Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reflections on three young neighbor girls...

I moved into the south end 8 years ago, to learn and try to help end human trafficking. I knew i had a lot to learn, I knew it was about life and community, I knew my neighborhood mattered, but i wonder, did I really love my neighbors, especially the little ones?
I moved into a row house built in the 1860s right up against a relatively new development of affordable housing called the Villa Victoria. There were kids in lots of houses, young boys and girls, but tonight the lives of three young girls are on my mind.
One of these grew up across the plaza, basically raised by her great-grandmother (yes, that's right). She came to church growing up, I have known her since she was about 7? And now she is a lovely young lady in high school... what will her story be? She hasn't been coming to church for a while now, last i heard her grades were good and she was winning awards and playing sports, but high school can throw you for a loop, especially when you are a young woman of color in a Boston Public High School.
What will her story be?  All this time I have been working to try to better understand human trafficking, work to change laws, to impact the community, to make a difference... have i made a difference in her life? Is she "Safe" from trafficking? Have I even talked to her about it, really? What's hurting? How is she doing?
I saw her today, walking with a friend. She said hi, but didn't really want to talk. Was she being shy or...? I wonder, and I pray that she is doing ok. I pray that she is pursuing her dreams and aspirations, holding her head high and demanding respect, and not getting pulled down by those who would see her fail, who would want to use her for their own twisted games and pleasures.
I saw another young lady this evening, and I hardly recognized her, until she waved at me with the shy smile she has always had. I first met her 8 years ago when she was probably about 5 or 6, running around the parking lot with the other kids, playing baseball and basketball with the broken hoop, we would draw with chalk and talk about life, but she was always very shy and wouldn't say too much, and now she is 13 or 14 -growing up so fast. I haven't seen her around as much the last year or two. As I was leaving EGC tonight, unlocking my bike, she walked by towards the house where she grew up and waved and exchanged a quick hello.
I wonder how she is doing. Is she safe? Does she know how beautiful and amazing she is? Does she have anyone in her life cheering her on?
Another beautiful young lady who grew up just a block away, is now missing - she has been missing for over a month. I met her when she was 14 and was just starting to run away and skip school. She is beautiful, kind, gentle, a great writer, and a deep thinker, and yet her past is painful, and her anger and trauma and friend group influence and her dad's history and current life and connections with exploitation drew her in, despite all her amazing, loving, desperate mom and the leaky lifeboat of DCF tried to do. She went silent.
Could i have helped? Could i have done more? What did she need at 14, 15, 16 to change this path?! So many different people tried to intervene, her mom most of all, and yet now, we don't know, but she might be in the same situation her mom was once in. My heart breaks to think of it, and yet I also find myself tuning it out, because i don't know what to do to help. What could i have done? Anything? What can i do now?
All three of these young girls grew up within a few blocks from my house. Perhaps others just like them are a few blocks from yours. How do we create spaces to be present with the young people in our lives, to ask good questions, to be safe, to be trustworthy, to let them know we believe in them and that they matter.
Time to get out and play! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

For the Interim Time

by John O'Donohue

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

"The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born."

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

from: "To Bless the Space Between Us" by John O'Donohue. Pub in 2008 by Doubleday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Season of Transitions

Dear Friend, 

Transitions are hard. They are beautiful they are painful they are like feeling the growth happen right here and now, watching the world turn, noticing. Life never really stays the same, but in times of big transitions, everything feels like its tipping sideways and what was home and comfort and knowing is slipping away... 
I am finding my self now surrounded in this new season of transition. Here it is. What will the new adventure bring? what do i want to be sure not to loose in the changing? 
Here is a letter i wrote to my financial supporters, who have walked with me over many years, partnering with me in creating and growing the Abolitionist Network. It is a bitter sweet moment to push send. 
thank you for reading, for praying, and for considering giving to support this new chapter (including a new blog on the way): 


Dear ......, 
Thank you so very much for your financial support and prayers over the years for me and the work of the Abolitionist Network - training and connecting churches and ministries in the Greater Boston area to better understand and work together to abolish the systems of human trafficking! We wouldn't be where we are today without you! 

