Shared Space: Elizabeth Hunnicutt

elizabeth

I’m excited again to share a friend with you!

A few years ago I was visiting a church where several friends attend and lead in Walnut Creek, CA, Open Door. (Open Door is a community of sojourners walking in the Way of Jesus for the good of the world. I am always so encouraged when I get to gather together with these friends.) I was prepared to enter into a time of musical worship, when a new lead worshipper took her place. She led with intension, purpose and wisdom. Each song spoke hope, healing, wisdom and identity over the people gathered. Each song magnified and gave glory to God. I was moved in a way that I’d not experienced for quite some time.

After the service ended I went up and introduced myself. Something in me knew our stories were to be connected in some way. Elizabeth, as I came to know, and I headed out for coffee that following week. We instantly connected over our love for people, music, and our desire for others to know and be encouraged by Jesus. She is a deep soul, who’s love for Jesus oozes through her. She has a unique gifting, very pastoral and prophetic as she leads.

Since our first meeting Elizabeth and I have ended up leading retreats together or she had led worship in services where I’ve been speaking. Every time I am moved by her leadership and wisdom.

Her music is pastoral, prophetic and addresses with honesty a longing for God and a longing for justice. As you walk through deserts, valleys, or venture to mountain tops, Elizabeth’s music would be a good companion. Her latest album speaks raw truth as she enters into the pain and longings experienced in life. She painfully sings the story of young children trapped in the slave trade. Her lyrics speak prophetically as God strengthens us in our times of trial. Not only does she sing with conviction, her life mirrors what she sings. Elizabeth is involved in giving time to issues about which she is passionate!

Today I encourage you to check her out. Her latest album, Undone, is available for only $5. You can check it out here! Take some time to leave a comment to encourage her. Leave a comment to share a prayer for her. Take some time to speak life into one, who uses her life to speak into the lives of others!

Shared Space: Invisible Children

invisible_children_logoSeveral years ago I was handed a DVD and told to watch it. Having been told it would change my life and it would be very hard to watch, what did I do? I put it in my room and I watched the DVD cover. I never actually put the DVD in the player and watched it. The picture on the front cover told the story and I was not ready to watch young children who had their childhood’s stolen from them and guns placed in their hands and used as killers in a long standing war in Uganda (at the time).

I gave the film to a friend to watch. I began to hear rumblings from former students, now in college, of the atrocities of child soldiers. My heart broke and my interest grew. The story of these children was heart breaking to hear about and I was drawn to respond in some way. Not knowing what to do, I simply shared the film (which I had not watched), directed people to the articles I had read on line, collected information and gave it away when warranted.

I eventually met a young woman who had traveled with the organization who made the film I had been given those years earlier, Invisible Children.  She told me her story and experience with them. Through her, I met several other young, passionate, men and women who had given months, a year and some many years to the cause of raising awareness of the plight of child soldiers throughout parts of Africa.

Up until this time of my life I hadn’t really given much thought to activism as a whole. I knew of people who would get upset about something and picket stores, offices and government buildings. I had been approached by individuals raising awareness of the plight of baby seals being uselessly slaughtered for their coats. I had seen scenes in movies where characters rallied against wars and for equality. But my life had yet to intersect with someone who cared so deeply about an issue, an injustice, that they wanted to give their life to simply raise the awareness of an atrocity of which most people were ignorant. Now, my life was connected  with someone who profoundly cared about people they had not met, in a country they had not been and for an issue that had not affected them personally. Their passion inspired me. Their love compelled me. Their tenacity encouraged me. And their fortitude left me awe struck.

Since engaging in relationship with several who have given time and in some cases lives to the work of Invisible Children I have been continually drawn to the perseverance and singular call of this organization. And over the years, the atrocity of children being soldiers is no longer invisible to many.

Yes, advocacy has it’s place. It is one part of a much needed rescue effort. It is not the whole. But through the work of Invisible Children I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of students inspired to engage the world. I have seen people wrestle with injustice. I have witnessed hearts aching, not for their own selves, but over the situations of the hurting in the world, this inspires me.  Individuals around the globe have been compelled to act, to respond with their voices, to play their part… even when people have not agreed with IC’s strategy, Invisible Children’s story and work has arguably pushed people out of complacency into action.

This is why I am sharing my space with Invisible Children today. Take some time to peruse their website, watch their videos, listen to stories and see what resonates with you. Then take some time and share how Invisible Children has inspired you or how you’ve been compelled to act in response to their efforts or even because you disagree with their efforts. Perhaps take time to write a prayer for IC in the comment section. Share this blog with others you know or take some time and think about how you are giving your life to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.

Shared Space: The Sold Project

solddesktop800x600I’m starting something new, Shared Space.  One day a week I am going to give my blog space to share about a person, cause, book or project. I am so excited to introduce you to friends I love, issues I care about, ideas with which I resonate, and projects that I believe in.

Rachel and I sat down for a glass of wine and started swapping stories. She and I had met at an event earlier that year and had wanted to connect since. As she shared her story and the story of her work with a small group of us I was immediately drawn to her heart for others and passion for justice.  She and a friend found and run an NGO called The Sold Project, based in Thailand. Their work is astounding.

Below is a bit of their story in their own words: http://www.thesoldproject.org

How it all Began

In the summer of 2007, a group of 20-somethings journeyed through Thailand with a common mission: to expose the plight of children trapped by prostitution. Previous research brought forth a host of statistics and facts, which demanded further investigation; they needed faces, names, stories, and most of all… answers.

In February 2008 The SOLD Project Rough Cut was screened to friends and family and many people began asking what they could do to help. In response to this question we created the non-profit, The SOLD Project, giving every day Americans an effective way to respond to the situation: prevention.

A second trip in June 2008 completed the footage necessary to create the documentary “The SOLD Project: Thailand” a collection of short films that expose the truth behind child prostitution in Thailand and the hope that exists in prevention.

The film was then screened in 25 different cities in America through The SOLD Project Tour, and countless other cities as individuals purchased the film and hosted screenings in their homes, schools and faith communities.

Who We Are

We are people passionate about preventing child prostitution: our goal is that no child ever be exposed to a life of exploitation. The SOLD Project Scholarship Fund was founded in May 2008 when we learned that many children drop out of school due to poverty and end up in situations of exploitation. We began offering educational scholarships to children at risk of exploitation: partnering up a student with a sponsor [you!].

A year later our scholarship program grew into the more holistic, The FREEDOM Project. The FREEDOM Project is made up of 1) Scholarships 2) Mentorship for every child that is sponsored 3) A resource center for the community and 4) Human Trafficking Awareness Programs at the school starting in every 6-grade classroom to teach the children about the realities of human trafficking and prostitution.

The Sold Project’s Mission is to prevent child prostitution through culturally relevant programs for vulnerable children and to share their stories to empower creative, compassionate people to act.

Rachel and I have connected as women who are passionate, women who are creative, women who love the way of Jesus, women who have a desire to see justice and love given to all. Our friendship has grown as we’ve listened, cried, celebrated and experienced life. Take some time to read their story, check out their work and pray for those at risk and those who are now trapped in the horrific underground world of sex slavery.

Also, take some time to pray for Rachel and her work. You can follow her on Twitter at @raegoble Or Take a moment right now to leave a comment of encouragement or prayers for their work! Let’s share some heart space with Rachel and the life changing work of The Sold Project!