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Attention Control Girls: Learning to Let Go!

June 2, 2017
Control Girl_Cynthia L. Simons

Have you ever had a friend pull you off to the side and say, “Watch out for Emmaline. She’ll be telling you what to do if you aren’t careful.”?

No one likes a woman who has to run every event herself, and our kids really hate it once they are grown. At that point, they are ready to choose for themselves.

A couple years ago, my husband and I started ballroom dancing. We love it. However, I have learned things about myself. The man leads while dancing. His job is to move forward and make his way around the room, avoiding other dancers. When I am facing him, I can’t see where we are going.  I am so accustomed to getting things done that relaxing so he can lead is a real challenge. It takes real effort, but these dance lessons taught me how much I needed to be in control.

What a great spiritual lesson for all of us. Look at what the Psalmist says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. When you trust God, you must rest in him, knowing he can do what you cannot.

Today Shannon Popkin is my guest. She has just written the book, Control Girl.

Shannon’s bio;

I’m Shannon Popkin. I’m a wife and mom, a writer and speaker, a small group leader and Bible teacher. I’m so excited about my new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible.,  which released in January 2017). With God’s help, I’m on a path that leads from Control Girl to Jesus Girl.
As a speaker, I love combining my love for humor and storytelling and with my passion for Jesus. I speak for ladies’ events, retreats, and moms groups. On my blog, I share stories from my life, which I hope will make you smile, and will encourage you to follow Jesus more closely. I also share posts from the other sites that I contribute to, including True Women.
Learn more here.
Control Girl

Shannon Popkin

Abuse of Authority, Anger, Authority of Scripture, Bible, Bible Study, Commitment to Christ, Dreams, Encouragement, Freedom, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Ministry using your gift, Rights, Standing for your faith, Truth, Understand our culture, Walking by Faith, Worry

Worried About the Future? Christians Know the End of the Story

November 4, 2016
Revelation on Fire

Worried About the Future?

It’s really easy to worry about the future, but Christians know the end of the story. Several years ago on a Saturday morning, my husband slid into the floor and had a grand mal seizure. Wow! What a catastrophic event. In an adult, a seizure is a medical emergency.  We suddenly went from normal living to crisis mode. A sense of unreality came over me as I discovered my husband’s illness was very serious.  For the first few days, I stood by his bed and watched as doctors tried to treat his complex problem. Ultimately his full recovery took four years, and those years unsettled us all. In the same way, we live in a rapidly changing world. Events come at us so fast. These unbelievable events seemed impossible a few years ago. If anyone disagrees or questions, that person receives a nasty label. Intolerant. Bigot. Hater. I keep reminding myself that I live in America where we are supposed to have freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Many in the church are rattled and frightened. This election season had passed in a similar fashion. Americans are angry because no one listens to them in Washington.

I cannot imagine facing any of this without God. During that time when my husband was ill, the Lord sent me to the book of Daniel while I taught a class. There the Lord revealed that Daniel’s greatest dream was for his people to return to the land with a restored relationship with the father. However, God knew that wouldn’t happen in Daniel’s lifetime, so God allowed Daniel a peek into the future. Daniels greatest longing would come true, but not while he lived.

As Christians, we don’t wield control, but we can be assured that God does. The book of Revelation reveals God’s plan for the future, and we can be confident, regardless of what we see going on. God will accomplish his purpose.

My guest is Dr. Ken J. Burge, Sr. He has written Revelation on Fire a Bible study on the last book of the Bible.

2:15 Not everyone in the church believes like you do about the future. Can you give reasons why hold your position on future things?

5:00 Describe your Bible study method

9:15 Revelation said these things will ‘shortly take place.” That was written over 2000 years ago. What does that phrase mean?

11:00 What does the text mean when it says people will be blessed seven times?

12:00 Can you give reasons why you believe in the rapture of the church?

14:00 Who were the people in chapter 3 who are praising the lamb for redemption?

Learn more about Dr. Burge here.  Find his book here.

Revelation on Fire

Ken Burge

Authority of Scripture, Avoiding humdrum, Bible, Church, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Encouragement, Fellowship with believers, Heart of the Matter, Holy Spirit, Hope, Leaving a legacy, Making choices, Prayer, Truth, Walking by Faith, Worship

Indescribable, Un-explainable, Incredible Life

October 21, 2016
Un-explainable life

Indescribable, Un-explainable, Incredible Life

Do you want to live an incredible life? I do.

I take a regular exercise class several times a week. On Fridays, the teacher dismisses with “Come back on Monday and we’ll start this process all over again.”

She always laughs when she says it, but it makes me feel like a gerbil on those round exercise balls that spin over and over. You can get in a routine, even a good routine and a sense of boredom sets in.

Get up in the morning, head off to work, or maybe you’re a mom with little ones. You feed them, change diapers and you do it all over again the next day. When my children were little, one would come and ask when I’d fix dinner. I’d get a little silly and say. “I fed you yesterday. You want to eat again.”

But you know what I mean. Ecclesiastes a time for everything under heaven: a time to bake, and a time to discard what was baked;

Have you ever wanted to live an extraordinary life? What makes life have pizzazz? I believe having a purpose does that. You live for something bigger than yourself. The apostle Paul said he longed to know Jesus Christ and to become holy like he would be after he was raised from the dead.