I have been counting up some numbers, and realized that since 2010, when there were no Christian ministries in Greater Boston focused on human trafficking specifically, and the Church was barely aware of it, now today there are 18 ministries (including 3 Christian-based safe houses open) and over 30 churches engaged in the Network! God has clearly been at work! Here is a quote from one of the pastor of a network member church: 
"Our church’s vision is to “live like Jesus.” As a pastor, I deeply appreciate how the Abolitionist Network has helped our church practically live out our mission. I look forward to a continued partnership and the ability to learn from the resources and relationships with which the Abolitionist Network provides City Church" 
-Pastor David Hill

I am also super excited about this video that I helped produce this spring, along with Vision New England and EGC Films: The Voices of Human trafficking 2017
To me this project is really a testimony to God's faithfulness in calling His people to bring His light of freedom into the darkness of exploitation and trafficking! And again this would not have been possible without your support over the years. 

So here is the Big News: In the midst of this season of growth and exciting opportunities, God is calling me and my husband Jared out of Boston into a new season of ministry! 
We are excited to pursue this new calling and will be moving out of Boston in early July. The vision is to be a part of a Christian community living sustainably (permaculture gardens and food forests and creative ways to make electricity), taking care of God's creation, and creating a place of hospitality and restoration for people on their journeys of recovery and healing. Perhaps from addictions, or abusive relationships, or even burn out from ministry. We aren't sure where this community will be - if it already exists for us to join, or if we will be starting something new eventually - so we are going to travel for the next year, exploring what is already going on, and discerning where God is calling us to plug in. 

You may be asking, What about the Abolitionist Network and all that is happening in Boston?! Yes, this is a big change! I am working with EGC's leadership to identify a new director for the network, someone who can come in and lead this network of amazing abolitionists on to new levels interrupting the systems of human trafficking! The network is providing input and support during this transition, and the leadership of EGC is fully supportive, helping this transition be successful. 

So what does this mean for you and your support as a donor? 
We joyfully trust God to provide for both the Abolitionist Network and our new adventure, and invite you to discern what God might be calling you to support. 
  • If you are interested in continuing to support me and Jared that would be awesome! Starting in July you can transfer your donations over to our account at Christ Church San Francisco (where Jared went to church while he lived in SF, where I met him). They will be overseeing our ministry during this next year. 
  • f you would like to continue supporting the Abolitionist Network and the new director who will be coming in that would be amazing! Please let me know and I can follow up with next steps.
And whether you want to keep donating to us in our travels, continue supporting the Abolitionist Network, or pause your donations at this time, would you please consider giving a generous one-time gift to help make this transition and set up the Abolitionist Network for a successful new season?  We have a very special fundraiser/ celebration/ going away party coming up June 22nd and your one-time gift would give us a great head start on our goal of $20K!  To give, please go to and write in AbNet Fundraiser in the “For” box.

Please join us at 6:30PM on June 22nd at River of Life Church in Jamaica Plain for this special celebration! You’ve been such a critical part of this wonderful journey -- it would be awesome to have you there for all that God has done and what else he will do! 

Thank you again for your generous support! 

Many blessings 

Friday, July 17, 2015

fires of racism, burning churches


Religious oppression? 

Hate crimes? 


A few weeks back everyone was talking about this. the shootings in Charleston, the burning of churches... now things have shifted to the confederate flag, and the shooting in TN, and many other sad happenings in our nation and world. 
But, back a few weeks ago as I was processing all i was hearing and reading, I saw a meme, that spoke to the riots in Ferguson, showing a picture of a looted CVS noting all of the weeks of media attention, and then a picture of one of the burned churches saying "silence".

The point of the meme was that no one is caring that "Christians are being persecuted"... but, I honestly do not believe that is what is happening. The shooting in Charleston, and the burning of churches that followed are acts of violent, hate filled, oppressive racism.
This got me thinking...

