Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Amazon does what?!

I recently discovered something awesome when I was looking for a Father's Day present for my Dad. I discovered that Amazon, the online supermarket, has a way to donate to your favorite charitable organization. The best part is, Rapha House is one of the organizations that they donate to simply by you shopping!

Say what?!

That's right people! You can donate funds to Rapha House just by shopping online. For every dollar you spend, Amazon donates .5% to the charitable organization of your choice. Sometimes there are specials where they will donate additional funds, just for fun. You just have to keep your eyes out for them!

How do I do it?

If you are familiar with Amazon and use them to shop online, then you already know how to do it! The only difference is that you need to go to a different location on Amazon, specifically www.smile.amazon.com and you can acces the store. The store is exactly the same as the regular store, only now you can help rescue children out of sex slavery with your online purchase. It is a win-win! You can find more about this program HERE.

Now what are you waiting for? Go shop with purpose!

 

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The End is Near!

11 Months
Today marks the official 11 months of beard growth.  As you can see in the picture this beard has taken on a life of it's own!  Now, if I could somehow figure out how to transplant my beard hair to my bald head...

Finishing Strong

My momma once told me, "If you are going to start something, then you better be ready to finish it."  She is a very wise woman!  I didn't grow this beard just for the kicks of it, I want to use it to raise awareness about the reality of child sex slavery.  So here are 3 ways I plan on finishing strong.

First of all...

I'm taking the Finding Home film and showing it in two different cities: Kenai, Alaska and Homer, Alaska.  I'm going to challenge the people of these communities to set any differences they may have aside and unite to save children from brothels.  I can't wait to share what Rapha House has been doing and will continue to do.

Secondly...

I have invited Destiny Rescue to be a part of our summer camp program.  They will be sharing with the youth of Alaska about the importance of standing up for the victims of child sex slavery.  I'm praying that some of the youth will be inspired to make it their life calling to be abolitionists for the long haul.

Finally...

I am going to compile all my photos into a video!  This video will not only show the amazing growth of hair on my face for a year, but it will also include stats, quotes, and ways to stand up against slavery.

But That's Not All...

The facial hair might go away, but the mission will continue on!  The Slave Beard Movement isn't just a one time thing.  It is here to stay!  I have some big dreams with ideas that are so large that only God can make them happen.  But that discussion is for another time.  
Thank YOU for your support and encouragement!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Women Want

I was wondering recently how I could raise awareness about child sex slavery quickly in my surrounding area...then the opportunity fell into my lap! What Women Want Expo was hosting an event and non-profits were able to have a booth for free! So myself, my bro-in-law Dave, and my sis-in-law Leslie set up a Rapha House booth and sold merchandise that was made by survivors of child sex slavery.

The Word Got Out

Every person that passed by our booth was handed at flyer about Rapha House as well as given a quick lesson about how the products were made by survivors of child sex slavery. It was great to see the many different reactions on people's faces when we educated them about the reality of modern day human trafficking. Some looked like they ran into an invisible brick wall, some looked scared to learn more, but most were filled with compassion as they considered how such an evil thing could exist today.

There Were Tears Flowing

When one lady purchased a beautiful purse and we showed her how the survivor that had made that particular one signed her name to the tag on the inside, she was speechless and walked away crying. I know that feeling...anger...hurt...compassion...and hope all mixed into one. Soon people from all over the event were seeking our booth out because previous customers were spreading the word about Rapha House and the hope found in every bag and accessory that we were selling.

$1,200 Later...

According to the organizer of the event, Lupine Orlob, it was the least attended event in the three years since she started the expo. Yet, at the end of the day hundreds of people knew more about the Rapha House girls and the customers bought $1,200 in merchandise. I count that as a HUGE success! And now I know what women want...

 

To free child slaves and see that they have a better life in this world!

 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Are You a Superhero?

Future Superheros
I was driving down the road the other day with my two boys in the back of the car.  I reached up to put on my new tinted aviators due to the glaring sunshine facing me.  Then a voice came from the back seat, "Dad, you look just like Slave Beard with those glasses on."  I turned back and responded, "Jack, I am Slave Beard."

"YOU ARE?!?!"

The look of surprise and delight on Jack's face was priceless.  His mouth was wide open and yet he was still smiling, speechless.  "Yeah, buddy.  I'm Slave Beard," I said to him.  Just the day before I had given he and Bowe their own Slave Beard t-shirts which they wore all day and all night to sleep in.  Jack would press the logo on his shirt while powering up something very imaginative in his mind...as if the "button" enabled his super powers.

"How Do You Fight the Bad Guys?!"

Jack asked still staring at me as if I hung the moon.  In his world, he just discovered the secret identity of his favorite superhero, and it was his dad.  "I help other people learn about kids like you who are stuck in slavery.  Then we use our resources to free them and put the bad guys in jail," I explained to Jack.  "But how do you get them?" he asked.  "Well buddy, I don't punch them with my hands or use my feet," I continued.

"I Know, You Use You Beard!"

I laughed as I imagined that Jack truly thought I have some superpower that manifested itself in my beard to put the bad guys away.  "Actually, I just pray for the children to be saved since the Bible tells us to stand up for children who need our help.  Then I show people how to get involved with the real superheroes like Destiny Rescue and Rapha House."  Jack sat back in his car seat just amazed that his dad is a superhero.  Really I'm just a man with a passion to end child sex slavery, but already I can see how my passion is igniting the next generation to be the real superheroes.  