An indescribable life? An un-explainable life?

My guest today is Erica Wiggenhorn, who just completed a Bible study on Acts, An Unexplainable Life.

2:10 What is one of your favorite lessons from Acts?

3:45 Give us examples of how the Holy Spirit worked differently in each life?

5:45 God’s exciting creativity.

6:30 Similarities in the OT stories and the tongues of fire spoken of in Acts

9:20 How did the disciples change after the Holy Spirit came? Especially Peter?

13:00 Explain the importance of the clouds in the ascension of Christ?

15:13 Share the role prayer played in the book of Acts. How is it important today?

16:55 How was Stephen’s life unexpected?

19:25 How can the book of Acts encourage us today?

Learn more about Eria here.

Your ExtraOrdinary Life

Erica Wiggenhorn

Authority of Scripture, Bible, Communication, Doing Family God's Way, Educating your children, Family, Family Dinner, Goals, Heart of the Matter, Homeschool, Making choices, Parenting, Sex, Truth, Understand our culture

Critical Conversations: Topics for Chat

August 5, 2016
Discuss issues with your child

Critical Conversations – Chat with your children on topics that matter

When I was a young mother, I had a deep longing to share my faith with my children. My husband and I made a deliberate choice to spend time with our children and talk about things, all kinds of topics. That’s why we homeschooled. In fact, my husband even taught my kids to argue. He didn’t want that ‘yes it is’ and ‘no it’s not’ nonsense. Instead, he wanted them to engage in sharing facts. The Bible says to give reasons for the hope that is within you and that sort of conversation is what he wanted.

Today as a person with grown kids, my convictions are even stronger. I’ve seen God change people and impossible situations. I’ve seen him at work, and I know people need the Lord.  I love that verse in the Psalms where David said,  “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”

The world is broken and we see evidence of that every day. Proverbs 4:19 says “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” In contrast, see what God says about knowing him:  Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

As parents,  it’s so important to chat with your children. The kitchen table is a wonderful place to do that. Share what God says and interact with them. If they absorb the world’s ideas, they will suffer the consequences. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Today Tom Gilson tells us how to tackle a ticklish topic. He’s just written a book called Critical Conversations. 

00: 34 My thoughts on this topic

3:29 Talking about uncomfortable topic

4:34 Does Christianity hate individuals?

6:08 Ultimate bondage

6:45 We just want to love

8:13 Huge culture shift

9:05 Why broach the uncomfortable topic?

10:07 It is rude to judge someone else’s choices?

11:29 Teach a teen to be confident

12:40 Avoid the Bible brush off?

15:40 Compare the sin

16:45 Medical Consequences

19:40 Love without approving

Learn more about the book here.

Critical Conversations

Tom Gilson

Anger, Authority of Scripture, Bible, chocolate, Church, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Crying out to God, Death, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Grief, Heart of the Matter, Living through heartache, Love, Parenting, Praise, Trust, Truth, Walking by Faith

Healthy Grief Processing

July 1, 2016
Carol McLeod

Healthy Grief Processing – Carol McLeod is my guest today. She’s an expert on grief processing after losing five babies.

Nobody wants grief. Truly! Like many of you, I grew up in America. All my life I expected good things. WE had the freedom to pursue whatever career we wanted, and I had dreams of being gloriously happy. On the other hand, the church taught we would face heartache. I heard that, but I’m not sure I really believed. My husband was the same way. He even commented how he was tired of singing about the ‘Sweet Bye and Bye’ while ignoring the ‘nasty now and now.’

However, the longer you life, you see heartache and sorrow. I can say now the Lord has walked me through some grueling times, things we never dreamed we’d face. Now I sense the brokenness of our world. It’s shocking the intensity of the pain we see. God designed us to live in a perfect work, and we ache when we see tragedy.

My husband calls Romans chapter eight ‘Groaning 101.’ “For we know what they whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now. Woe! you talk about childbirth, and we ladies can relate. That’s serious pain. And yes, that’s our world.

But the Apostle Paul wasn’t finished. “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed.” (Romans 8:18) That’s a pretty huge contrast. The sufferings, however hefty they may be, can’t outweigh the glory we will have. What a statement. We all need that hope.

Here’s a guide to topics you might enjoy in the interview:

How to be attuned to God: 2:20

J0y Defined: 3:50

Healthy Grief: 6:5

Process your grief: 7 :25

David’s Grief: 8:5 Seconds

Broken Heart: 6:40 Seconds

Carol’s addiction: 13:45 Seconds

Life in Layers: 11:32 Seconds

Listen to Carol McLeod below:

Speaker, Bible teacher

Carol McLeod

You can pre-order Carol’s book here.

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Anger, Boundaries, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Design, Doing Family God's Way, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Love, Making choices, Marriage, Respect, Romance, Truth, Walking by Faith

Tie the Knot Permanently: Key to Wedded Bliss

June 24, 2016

Tie the Knot—-Permanently: The key to wedded bliss

My guest, Rob Green talks about preparing to tie the knot and keep it tied. In other words, what actions can we take to get married and stay madly in love?

