Gabby*, a bubbly joy filled young woman, bounds into her seat across from me. Taking in the beaming smile of this 19 year old, as we introduce ourselves, I would have never ventured to guess that just 6 weeks earlier she stood at the end of her rope and in a desperate situation.
You see for 7 years Gabby* had found herself in and out of Foster Care, in and out of addiction and in and out of a destructive relationship. A relationship, which at its roots, was designed to set her on a course for abuse and exploitation resulting in manipulation sex for survival.
Six weeks ago Gabby* sat at a crossroads: stay in a relationship that planned bondage for her future, or, at the risk of her life, flee. This is when her path intersected with Safe Families and Jill and Jerry. Long time Missouri residents Jill and Jerry have always had a heart for stepping into the lives of the hurting and broken youth in their city. Now, with the support and training from Safe Families, they have been an answer of hope and restoration to Gabby* and others, who like Gabby* have found themselves in need.
“Safe Families has given me a place to feel safe and the reassurance that my voice matters,” said Gabby*. “I’m not the same person I was six weeks ago: God has set me free from addiction and fear and I know He is with me. Without Safe Families and Jill and Jerry I don’t know where I’d be!”
As you read this Gabby* will have already moved on from the Jill & Jerry’s home. She will have begun her new season, full of promise and hope. Gabby* will be attending college for a degree in Pastoral Care and has plans to help restore those who have been, like her, rescued out of sex trafficking. Our God has done a quick and mighty work: He has reached down His hand into this precious ones life and pulled her out of the muck and the mire and placed her on new course. Truly Safe Families, it’s support community, and Jill and Jerry, put into action “ …pure religion; that God, the Father, accepts as faultless…to look out for the orphans … in their distress…” (James 1:27) and in doing so, have changed Gabby’s* life forever!
*name changed for anonymity