“The reason I am here is because I don’t want to have to rescue you.”
Tajuan McCarty stood in front of more than 100 teenage girls and their leaders in November, pulling no punches as she told her story. Speaking in short, unflinching sentences, she explained how she was pushed into prostitution at age 15, and trafficked into every state except Hawaii and Alaska over the next 11 years.
“I am a survivor of trafficking.”
McCarty is founder and director of The Wellhouse, a ministry that rescues women trapped in the same kind of life that once enslaved her. Headquartered in Birmingham, The Wellhouse is in a prime location to fight trafficking along I-20, known as the sex trafficking superhighway. She also helps raise awareness about the global problem that is deeply entrenched in the United States.
McCarty has been a Christian for four years, so her message begins with this: All women are beautiful, because they’re made in God’s image.
“If you walk away from here thinking prostitution is a choice and/or she’s doing it because she’s on drugs, I have not done my job,” McCarty told a captivated audience at AWSOM, an annual missions event for young women in Illinois. Drugs are only a symptom of the problem, she added.
“At The Wellhouse, what we try to do is reach the core of the problem. And yes, we introduce them to Jesus because that is the only way to heal people.”
New missions housing opens in Chicagoland
The new home of the Chicago Metro Baptist Association also has room for volunteers serving in the city. The Rockwell Street building’s 9,000 square feet on three floors have been remodeled into several large spaces for mission teams to stay, plus a chapel/meeting space, and in the basement a large dining hall and full commercial kitchen. And nine showers. At $15 per mission tripper per night, “it’s a clean, affordable, functional place,” said Jay Noh, “and I am prayerfully optimistic that many more churches will be able to bring groups to minister in the city.” Read more here, and check out page 6 of the newest Illinois Baptist for information about another mission housing opportunity in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield.
Rainer blogs 14 trends for 2014
LifeWay President Thom Rainer’s predictions for 2014 include more megachurches, downsized denominations, smaller worship centers and a stronger focus on small groups. Read more of his 14 predictions for churches at ThomRainer.com. (Note: Predictions are split into two posts.)
Creation Museum president vs. Science Guy in evolution debate
The president of a museum dedicated to creationism will soon debate Bill “the Science Guy” Nye on evolution. Ken Ham, president of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., and Nye will engage in a sold-out public debate at the museum on Feb. 4. “It is an important debate to have as we deal with the question, ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?'” Ham posted on his blog.
Nye, host of TV’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the mid-1990s, made headlines last year with a YouTube video calling creationism inappropriate for kids. A recent study by Pew Research found 60% of Americans believe in evolution. Read more about the survey here, and go to anwersingenesis.org for more about the debate, which also will be live streamed.
Most popular Scripture passages of 2013
According to analysis shared on ChristianityToday.com, Philippians 4:13 was the most popular verse on the YouVersion Bible app last year, followed by Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 6:13, Joshua 1:9, and Philippians 4:6. Read YouVersion’s top 10 shared verses of 2013 at ChristianityToday.com.