Most of us women have a romantic side. We love the idea of Cinderella, wedding dresses, flowers, and the happily ever after. But today many marriages don’t last. That’s not God’s plan. Look at this passage in Luke. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

This passage speaks of preparing ahead of time before building. Any of us would educate ourselves before we started a business. You’d never think of offering your skills as a seamstress or as a book keeper or a nurse unless you studied and prepared. I believe the same holds true of marriage. Marriage is the first institution God founded, and we know from Ephesians that the relationship between a husband and wife is an analogy for Christ and the Church. Entering marriage should be sacred, and our vows held as sacred.
Many today think too lightly of marriage or don’t even bother to marry. Some are even fearful of marriage and decide to live together instead.

Tying the Knot

Rob Green

My guest offers hope. Rob Green is a counseling pastor, and he shares his experience with lots of couples who struggle to hold it together. Listen to his interview for answers:

Find problem-solving strategies 18:34.
1:52, Rob shares why it’s important to be committed to Christ.
Are you afraid of marriage? 5:57.
The world loves a romance. Go to 7:28.
Access tools to love and serve your spouse? You’ll find that at 9:25.
What about submission? You’ll hear Rob’s answer at 11:35

Find Rob Green’s book.

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Bible, Boundaries, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Dress for Success, Emotions, Heart of the Matter, Making choices, Organization, Trust, Truth, Understand our culture, Walking by Faith, Work

Dress for Success

June 17, 2016
Dress for Success

Dress for Success: Prepare for your day

What do I mean by dress for success? Do you remember seeing those photos of Adam and Eve in Sunday school when you were a kid? Illustrators always put them behind bushes, but you could tell they weren’t dressed. Even though Bible tells us they didn’t have clothes,  given enough time, I believe Eve would have decorated herself in some way whether she sinned or not.  Tastes differ, but on the whole, we women like pretty things. I’m fond of coordinating my clothing and jewelry. In Hawaii, it’s traditional to wear a flower in your hair. If the flower is on the left side, you are married. If you wear it on the right side, you aren’t married. I bet Eve wore a necklace of flowers. Knowing women, I believe she found a way to accessorize. That’s what we do.

I’m fond of coordinating my clothing and jewelry. In Hawaii, it’s traditional to wear a flower in your hair. If the flower is on the left side, you are married. If you wear it on the right side, you aren’t married. I bet Eve wore a necklace of flowers. Maybe she also found a way to accessorize by wearing combinations of flowers and leaves. That’s what we do.

A lot our activities revolve around what we wear. In the winter, we bundle up in heavy sweaters. In the summer, we shed those for cute blouses. I recently saw some tops with lace down the front and on the border. Even our shoes change according to the season. I wear cute sandals when it’s hot and knee high boots when it’s cold.

Americans dress for comfort and like to believe clothes don’t matter as much. However, we tend to expect some professionals to look a certain way. A white coat  and stethoscope announce a doctor, and a scrub nurse dons aqua pants and top.

“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” That’s very true on both sides of that ‘but’’ statement. In other words, men see how we look. While God observes our thoughts,  the state of our heart can impact our outward appearance. The big question is, are we dressing so that we are prepared for what life offers? Maybe the day brings a challenge. Dress to meet it.

Today we’re going to talk to Denise Roberts about preparing for life by our dress.

Dress for Success

Denise Roberts

Abuse, Anger, Boundaries, Communication, Dating, Deceit, Doing Family God's Way, Educating your children, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Freedom, Grief, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Human trafficking, Living through heartache, Mothering, Parenting, Rape, Truth

Slave Across the Street: Human Trafficking

June 10, 2016
slave across the street

Slave Across the Street: Human Trafficking isn’t across the world.

 

Cynthia: This is Cynthia, and you are listening to Heart of the Matter radio for women who want to obey God in a less than perfect world. The Bible says you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. But there are women in our world, and even close by us, that are not free. Today I have with me Peggy Sue Wells, who wrote The Slave Across The Street. She is an author of over a dozen books, has seven children of her own, and she also homeschools.

