To those who joined in the journey, when I issued the challenge below at our 2018 Scarlet Cord gala, and to those who’ve joined us since, thank you. Together, we’ve been Love and Truth in the flesh to people crying out to God for someone to see them. Together, we’ve transformed lives, grown programming, spoken Truth, moved into more communities and opened a one-of-a-kind safe house for juvenile survivors of sex trafficking.

To those still waiting on the Jordan’s shore, today is your day. Today is the day for the Body of Christ to rise, to truly be the Church, not worshippers dispersed and separated in buildings but living stones set on the chief Cornerstone, seeing, serving and loving. Today, He is calling His Bride: “Arise.”

A little over ten years ago, I raised my right hand and swore an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. And while I resigned from my position as an FBI Special Agent to come to RAHAB, my oath remains. 

At its core, my oath was a commitment to protect freedom.  

And yet, I saw through years of investigating human trafficking cases, that in the land of the free, not everyone is free. I saw that human trafficking really is the modern-day slavery it’s often called. And I saw from a unique perspective that law enforcement alone isn’t the answer, although it’s important and can be a deterrent to some extent. But prosecuted cases are only the very tip of the iceberg. And mostly the law just shows how broken we are.

From my vantage point, I saw women and children dying in slavery in our own backyard, and my ability to stop it with the resources I had was far too small.

I came to RAHAB believing I could do more to uphold my oath and to bring freedom from here than I could from there.  

Becoming an FBI Agent fulfilled a dream, but I came to RAHAB to fulfill a vision.

We need to truly end slavery in this country. We can do that together by strengthening our programming locally and empowering others across the country to replicate our model as RAHAB affiliates. There is nothing like RAHAB, with all of its pieces anywhere. But it needs to be everywhere.

RAHAB is God’s continuing story. From parting the Red Sea to Calvary, God is in the business of setting people free. Physically and spiritually.

I came to realize the foe I faced over and over in my investigations was the tale as old as time. It’s the story that started in a garden when that serpent deceived a woman and took all of humanity into captivity. 

The same snake continues to wield the same weapon to hold people in captivity today. Human trafficking is the manifestation in the physical realm of the spiritual slavery introduced through the deception in the garden. Traffickers wield the snake’s weapon—deception.

RAHAB’s programs provide the antidote. Truth and Love in the flesh is the antidote to the snake’s venom.  

It was foretold that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head to set humanity free.  

It was finished when Truth and Love came down to earth and took on flesh. When lies slayed the Truth, Love raised the Truth back to life.  

That is the power of Love.

Real Love, rather than the fake version traffickers offer, brings life by showing the women and children we serve the Truth of their value.

My former colleagues were tough. My current colleagues might be tougher. They go to places where lies and death reign and defeat them by speaking Truth and living Love.  

Traffickers have networks to surround their victims to enslave them. We offer networks to join in God’s story of setting them free. One relationship at a time. We don’t just talk about trafficking. We meet needs on the ground.

RAHAB’s legal name is Reaching Above Hopelessness and Brokenness, Inc. That means we’re literally in the hope business. When I look at the world and read the headlines, I see a world crying out for hope and arguing about who has the corner on Truth and Love. I can tell you: It’s Jesus.

He is Truth and Love in the flesh. 

We don’t require anyone to believe as we do to receive our services, but it is our faith that moves us to action.

During a really ugly time in our nation’s history, when slavery was legal in this country, Ohio had more safe houses than anywhere else, because people of faith lived out what they believed.

During that time, more people escaped slavery through Ohio than anywhere else in the country.  

And it was while living in Ohio that Harriet Beecher Stowe saw the things that led her to put faith into action and write Uncle Tom’s Cabin—the book that resulted in Abraham Lincoln crediting her with starting the war that was the catalyst for ending legalized slavery in this country.  

And right here in Akron, Ohio Sojourner Truth gave her most famous speech.

I believe we are called to again lead the fight for freedom from this geographic location. While we serve many counties and are spread out in five locations, RAHAB started right here on the streets of Akron, Ohio. And I believe the history of our geography unlocks our destiny.

The biblical Rahab, who ensured the Israelites’ safe passage into the promised land, placed a scarlet cord in her window as a marker.

Tonight, let this Scarlet Cord be a marker for this RAHAB.  

Ten years ago, I swore an oath, a promise. And today, I stake a claim that we will become the promised land of freedom. Will you step into the Jordan with me? As we step up the fight to take this territory from the enemy so that in the land of the free, everyone might truly be free.

We need millions of dollars to fulfill this vision, but it’s not money I want most tonight. It’s the soul of every person here fully committed to God’s story of setting people free. It’s for Truth and Love to indwell each us to such a degree that they spill out onto our neighbors and permeate every one of our actions and decisions.  

That is how we will fulfill our destiny.

Then we won’t just reach above hopelessness and brokenness. 

Together, we’ll rise.