CVS destroyed and protests in the streets was against "us"... 
("Us" being the majority culture, white culture) 
The destroying of the black churches is uniquely solely against "them"... 
("Them" being non-white, minority culture)

There is nothing as completely identified with the African American community, identity, strength and unity under oppression, as the black churches. It is far more than a place of religious identity and practice. 
Burning these African American churches burns what these structures have stood for, as a place of gathering and safety for their community from the world around them that sadly is still so hostile. During the days of legalized slavery these meetings to worship were hidden and secret. No, not because the slave owners didn't want them to worship Jesus... The slave owners more often than not called themselves "Christians" and went to church, white church... it was because this gathering to worship and pray was also an act of unity in identity and culture and remembering history that was threatening to the white slave owners. The African American church today still holds depth of cultural identity. I write these thoughts as a white women, and here is a quote sharing similar thoughts from  NAACP President Cornell William Brooks:
"The NAACP’s Brooks noted that for centuries, black churches have served as the “epicenter of survival for many in the African-American community,” which has historically made them a target of violence. “We will use every tool in our advocacy arsenal to preserve these beloved institutions.”
Muse also noted that black churches have been a very important part of black history, including their vital role as the epicenter of the civil rights movement. “They’re a place where people go to worship, do community service, care for the sick and weary,” he said. “It’s more than a house of worship to the black community. It’s a cultural and social institution and we take [things like this] very personally.” Why we should pay attention to the 7 Black Churches that have burned
Perhaps this is hard to believe, perhaps if you are majority culture like me, you want to believe this is all in the past and now we value eachother equally, but sadly the hostility and prejudice has not gone away. 

There still remains the sinful destructive belief in our culture that one person or group of people is better than, more deserving than, valued higher than, another.  
No, not everyone intentionally believes this or acts on this belief. There are varying skin tones in all economic spheres, but it's not hard to tell when you look at a few statistics, that the disparity and inequality still exists.
Many have rightly warned, "just because we have a president with darker skin tones, doesn't mean we have solved racism and that it is now just a problem of the past"
This is all too apparent today.
No, we have not solved the inequality. We have not solved the fear, the entitlement, the anger, the prejudice (pre-judgement) due to a person's skin tone or, even more subtle but true, their economic status.
There is a deep sadness felt across our nation by our African American brothers and sisters. I don't wonder many are angry. I am actually amazed at the overwhelming response from the African American community of forgiveness, and "non-violent" determination to rebuild, heal, and move forward together. My heart is grieved. 
brothers and sisters, let us not just move on to the next sad news story. Let us honestly come together in prayer and repentance for all the sin and brokenness in our own hearts, and in our communities. Let us work towards healing and restoration. 
This is not easy. but we must not keep silent. 
Prayer vigil at the Cambridge City Hall on friday after the shootings in Charleston SC

Chalk art creations with neighbors and random strangers on my street soon after the shootings. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

End of day

And the world turns 
And the world turns 
Oh so slow and steady. 
Firey red and gold flare across the sky
Pink blushing clouds
Ridges of red and orange 
Silloetts of leafless trees in the foreground waiting to burst into spring
Arms up in praise. 
Then all fades. 
Slipping into grey and white 
Then dusk 
And quietly all goes dark into night
But... Just as the last streaks of hopeful golden light lose their grip on the horizon
A bright point of light,
Then another 
Pierce the cloudy grey
And take their post in the twilight.
No, hope has not lost.
The stars stand guard throughout the night 
Until the first shy streaks of dawn's waking 
Peer over the eastern hills. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015



Of who i am
Who you expect me to be
accept me to be
What lines and boxes, Ts and Is
must i cross and dot, or not
Fit in, conform to...
Who do you want me to be? because I am me.
This package is unique and maybe not entirely pleasing...
This personality has its quirks and beauty
This past has its broken places in process,
Can you accept me?
Welcome me and all of who I am?
Include and embrace with love and grace
and I will do the same to you.
We are on a journey,
changing and growing.
We cannot conform,
we must let the creator create
In my embrace of you, i heal a little bit more,
and in your embrace of me you heal as well.
May our lives reflect our creator's love for us.

"For while we were yet sinners, Christ laid down his life for us" (Romans 5:8)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pursue Humility

"Are you wiling to pursue a life that "acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God" (micah 6:8)? How is your pride to be broken, and replaced instead with humility today?" - Wellspring, by Steve Macchia

The breaking hurts.
Pride in accomplishing good
in helping people
still is PRIDE.
Pause. Breath.
"Oh weary one.
Come back to me - pick up my yoke and come with me again.
What you thought was the way is your idea of good - I know even more abundant goodness...
will you join me in bringing it to pass?
I will give you rest.
Restoration. New life.
Pause. Breath.
Come with me - gently, humbly, I will lead this time.
It will be very good."

(inspired from Matthew 11:29-30)