Welcome, Peggy Sue.
Peggy Sue: Thank you, Cynthia. I appreciate the time to be able to talk with you.
Cynthia: Now, The Slave Across The Street is a story, a true story, about human trafficking. Can you define what human trafficking is?
Peggy Sue: Absolutely. The Department of Health and Human Services has defined it this way. They say sex trafficking is where commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, in which a person is induced to perform such an act and that person is not eighteen years of age. So it can also include recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor. There’s other types of services, which we’ll talk about that later on in our interview here.
Modern day slavery, that’s kind of what I really want to focus on. Because that’s what we’re going to see. That is something that consists of different aspects, including labor and domestic slavery, debt bondage, child soldiers, child brides, organ trafficking. There’s some international adoptions that are connected with trafficking. Prostitution, and sex trafficking of children and adults.
The way this works is that the traffickers gain complete control over a person’s identity or individuality through mental, physical, or emotional abuse. Normally all three. They tend to really target children, so these children are not capable of the ability to make a lot of choices that we would have. They are easily manipulated. And so they use threats and manipulation and coercion until the person submits.
Shared Help International states it this way, and I really like this definition. They say traffickers are pimps who use violence and psychological manipulation to control girls, then they convert their bodies into cash. So this is a compelled service and the victims feel that they must do what they are told, and they feel that they are unable to leave, and if they attempt to run that the people that they love will be severely harmed.
The traffickers are experts at breaking the will of their captives. They do not function with a moral compass like you and I do, or like their victims do. And after breaking the will of the victim, then they groom the victim for upcoming acts of trafficking that they’re going to have them to do.
This works generally with a traffic victim will only live like two to five years, that would be the extent of their lifespan, so this is why we want to make sure that we can get a handle on this and stop it right away.
Cynthia: How prevalent is this in the world?
Peggy Sue: You know, in the United States alone our figures show that there are a hundred thousand children that are being trafficked in the United States. And it’s in all countries. Right now it is considered the number one crime internationally, and the statistics that I saw recently said that there are more slaves, catch this, there are more slaves in the world now than there have ever been in human history.
Cynthia: Wow. When I was in my teens, I was about nineteen, twenty, my mother had me take a bus in downtown Chattanooga. I was in nursing school at the time and I was working over the summer, and she didn’t want to drive all the way downtown to pick me up. So I had to catch a bus at the end of the day in Chattanooga, and I was approached by a man I did not know. And he came to me and he said hey, how are you doing? And he was so friendly that I assumed I knew him, but I wasn’t sure. He asked how I was doing and I told him, and he asked me what kind of job I had, and I said well, I’m working right now as a secretary. I’m actually in nursing school. And this man actually proposed that I come and work in his massage parlor.
And by that time I began to get a feel that this guy was not honest and I did not trust him. And so I just told him I wasn’t interested and got on the bus and took off. But I realize now, looking back, that I was probably approached by a pimp.
Peggy Sue: Absolutely. You know, you already used one of the key terms right now, when we’re going to say where to find these in our neighborhood, massage parlors. We find our victims, here in our own communities, in our own backyard. We find these gals in bars, escort services, houses will be set up as brothels. Nail salons, ethnic restaurants, massage parlors are on this list, which is what you just brought up. Agricultural camps, construction camps, hotels.
And then I have two sons that were in the military. When I’m writing the book they said Mom, you know this goes on on military bases. And I was just like please tell me that it is not our US men that are using it. And they said Mom, are US men overseas, they’re the ones that have the money. And I was just brokenhearted. I was so sick about that.
Cynthia: So who are the three players in the human trafficking triangle?
Peggy Sue: First player is going to be the trafficker. So that’s the man that talked to you, that you met when you were getting on that bus. What he does is exactly what you are describing. He comes up, he’s real friendly, he kind of takes you off guard. They do that with children, with young girls. And the girls are completely unaware that they’re being groomed.
The second player is the girl. Usually it’s girls, 75% are girls. There are boys that are trafficked as well. But 75% are female.
And then the third player, and I think this is the key to getting trafficking stopped, the third player is what we call the john. And that’s the guy who goes in and pays money to actually have sex acts with these girls.

