Six years ago I ran 26.2 miles in Greece. It was 2 weeks before my 40th birthday, and though I didn't know it at the time, I was pregnant with our 8th baby.
How? And WHY?? About a dozen of us who were living in Naples, Italy, had made a commitment to train and run the marathon not only for the personal satisfaction of traveling along THE original marathon course but also to raise awareness for the issue of human trafficking. Our goal also included raising donations intended to go toward building a safe house for victims of human trafficking in the region.
Most people are now aware that sexual slavery is a global pandemic. It has been a "hot button" issue for quite some time now. But are people actively doing something about it?
When we lived in Italy during a military tour, I came face to face with a reality I couldn't ignore. Prostituted women lined the streets, having traveled (most often unwittingly) from Africa, eastern Europe, Slavic countries, and even Brazil. Italy, with all its glorious beauty, ancient history, and exquisite cuisine, is a top destination in the world for commercial sex trafficking. The burden on my heart grew daily, and I was grateful to meet others with the same concern and passion I had. I joined with a local ministry, Missione di Luce (Mission of Light), to serve the women on the streets, to show love and grace to them, to offer them prayers and hope.
The need was great, our efforts seemed small, and yet the ministry witnessed changed hearts and lives. More and more, anti-trafficking ministries and organizations have begun to network throughout Italy--indeed, all throughout Europe. My dear friend Joyce Zick, co-founder of Missione di Luce, now works with her husband in full-time mission work in a different Italian city, while continuing to be involved in Naples and other Italian locations, spreading awareness, educating in classrooms, and advocating for change on every level.
And now...IT'S TIME! There is an opportunity to purchase land WITH BUILDINGS ALREADY ON IT suitable for a safe house and recovery center! The roughly $10,000 our Athens marathon team raised back in 2014 has swelled to $50,000 with other contributions over the years. Now, we seek to raise AT LEAST another $50,000 so that Alba, the safe house ministry, can officially make a purchase offer and put a down payment of $100,000 on this property.
Will you help?
I'll be running a 10K the weekend of October 17-18 as many of us join for the 2020 RUN FOR RECOVERY. I would be grateful for any support/donations you would like to give in recognition of the worthiness of this cause!
To learn more about the ministry of Alba, their philosophy of safe house ministry and after-care for victims of sex trafficking, visit their web site here.
If you'd like to be a runner and raise funds...or if you'd like to donate to the cause, click the button for all the information you'll need!
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