AU Trafficking Summit — Days 4 & 5

Saturday (Day 4) was the peek of the 2013 Summit on Social Consciousness. Sabbath School included a skit by university students and a panel discussion with Theresa Flores, Jennifer Schwirzer, Carol Ryan and Harvey Burnett. The worship service was hosted by New Life, with music provided by the Deliverance Mass Choir. Clifford Jones spoke for church, describing the three requirements of God outlined in Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (NKJV)

The afternoon break-out sessions were significant and diverse:

  • The Slave Across the Street (Theresa Flores)
  • Christian Intervention for Helping Victims of Sexual Abuse (David Sedlacek)
  • What is God Doing about Sex Trafficking? (Martin Hanna)
  • Marital Sex “Trafficking” in the SDA Church (René Drumm)
  • Wise as Serpents: How to Spot a Sexual Predator (Jennifer Schwirzer)
  • Perspectives on Compliant Behavior: An Intimate Portrayal (Carol Ryan)
  • Myths about Human Trafficking (Amy Alvarado)
  • Overcoming Sexual Addiction (David Sedlacek)
  • Social Justice in the Bible (Ante Jeroncic)
  • Understanding the Psychology Impact on Human Trafficking (Harvey Burnett)
  • Harmless as Doves: How to Help a Sexual Predator (Jennifer Schwirzer)

The day’s events concluded with vespers and a reception. I was not in the concluding session, but planning committee co-leader Daniel Xisto shared that there was a concert by mother-daughter duo Jennifer Schwirzer and Alison Brook, followed by a message of thanks to student leaders by Dean Christon Arthur. Javier Omar Melendez recited a powerful Spoken Word, and Hyveth Williams charged attendees to take seriously the role we can play in showing God’s love by caring for others. Daniel Xisto concluded vespers with a response to Williams’ charge.

Throughout the afternoon, a number of ministries, organizations and people had promotional displays–Adventist Recovery Ministries, Project Liberty, AU Chapter of Adventist Peace Fellowship, Hope of Survivors, Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, Theresa Flores, and Planting Hope in Michigan. Part of the reason I attended this year’s event was to participate in this aspect of the weekend, hosting a booth for Tiny Hands International, a Christian nonprofit fighting trafficking in Nepal (among many other activities).

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, and after four days of focus on trafficking, my soul felt like it needed to cleanse. If I felt like this after a few hours of exposure, what must those trapped in sex slavery have felt after the same four-day stretch? May we receive strength from God to learn and to act. And may we also remember that while Satan does not take a day off, we must step back as needed in order to rest and “sharpen our saw,” trusting that God does not need to rest and carries on the fight even when we pause to practice self-care.

Raising awareness in St. Joseph, MI.

Sunday (Day 5) marked the final event of the Summit. A group of the most dedicated participants gathered in St. Joseph for a public witness, drawing attention to the injustice of sex trafficking.

Graduate student and Summit planning committee member, Sabine René, shared the following thoughts after the end of the 5-day event:

Is it over???? No!!!!!! Now, the work really begins. A few great speakers and powerful seminars isn’t enough to end this social injustice called “human sex trafficking”. Now, the work really begins….beyond awareness campaigns….beyond posters….beyond the summits and conferences.

Now, the work really begins…..beyond the information tables and digital monitor advertisements. How shall you respond to the cries of the innocent and the disposed? Beyond the statistics and the alarming facts, beyond the handouts and first-hand accounts…..now, the work really begins in raising your voice against the dehumanization of God’s creation.

Is it over???? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CORPORATE SPONSORS

I would like to especially thank my corporate sponsors–fusté design and Vertical View. Without your logistical support and hospitality, I would not have been able to attend the complete event!

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

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