If there is no demand, then we don’t need a supply. So I would love to see that if we could come and have incredibly nasty laws for the johns, so that those guys will go you know what, it is not worth it. It is so not worth it, I am not even going to go, I am not even going to go do this, then they could have girls available but if nobody came, nobody was available for the supply, if there was no demand, then there would be no reason for a supply.
Cynthia: Now, can you give you some explanation as to why this person did not continue to approach me? I mean, I was suspicious, very suspicious. But still, I would have expected him to keep trying.
Peggy Sue: They look for somebody who’s very weak, somebody who’s vulnerable. And I’ll tell you, here’s the thing that’s very valuable about getting the book The Slave Across The Street, and of course this is available on Amazon. You just click on there, there’s the book. You can go to my website, www.peggysuewells.com and you’ll find The Slave Across The Street there. You click on it, it’ll take you right to Amazon to the website. And you want to pick up The Slave Across The Street.
It is the true story of Theresa Flores, who was an upscale Detroit teenager, and for two years she was caught up in sex trafficking. She was a girl that had been moved every two years due to her father’s employment. So when she comes into this new area she’s wanting to fit in, she feels a little bit nervous, and what is she going to do in this new c
ulture where everybody else knows each other and she doesn’t. And she’s a teenager and she’s hoping to be able to make friends, and maybe to have a guy think she’s cute, and that sort of thing.
She wasn’t getting a lot of attention at home. She had very busy parents and that sort of thing. And so what they do is they test the waters, and they are looking for girls that are hungry, girls that are needy, girls that are that type of vulnerability. Somebody who’s confident, somebody who’s going to stand up for themselves, somebody who’s going to move away again, they’re not going to go there.
Runaways are incredibly vulnerable for this type of situation. But the girls that are trafficked are very vulnerable. They’re not confident girls. They’re people that have a need, and these guys find that need. They just go to it, they just zero in on it like a target, and they sense it and they go.
Cynthia: I’m sure I’m not easy to trip. So maybe they saw that in my face. I don’t know.
Peggy Sue: Absolutely.
Cynthia: So what does it look like? How common is this?
Peggy Sue: It’s common. I lived in South Carolina for awhile and on Hilton Head Island we stared the Low Country Coalition Against Human Trafficking. So thrilled with the people that got together and said we want to do something about this. So they networked and pulled together all of the resources from the police to the FBI, to all the other para-church groups, the churches themselves, got together with the schools. Anybody that had an interest and said you know, we’re going to gather together and then we’re going to educate the community and we’re going to do what we can.
So as they educated the community as to what to look for, here’s what happened. There was one young man who does pest control, and so he went out to fumigate around a restaurant out there. And off to the side of the restaurant, back behind the restaurant, there was this little shed, and there was all these people crammed in there. And he went whoa, that’s a lot. So he went back and he told his mom. He’s like Mom, I was at work today, I had the weirdest thing that I saw. And she’s like you know what? I know what that is.
So she was able to get in touch with one of the police officers that works specifically with our group. They went out there, and sure enough, this was where they were holding these people that were being trafficked and they also had them working through the restaurant.
We had another one where it was an Asian restaurant, and again, these were people that were in the group and they were noticing that when they would try to have a conversation with these little waitresses in this Asian restaurant, the girls would not meet their eyes. They would not have a conversation. They would not speak with them. They seemed very scared, they seemed very cowered.
And so they kind of started glancing around, and over by the kitchen door where you go from the dining room into the kitchen, one of the workers, a guy, was standing there. And he had a bag of ice and he just kind of kept pounding it into his hand, the palm of his hand. So she said you know what, that’s not okay. So again, she let our authorities know. She said this is odd, I just want to let you know. Not trying to be weird, but you might want to check it out.
So sure enough, they went in, and then they’re very calm about it. They don’t suspect everybody. But they went in and they said yup, that’s exactly what was going on. What they were using to control these girls would they would beat them with bags of ice. So for this guy to stand there like that, he was letting them know don’t say anything to anybody because I’m watching you. So they were able to rescue those girls as well.
And then we had this wonderful lady in the northern area, little older lady, and same thing. She’s not a tattletale at all, but she noticed some people had moved in across the street from her and they had a little girl. She watched and she was so excited, there’d be a little girl, maybe she could make cookies for her and all that. Several weeks went by and this little girl never came out to play, she didn’t go to school, but there were all these cars that kept coming and parking and then they’d leave. And they’d come and they’d park, and then they’d leave. And there were all these strangers and they’d come and go, and come and go.
So she did the same thing. She called the local police and she said you know, I don’t tattle on my neighbors, I’m not one who spies on them. But she said you know, I just have this funny feeling about what’s going on. It seems odd to me. So they did, they checked it out, and sure enough this little girl was being trafficked. So they were able to step in.
Cynthia: So they had captured a little girl, using this little girl for people to have sex with. Correct?
Peggy Sue: Correct. That is correct.
Cynthia: That’s despicable.
Peggy Sue: It absolutely is. So that’s why we can look in our own area, and once we start being aware of what to look for. Another gal was getting her nails done at a place and she asked to use the restroom, and they were a little snippy about her using the restroom. But they’re like okay, fine, and they kind of pointed her back down there. So she went down, there was a door on the side that was cracked open, and as she peeked in as she walked by, you just kind of glance in, there was a mattress on the floor. And she thought, well that’s odd. Why would somebody have a mattress in a nail salon?
So, same thing. She was able to ask around about it, and they said you know, that’s generally what we see happening. We’ll find a mattress in a nail salon or a place like that, where we have people that are brought in from other countries. And then they’re brought in, their identity is taken, and they’re told you can’t speak to anyone because you’re here illegally and if you say anything you’re going to go to jail. So they’re afraid to speak up. Like I said, there’s a lot of intimidation that goes along with it.
Now, the lovely thing about The Slave Across The Street, when you pick up that book, is that it tells Theresa’s story and she’s a rare glimpse into human trafficking because she was a victim and yet she’s been able to come not only survive it, get out of it, and then she’s been vulnerable enough to tell us her story.
And so that’s what we read in the first probably two-thirds of The Slave Across The Street. There’s a lot of redemption there. People read her story and they tell me I read it in twenty-four, maybe forty-eight hours, because it’s so riveting you just keep turning the pages, what’s going to happen. And we go with her into every situation. But it’s not so graphic. I mean, you know what’s happening, but it’s not so graphic that you can’t have your high-schoolers read it. It lets you know without being ridiculous.
And then the last part of it talks about this is how to recognize it in your community. This is how to protect the community that you live in. This is how to protect the community that you’ve built by raising your family here. And so she’s got all these wonderful ways of doing that.
And then she talks about how to see it and making sure that your children are protected, making sure your children are wise and being aware of what they’re doing. So there’s a lot of great information for every reader. I think every parent should read this. I’ve had aunts and uncles say give me that book, I really care about my nieces and nephews. They’ve picked it up.
So the awareness is there, and I have to say, when people have come to me and said we’re just going to educate the girls, we’re just going to let them know what to look out for. I have to say you know what? That’s not the solution. Because none of these girls wanted to be where they are. They were tricked, they were coerced, a lot of them were picked up and kidnapped off the streets. They’re not there because they were stupid.
The people that come and take them are cruel and they’re evil. So it’s up to us as a community to be aware of what’s going on in our community and to protect our environment.
Cynthia: Wow. I know I couldn’t put the book down. I was just going to read a little bit and then drift off to sleep, and I kept turning pages. And I actually felt terrible the next day because when I did fall asleep, I had bad dreams. It was very gut-wrenching to realize that this is happening. And it’s not in another part of the world. It is in your neighborhood that people are doing this kind of stuff.
And that’s when the story of my own situation came back. I thought well, I was suspicious then, but the story laid out for me I thought oh my goodness, this was something super dangerous. I sensed it, but I didn’t think about it much. I kind of dumped it in the back of my mind and went on. Mercy. It’s just horrendous.
What are some things that parents can do to educate themselves so they know how to handle this?
 
