registration after the deadline costs $35. The kids run is only $5 but I still need a registration for each entrant.

There is even a place for people to volunteer NOT to run! We'll need some to point the way for the runners, some to keep track of timing to determine first place winners, some to manage check in, somebody to help with water tables, etc. There will be plenty of work for people who would love to help in a way that doesn't involve a lot of sweat.

If you have questions about donations, donating items for the silent auction, sponsoring our race, registration or volunteering, please contact me! My email is

Thank you so much for your support and prayers.

May God bless our humble event and use each dollar for precious people caught in trafficking and for his glory.