Garrett and Debbie share the pulpit in Syracuse
"Baptists work together for good when called according to God's purpose." It's a slight paraphrase of a passage from the book of Romans, but it's true. On July 22nd, having bicycled more than 3100 miles since his June 3rd departure from Indiana, Garrett Zambrows arrived at our door. He was even two hours early! What an athlete!
That night, the Iroquois Baptist Association of ABC-NY State sponsored an anti-trafficking event. There was free food and childcare, and about 70 people from at least 7 different churches joined in listening to Garrett and myself, in addition to representatives from 3 groups who do either human trafficking prevention or victim assistance or both. Four news outlets, were present, and great follow-up pieces, such as the one from NCC in Syracuse that used the attached picture, appeared all week!
Even I was surprised to hear that Syracuse is a human-trafficking hub for international traffickers, partly because of our international airport and partly because of our proximity to the Canadian border. Traffickers even bring victims across frozen waters and into NY State in the winter, according to the Spanish Action League representative.
Garrett did a great job of communicating to the audience that anti-human trafficking work takes many forms and that all of us have a part to play in its eradication. What an affirmation of the impact he and his ride are having I heard on Sunday morning: a young woman was doing a skit to encourage church members to bring in school supplies for children whose families receive food through our local food pantry. She ended her skit by saying, "As I learned on Monday night when Garrett was here, helping kids have access to education helps lessen their vulnerability to human trafficking in the long run."
I hear that another young man who was in the crowd is considering how a 50-mile ride he will do for a scouting badge might be in support of a cause which is on his heart. God is working!
Thanks to those of you who have hosted or will host Garrett! Please continue to pray for him and for his safety on the road! That is something we all can do!
In these days when the press is buzzing about the FBI's arrests of many traffickers and the release of many minors who were exploited by the traffickers here in the U.S., let us be available to local organizations who might need help providing services for those freed. Do a google search in your area and see who is involved! Funding for the intensive case management services needed for a full recovery is very limited, and your local contribution will make a big difference. We know now the two major groups in our area who work with human trafficking victims face-to-face. This is an important fruit of Garrett's ride.
Remember that you can follow Garrett on Twitter @ridingagsttraffic or online at www.ridingagainsttraffic.org or on FaceBook (Riding against Traffic). Online donation to his ride, which benefits my work and that of Mylinda Baits as well as CASA for Kids (which I consider a trafficking prevention program), can be done at www.ridingagainsttraffic.org.
I will be in Maine doing some speaking next week, and then we will be on the road visiting family and having some vacation until September.
God bless you all with a wonderful conclusion to your summer!