Peggy Sue: One of the gals that works with the federal authorities in these trafficking issues, she did a symposium for us down in South Carolina. And she’s got daughters, and they’re grown and they’re on their own, and she said to them you have to watch the movie Taken. And her daughters just oh Mom, it’s just your job, you’re being silly. And she’s like watch the movie. You just need to understand what my concerns are.
So finally her daughter did. And her daughter called her back, and she goes okay, Mom, I get it. Because when her mother wanted her to understand living in another state, working where we know she was a single woman someplace else, she said please always let someone know where you are, where you’re going to be. Just have that accountability. It was just kind of a visual.
And sometimes that movie has helped people understand a little bit of what we’re talking about. Particularly for people that are very visual learners.
And then understanding what it looks like and where to be looking. And to know what the environment’s going to be that’s going to be kind of a hot spot for that. I’ve seen, there’s a group of truckers that are very vigilant against this because they know that girls are trafficked and brought to truck stops. And so there are some incredibly noble men that are in trucking and they are watching for that. We’ve had several girls rescued because these men will see these young girls there and they’re like you know what, I know they’re not supposed to be here. So we’ve had several girls that have been rescued because these men are watching for that.
They’re aware that the places that make a location susceptible where you’re maybe going to be seeing more trafficking is an area around a border, along an Interstate where there’s a growing immigrant population. And we have a lot of refugees that are coming into the United States, and they’re finding different communities where they can settle in. And they’re not always really aware of what’s going on. There’s the language situation for them, so if they can get plugged in with church groups right away they can help them be able to understand how to learn and function here in our community in safe ways. That’s a good thing.
I know our area here in Fort Wayne, I mean who knew? We’ve got a large Bosnian population that’s come here, and so our churches have reached out to them and set up community centers. They’re helping them so that they are able to plug in and not be taken advantage of.
Proximity to large universities. International corporations, agricultural industries. Again, we talked about military bases. And then along coastal waterways like what we had down in South Carolina. The sea islands down there, there’s a hundred and seventy islands down there. They used to do a lot of pirating. This is a different kind of pirating.
So it’s kind of just being aware of what are the factors that make a location susceptible.
 