Until they pick up the torch, ask yourself this question, "Are you a superhero?"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Karlene's Role: Our Role

She's Got My Back

I would not be telling the whole truth about the Slave Beard idea if I didn't address my beautiful wife's involvement in it. Actually, it was her idea for me to grow my beard out to do a Duck Dynasty theme for Trunk-or-Treat at our church. At the same time I had been considering how I could get more involved with fighting child sex slavery. I knew I wanted to do something creative that would catch people's attention while educating them about human trafficking. Karlene's suggestion combined with my desire gave birth to Slave Beard. Growing your beard for an entire year (when that's not normal for you) is not something you want to take on without 100% support from your wife. She has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this experience. Sure we have sacrificed comfortable kisses (which is a HUGE reason I look forward to it's completion), but I know Karlene has my back!

Going Alone is Difficult

I can't imagine doing this without Karlene's support, or even worse against her will. There have been times where I considered shaving along the way, but she encouraged me to stay the course. Doing something different with a heavy cause like child sex slavery can be difficult. I can only imagine how hard it must be at times to be on staff with Destiny Rescue or Rapha House. Encountering the things they do on a daily basis is enough to wear anyone down. This is why those of us on this side must make sure they they know we have their backs, and that we are their biggest cheerleaders.

Do Something Today

Now that you are aware of what an important role you can play in the lives of those fighting child sex slavery, let me challenge you to do something today. Be specific, and go BIG. It could be you make a one time donation to them, or even better commit to giving monthly for a minimum one year. How about dropping them an encouraging email and tell them how much you appreciate what they are doing to make a difference in the world? Or imagine this, pick up the phone and call them directly while giving them audible words of encouragement and praise. I promise that if you do any or all of these suggestions, YOU will help ensure that the fight against child sex slavery continues. Who knows, you might just find a new passion in life to be a Barnabas to those who I call my heroes.

 

Just don't forget to tell them Slave Beard sent you!

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Real Business Opportunities

SoapStonz
The Slave Beard Movement is in its 8th month and still going strong.  T-shirts are on order, my beard is out of control, and more people are being educated about the reality of child sex slavery.  Many people that I encounter with this message often ask me what they can do to help fight this monster.  Some feel as if they need to move overseas and start a new ministry, others feel as if the subject matter is so overwhelming that they feel helpless .  I try to steer people into immediate action by getting involved on a level that is normal for their current lifestyle. Often I suggest fighting back by making real business opportunities!

What Business are You in?

Do you own a business, or have you considered starting one?  Do you have influence in the marketplace in which you work?  Do you have a desire to see child sex slavery end?  Then consider how your business or the business you work for can make an impact to abolish child sex slavery.  Designate an item that you sell to give all or a portion of the profits to a group who is combating child sex slavery.  Set up a display in your store that highlights groups like Rapha House and Destiny Rescue and their effectiveness at restoring children who have been rescued.  Have an "awareness" day at your work and donate a portion of the proceeds purchased that day to help rescue child sex slaves.  

Be like SoapStonz

SoapStonz is an independent company owned by Dave and Joyce Tugan that makes excellent soap from essential oils as well as other products.  A few months ago I approached SoapStonz about creating a soap that would bring awareness to child sex slavery.  Since then they have consented and now will be creating a soap called "Flowers of Innocence."  This soap will be marketed to raise awareness of child sex slavery AND financially support Rapha House.  All proceeds from purchasing that particular soap will be donated directly to Rapha House, and the recipient will receive a brochure about Rapha House and their great ministry.  I'm excited to encourage more businesses to help do their part to bring child sex slavery to an end. Be sure to support companies who make such efforts their priority!  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lift Them Up!

I recently had the great pleasure of going on a family trip to Homer, AK. It was a much needed break from the norm and provided me with the opportunity to focus a lot of my attention on my two boys. We spent so much time walking up and down the beach, playing at the local park, and enjoying the outdoors. A pattern developed that I enjoyed greatly while we were there, my boys kept wanting me to lift them up onto my shoulders while we walked. I'm sure that up there they felt safe, free, and taller than the world. This is exactly what we need to do for the children who have been rescued from sex slavery, we need to lift them up.

Lift Them Up in Prayer

Lifting others up in prayer is essential in our walk with God. It takes the focus off ourselves and places others' needs before ours. It is even more crucial for these children who have been rescued. Their lives have literally been destroyed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The kind of intervention they need is supernatural. Through prayer, the lives of these children can begin to heal so that they can develop trust and be restored.

 

Lift Them Up in Support

There are various ways to help rescued children financially. You can sponsor children who have been rescued, sponsor children who are in preventative care groups, or sponsor a rescue mission to save another child out of sex slavery. I have a friend who once said, "Ministries cannot survive without someone to financially back them." There is much truth in his words, so consider how you can make a sacrifice in your life so that others can be lifted up in support. For many of us, it is as simple as skipping dining out one night a month and giving those funds to a ministry like Destiny Rescue, Rapha House, or Operation Underground Railroad.

 

Lift Them Up in Person

Both Rapha House and Destiny Rescue have short term mission trips where you can go and experience the work they are doing first hand. Not only will you get to see their facilities, but you play a part in the restoration process of the children as you interact with them personally. These children are in great need of knowing what true love looks like and to see people who will treat them as precious children instead of objects. Consider making a short term trip a priority in your near future so that you can lift one of these children on your own shoulders as you help them feel safe, free, and taller than the world!