Launch of Rescue Denver
It was an afternoon in October 2018 when I received an email from Freedom Church Alliance making an introduction to Cherry Hills Community Church (CHCC) in Denver, Colorado. CHCC was on a mission to connect with anti-trafficking organizations operating in the niche lanes of rescue and emergency assessment. They had learned through first-hand experience during the summer of 2018 when a trafficking victim was brought to their church, that Denver did not have immediate response or beds for the trafficked population coming directly off the streets. This was the beginning of the Lord calling CHCC to join the fight against sex trafficking.
After a phone call of sharing with CHCC about our model and vision of expansion to other cities, we both started to believe this certainly may be a Divine connection. Throughout my seven years in ministry, I have learned when God is breathing on something, there is a flow and ease of the process, so not to my surprise or just coincidentally, weeks before I connected with CHCC I had booked travel to Denver to visit a friend over the Thanksgiving weekend. It quickly became clear that this trip was not only to visit a friend but had a Divine purpose.
The Monday after Thanksgiving weekend I met with the CHCC Missions Pastors and their anti-trafficking team. Immediately we discovered that the Lord was moving very similarly within both organizations - miracles were happening and the early signs of revival were breaking out - it was then that we knew God was up to something. After an overview of the Rescue America model, the Global missions pastor looked at me and said: “I have to leave the meeting early, but I want you to know we are 100% in, if we don’t do anything we will be in disobedience to the Lord, when can you come to Denver?” As those words hit my spirit, I looked up and asked: “Lord, when can I come to Denver?”
One of the first meetings I had when I arrived back in Houston, was with my Apostolic leader and governing board member, Becky Castle seeking her guidance and advice about me going to Denver. Simply stated, she said “YOU need to go and build it, you have a unique gift, and not all people build like you do”. Through that meeting, prayer and other avenues, God was clearly confirming I would be going to Denver.
In January 2019, three team members of CHCC came to Houston for a live experience and to deep dive into our operations. This trip only reconfirmed what we felt God was calling us to, and we agreed to the next steps of developing out a three-phase process for the launch of Rescue Denver which included the following:
- 60-day landscape analysis
- Finish the building of Rescue America infrastructure for nationwide expansion
- Launching Rescue Denver
Little did we know, the Lord was cooking up another piece of the puzzle for Denver, as in February 2019, Jill O’Brien, who is a governing board member for Rescue America, had a long-time friend, Debbie Perry-Smith, visiting Houston from Denver. Debbie was in town for a conference supporting Kingdom funders to seek and discover what specific non-profit cause they felt called to fund. Again not by coincidence, the Anti-trafficking movement was the number one area these women felt called to fund. Meeting Debbie on a Saturday night at Launch Houston was the start of Debbie going back to Denver, and cultivating strategic relationships with the National Christian Foundation, law enforcement, and other local anti-trafficking organizations. By the time I arrived in Denver in April 2019, my second meeting was with Debbie and the collaborators she had gathered around the table. Not only was Rescue Denver being birthed, but it was also the birthing season of Rescue America and S.A.F.E. Rockies.
During the next 60-days, it was clearly confirmed through research and assessment of the anti-trafficking landscape in Denver the greatest need at this point in time was rescue and emergency assessment - as Denver has ZERO beds or emergency assessment for adult trafficking victims coming directly out of the life. It had officially been confirmed in the natural what the Lord had shown a year before to CHCC...the Rescue America model was needed in Denver.
July through November 2019 was a “set your face like flint” season to build the infrastructure, raise the funding and hire the staff for expansion. Our staff expansion went from five full-time staff and two part-time staff to nine full-time staff and four part-time staff located in four different states. In December we brought all team members to Houston for a two-week training and preparation for 2020, it was incredible to see how the Lord called and positioned each staff member so strategically and how we were truly like family by the second day.
So it is official! The Rescue Denver 24/7 local hotline has launched and received the first hotline call on February 9th. Denver is setting record-breaking responses to volunteerism with over 90 attendees at our first volunteer training in February! We are praying and believing that we will soon have the funding and staff required to launch our Rescue America Emergency Assessment (RAEA) Program in Denver, in the meantime, we will be handling all Denver hotline calls with the same strategy as the 21% of out of state calls that came in in 2019.
As I write this blog and reflect on the last year it is quite astounding to step back and look at all the Lord has done through our team’s “yes” and commitment to building and expanding His solution to free those trapped in the bonds of sexual exploitation. It is clear that the Lord is raising up His army of advocates all over America. If you are feeling called to this cause at any level, Take our Hand, and together we will see captives set free across America.
His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it. - John 1:5 Living Bible