All last week Brandon and I were in Modest, CA. The whole Say Something Assembly team flew out for four jam packed days of assemblies. I lost count but I think we did somewhere between 15 and 20 from just Monday through Thursday!
Brandon was able to run sound and video for each one, probably one of the more difficult jobs in my opinion as there is no room to get distracted because of the constant videos and pictures popping on the screen with each speaker. The assembly speakers are top notch professionals, and it has sure stretched me to present alongside them! It is quite the honor, and I am excited to see where I end up–because the refining process for me as a communicator has just begun!
A local organization fundraised to bring us out, and it was great to see how knowledgeable they were of what trafficking looks like in their own community. It is crazy to see that no matter how big or small the community traffickers are still able to exploit young girls and boys. And that the men of each of these communities are the ones purchasing their own youth.
Many ministries never see the fruit of their labor, and I am so grateful that God blesses us with confirmation what we do is effective and worthwhile. Just like Super Bowl week assemblies, we flash pictures of missing kids from the areas the schools are in. When the pictures flashed at one particular school a group of students began whispering and pointing at the screen. They recognized a former classmate.
During the assembly, another story told is of a missing girl named Ashley Anderson. Jeff explains his experience when he was able to identify her during a Super Bowl outreach a few years ago. Law enforcement was not able to make it to the location in time, and unfortunately, Ashley is still missing. We put her picture on the screen; the more people see her, maybe there will be a possibility of recognition. After an assembly on the last day, a student approached Jeff saying that he had known her and gone to school with her before she went missing!
When the stories hit close to home, students pay more attention. They need to understand that trafficking is real, and it can happen to them and their friends. If they do not, they tend to not look out for each other in the same ways and put themselves in dangerous situations, not realizing the consequences. So it is always the most encouraging thing to me when students want to get involved! We definitely saw a lot of enthusiasm and I am excited to follow-up to see if/how they want to move forward!