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Her Name. Her Identity.

“How do you feel about this?”

This is the question my wife and I have been asked numerous times over the last couple of months. Our oldest daughter graduated from high school, turned eighteen, and is now attending college pursuing her dream of being a performing musician. So to be honest, we feel excitement. Joy. Confident that our first born is ready for this next step.

Ever since our daughter was born to this young married couple that had no idea how to parent, we’ve dreamed about what she would do. She had so much promise and vigor for life and that has not changed in eighteen years. What a joy it has been to watch her grow into who God created her to be and what excitement we have to see her become even more over the next four years of university and beyond.

Her name is Chelsey. That name provokes amazing memories of years past and dreams of achievements to come.

When I started my ministry career eight years ago, my team worked with immigrants and refugees here in Houston. I quickly learned that our society has a tendency to label someone by what they are.

Homeless.

Refugee.

Prostitute.

I am no psychologist or sociologist, but I’ll offer a suggestion on why we do this. It allows us not to look at that human as a person which makes it easier for us to emotionally deal with their reality. When they have no name, they have no identity. There is no background and no future, they are simply their situation. When we stop looking at them, we no longer have to think about them.

But that person has a name. And with that name they have a history and they have a future. They have parents that had and still have hopes and dreams for them. The person themselves grew up with a desire to achieve and to be something. Anything. For a multitude of reasons they aren't where they dreamed they would be and instead they are now without an identity. So when we do not refer to that person by their name, or even try to learn what their name is, giving them a label instead, we rob them of their humanity. 

This is not right.

In many of our meetings at Rescue Houston, stories are told of the women who have exited from a life of sex trafficking and who are now going through our emergency assistance program. Right from the start, the phone call to our hotline, these women are referred to by name. This means that our focus as an organization is on restoring their identity and putting them back on the path to achieving their dreams. Dreams that they and their parents have had from the moment they were born. This fact makes me so proud to be a part of this team.

Steven.

Mohammad.

Jennifer.

Restoring their name restores their identity.