With the help of a neighbor who heard her scream, Amanda Berry escaped after ten years of captivity. In the house, police found chains and ropes that bound Berry and two other victims. The three women had been missing for years, held hostage by three brothers who raped and beat them repeatedly throughout their capture. Berry escaped with a 6-year old daughter, fathered by one of the captors.
The media has used the term “kidnapping” when referencing the captivity. While that term is accurate, I feel like it does not adequately reflect what the women endured. They were sex slaves to sadistic men, in the U.S. Slavery. In our country. In the 21st century. It’s not okay. I’m thankful for the neighbor who was willing to get involved when he heard screams.
One of the three girls was removed from the FBI’s active missing persons case list long ago because authorities were unable to reach her family to determine whether or not she was still missing. Upon her release, she had nowhere to go so she’s living with the family of another captive. How does that happen?! How do families just give up on/not care about loved ones? How do so many end up so alone in this world?
I issued a challenge in my last post to help other girls who have been through similar horrors. I have been pleased with the response so far, but I feel like this is just the beginning. Already, I will have to have my picture made in an A&M shirt, write a story and run an errand. Earlier this week I learned that my friend Allyson is on a mission to make sure I get that tattoo, saying she’ll set up a lemonade stand to raise the $4500 if necessary. In her words, “It’s on like Donkey Kong.”
A quick FB update from my friend who runs Restore Her House:
When Jesus quoted Isaiah 61.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He was not talking about a Wednesday night covered dish prayer meeting. At Restore Her, our staff is on the streets sharing with these girls every week. Yesterday we met with a 16 year old girl taken at 9, was stripping in a club in Houston, and walking the “track” (that is standing on a street corner and selling herself to a grown man then giving the money to her pimp) at 13, left for dead at 16 already used up (she is one of 4 calls I received last week with similar stories). When I took this call in my car and heard she was being sold at 9 I looked in the rear view mirror at my own 8 year old daughter playing with a stuffed animal, and determined then and there to take this girl in even though we are full. That’s who Jesus meant when He said “proclaim freedom for the prisoners, set the oppressed free” or as Isaiah 61 goes on to say “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” You can spend your time posting negative comments about our government on Facebook all you want, but it is the FBI, the State Department, and the Department of Justice that we work with daily to rescue these girls, while churches are “praying” about it. I love Exodus 14; as the Egyptian army was bearing down on the Israelites trapped by the Red Sea behind them, Moses shouts out, “Do not be afraid, stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I love how God replies to this “spiritual” act; “why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”
Amanda Berry and the other girls who were in bondage for so long are reminders that the problem exists right here in the United States. Let’s do what we can to proclaim freedom to prisoners. Let’s live the gospel! It’s time for us to move on!