Cynthia: Well, in the book it described a girl being approached like I was, and sort of groomed in the sense that she came to trust someone. Then they began to exercise control. Can you talk a little bit about how they control these girls?
Peggy Sue: Yeah. In Theresa’s situation she, again, very needy, wanting to fit in, wanting somebody to like her. So this boy starts paying attention to her. Then it’s like here, let me give you a ride home from school, even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to she went with him. Then instead of taking her home he takes her to his home, and then she knew she shouldn’t go in but he’s like oh just come in for a minute, I’ve got to get something, I want to get to know you better and then I’ll take you home.
And of course then he gives her a drugged drink, and then he rapes her. And then a couple of days later when she finally picks herself up and goes back to school, he gives her a manila envelope, and there are photos of her. This had all been planned out ahead of time. So while he was raping her one of his cousins was there taking photos.
Now, these 8×10’s, on those photographs, you can’t tell whether it’s a rape or whether it’s just consensual. And of course, there is the blackmail. If you do not do now what we ask you to do, we are going to show these to your parents. We’re going to post them all over the church. We’re going to post them all over school.
And again, you’re talking to a young girl. Not somebody who’s going to be able to stand up and say knock yourself out, go ahead, and call their bluff. This is a child; it’s someone who’s really feeling like they’re vulnerable.
Anytime she did maybe say I’m not going to do what you want, or have a little bit of hesitation, her dog would be taken away and was killed. Then she saw her brother be threatened. So she ended up feeling like she was responsible for the health and even the lives of her family. And so that’s the kind of thing that you’ll see happening.
There’s always this incredible coercion where the stakes are so high for the victim. They feel so responsible to protect the people that are precious to them. That’s what they do. They are doing what they can to protect other people.
Cynthia: And what got me was that this was going on for two years and her parents did not know until finally she got in a situation where a policeman brought her home when her parents thought she was in bed. So the whole thing was happening while everybody else was going to school and nobody checked up on her to see if she was where she was supposed to be. It just went under the wire, completely. And it just blows your mind.
Peggy Sue: And there were two things that went along with that. First off, her parents were not particularly tied in. And that’s one of the things I love about Theresa, and you as a homeschool mom, me as a homeschool mom, one of the things that we always say is be tied in with what your kids are doing. Be aware of where they are.
My friends that have their children in public school and have them in private school, we always tell them stop in once in awhile. Absolutely show up at their PE practice, or pull in one day and sit in on their class. Show up during lunch and surprise them. But you need to be the one who drops them off at school, pick them up. You need to be the one that takes them to their band occasions, their sports events where they go. You be that parent that is around that knows who their circle of influence is, who knows the people there that they’re hanging with and they’re hanging around them. You be the home that everybody comes to, because that way you’re able to make sure that your children are protected.
Theresa didn’t have that going on in her life. Some of the people when they would maybe, like some of the school people, maybe would be a little bit suspicious, but they were also being threatened. The other thing is who would, on the face of the earth, imagine such a thing would go on? Which is another reason why her parents, even when the police brought her back, they couldn’t fathom it. They couldn’t accept it. So even when the police brought her back and suggested this might be happening, they dismissed it. They’re like that’s not possible. They just could not imagine that such a thing was going on.
That’s the other thing; it seems so fantastic that some people just don’t follow it. So it is so important for us as parents, and I know parents a lot of times will send their kids to bed and then not check on them again. We’ve all heard stories. I mean, my aunts will tell me stories about slipping out of her bedroom to go hang out at her friend’s late one night, and she said her mother found out and the next morning there was a very large cactus planted right outside her window.
But the cute thing about that was the mother was aware. And the message was clear. You know what, baby doll? You belong in bed at night, not out on the street, and I’m aware, and I care about you. And so as parents it’s very important we check on our children throughout the day, throughout the night. Know where they are.
We have to be involved with them. We have to know who they’re talking to on the Internet. We now all have cell phones, and so our children have phones. We have no idea who they’re talking to on their phones. We need to check those regularly, see who’s on their contact list, we need to check their histories, we need to have conversations with our children, who are you talking to.
The computer that they are on needs to be in the common area of the house so that, again, you know who that they are conversing with over the Internet. There need to be times where the Internet is off because you’re just doing homework. You need to have nannies on your computer so they don’t get into sites that they’re not supposed to.
I do know of a case where there was a man who got on and just groomed a girl over the Internet, then managed to meet up with her somewhere else. And she was a very young girl, he was far older than her, and we had the same situation with her. So it’s very much we as parents, because our children are young, they’re immature, we make goofy decisions as adults, you know. But a child needs guidance; they need a parent.
We parent our children longer than any other species on the planet, and it’s because as humans we need that extra guidance. As parents we need to make sure we are involved with our children, know where they are, give them guidance, instruct them, teach them, and help them to know how to make wise decisions and to stay out of things that are not going to be safe for them.
 
Cynthia: Well, I never told my mother that story. I guarantee you if I had told her she would have picked me up every day from school and taken me home. But she never dreamed that would happen.
Peggy Sue: Now that’s fascinating, Cynthia because that’s you have just absolutely put your finger on exactly what happens with victims. Because what happened in that, what was the shame involved that you didn’t tell your mom? You see?
Cynthia: I wasn’t ashamed. I just wrote it off and never thought of it again, because I didn’t feel like I was in danger because I said no to him.
Peggy Sue: Got it. Got it. A lot of girls get approached by something like that, and they’re just so embarrassed they don’t say anything, and then it’s allowed to escalate.
Cynthia: All those years went by and when I read the book that story resurfaced, and I thought I was in more danger than I realized.
Peggy Sue: You were. And praise God that you were protected in that moment. And, like Theresa said in her book, as she was going along, it was towards the end of her two years, she saw them starting to groom another girl at her school. She knew what it looked like. And the same thing with you. This man approached you, you said no, but he was going to be looking for somebody else.
So we need to really be in prayer that people are going to be safe, God will intervene.
Cynthia: And keep an eye out for this kind of stuff. Because I would never have been concerned about my girls. We were there most of the time, we homeschooled as well, and there were times we let them have freedom. But we generally knew who they were with and what was going on. We had our antennas up all the time. So the Lord took care of us.
But no, I would have never been that concerned had I not ready your book. I just never would have dreamed it being that common.
Peggy Sue: Yeah. And our lifestyles are so much busier now. And again, we used to be so much more connected as families. We had more situations where there are more moms, perhaps, at home more often. Maybe they work part-time, maybe they’re full-time at home, we have more moms that are out. Presently right now 50% of our children in the United States are expected to live in a single parent home sometime before they reach age eighteen.
So when that happens, what goes on there? We have one parent who’s left, the other parent who’s trying to keep this family clothed and fed. So they end up going to work. And so generally we end up with children that are spending a lot of time unsupervised. And that’s not a good recipe either.
With our prior we had a phone that was sort of connected to the wall, or we had our little ones that we could carry around. But it was the home phone. So when it rang, even if your kid picked it up, you heard one side of the conversation. You knew who your child was talking to. We don’t know that anymore. They’re texting, their phones are quiet, they’re under their pillow at night. We don’t know. We have to really make a big effort to be involved in our children’s lives in order to help guide them, so they make good decisions.
Cynthia: Right, absolutely. Well, I have just been so blessed by this conversation and I know that this is information that people need for their own children. So where can we find you, Peggy Sue?
Peggy Sue: You can get ahold of me very easily and send questions or comments through my website,www.peggysuewells.com. Also, if you want to get The Slave Across The Street, you can find it on my website there, they’ll be able to hit the button and it’ll take you straight to Amazon to order it. Or just go straight to Amazon and the title that you’re looking for is called The Slave Across The Street. It will say Theresa Flores on the front of the cover, because it is her story. Peggy Sue Wells is the writer, I’m on the inside, because again, I wrote her story but it is Theresa’s story.
Theresa does speak occasionally. You’ll see there will be conventions and symposiums going on about trafficking. You’ll catch her speaking there. You’ll see her during the soaps. They put soaps with the hotline for trafficking, the sticker on it, and they’ll put that in hotels. They’ll go into hotels like during the Super Bowl and they’ll take posters in and say hey, we’re going to leave these posters for you. These are forgotten children, we’re sort of looking for these kids, and they’ll put the posters in there. A lot of the hotel people will say oh yeah, I know her, she’s in here all the time. And then they’re able to go oh, awesome, we found this girl, we’re able to rescue her.
Once you know Theresa’s name you’ll be able to occasionally spot her out there because she’s an advocate for being involved with stopping trafficking.
Cynthia: Well thank you for doing this, because this is something that’s needed. And I appreciate knowing more about it so that we can be aware. Blessings to you.
Peggy Sue: Thank you. Thank you so much, Cynthia.
Cynthia: Listeners, we would like to hear from you. Give us your feedback at cynthia@clsimmons.com
Slave Across the Street

Peggy Sue Wells

 Peggy Sue Wells
Communication, Divorce, Doing Family God's Way, Emotions, Family, Goals, Heart of the Matter, Hope, Love, Making choices, Marriage, Respect, Romance, Truth, Walking by Faith

Thriving Marriage: Greg and Julie Gorman

June 3, 2016
Two are Better Than One

Thriving Marriage: Greg and Julie Gorman

Greg and Julie Gorman believe your marriage can do more than survive; it can thrive. Let me explain with a story.

My grandmother lived about thirty miles from us, and at times, my mother would allow me to spend a week with my grandmother. It was an adventure,  particularly that she had cats, and they fascinated me.

Granny used to wash clothes using a wringer type washer. And that was terribly old-fashioned at that time, cause mom had a real washing machine. But a wringer washing machine would wash the clothes, but not rinse. So Granny would get these huge buckets of clear water, and put the soapy clothes in there. She’d run them through the ringer into the next bucket of clean water. While she was doing that, she would ‘allow’ me to wash the cats.

Now, if you know cats, they hate water. But Granny wasn’t bothered about that. She said you couldn’t ever drown a cat. Well, I heard that I was gonna try. Now I got all scratched up, but I wrestled one of Granny’s cats and until it gave up. Now I was kind enough that I didn’t go on to kill the kitty. But I had to prove granny wrong.
All that to say, God is very very creative. I would never have thought of all that. Really! God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways.”

I’m sure if it was up to me, I would not have made everyone in the church have a different spiritual gift.  I would have had everyone alike so they wouldn’t argue. But God made everyone different. Some are good at some things, while others excel elsewhere. That’s the way God made families too. Husbands and wives are different. Once I got married, my husband saw my emotions and said I wasn’t logical. I wanted to remind him I graduated with honors.

Today I have Greg and Julie Gorman. They have just written Two are Better than One, and I love their perspective on marriage. They teach God has a purpose for your Marriage. It can thrive!

Tweetables:

Learn more about Greg and Julie here.

Bible, Church, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Emotions, Forgiveness, Guilt, Heart of the Matter, Love, Making choices, Truth, Understand our culture, Walking by Faith, World

Stay in Touch with Our World

April 9, 2016
Understand our world

 

Stay in Touch with Our World

I once had a friend who came to Christ from a very secular lifestyle. The cute Bible covers prevalent at the time bothered her, and our lingo confused her. Those of us in the church have an entire vocabulary of Christianese, which can isolate us from unbelievers around us. For example, the word ‘saved’ has a particular meaning to us inside the church. Even the word ‘church’ has a unique definition because it refers to the people, not the building. Another example would be the ‘body of Christ.’ When we say that we are referring to believers as a whole particularly in view of spiritual gifts. A non-believer might think we are speaking of the physical body of Jesus. Even the various names we have for our Savior can be confusing. When I was a child, I assumed “Christ’ was his last name because I heard it combined with “Jesus’ so often.

Living in our Christian bubble feels comfortable, especially with the rapid changes around us. However, if we stay completely isolated, we won’t understand how others think. We won’t be able to share our hope with those who need Christ, and that is a huge part of our mission. In First Corinthians Paul said. “…I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some.”

 

The Bible teaches we are all sinners, and even the things we consider good is like filthy rags before the Lord. That means that unsaved people might make choices we don’t expect, and respond in ways we can’t understand.

Terri Blackstock is today’s guest. She has just written, If I Run, which is a novel about a complex character who grew up without Christianity.  Her goal was to remind us how someone outside our faith might face a difficult situation. Listen and enjoy.

Learn more about Terry Blackstock here.

Author

Terri Blackstock

 

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