As someone following the ever expanding anti-human trafficking /slavery work in Tennessee, accomplished in the past year under the name Not For Sale, I want to share with you exciting new developments:
- I have been asked to share the vision and what I've learned in Tennessee in an effort to mobilize 1,200 workers in over 60 nations to fight slavery and aid victims.
- Our Tennessee work continues with the existing team of volunteers, no longer under the national Not For Sale Campaign, but as End Slavery TN - with International Teams.
I began our Tennessee work in late 2008 and soon found dozens of volunteers standing with me to expose the growth of slavery in our state, warn the vulnerable, educate the influential and aid former victims. Their efforts have touched thousands, and our enthused army of volunteers will move the work forward. However, we have concluded that the national Not For Sale Campaign organization is no longer the best cover for this local, grassroots work.
Maintaining Momentum in Tennessee
We will move forward with the work in Tennessee under the name End Slavery in Tennessee. While continuing to reach out to a wide range of participants, as Christians we believe recovering victims can only be wholly restored through the transforming touch of God and that our work is in vain without His empowering grace; this belief will be reflected in our work. We will work under the covering of International Teams, under which our work will also expand. More about that...
Reaching Across All Borders
From 1987 to 1994, Bill and I served overseas with International Teams (ITeams), a Christian mission bringing people together to help the oppressed: The poor, the slave and the blind. We recently spoke with Scott Olson, president and CEO of the U.S. office. Scott wants to train and mobilize ITeams workers to seek out current and former slaves in need of healing and vulnerable people who are especially at-risk of enslavement. He wants ITeams workers, worldwide, to set the captives free - physically, emotionally and spiritually, with a long term commitment to deep, effective initiatives.
Scott asked me to help in efforts to train, equip and mobilize these 1,200 workers around the globe (and urban U.S.) who already have daily contact with vulnerable people, where human traffickers prey. Just as with the local work, I'll serve as an unpaid volunteer. While I continue to work (alongside Bill) from our Tennessee home, some travel is required. Already, we plan to meet in May with a gathering of ITeams leaders in Turkey.
How To Stay Involved
For those who are already involved, just keep doing what you are doing! Volunteer groups continue to meet in Nashville and Franklin. I'll continue to provide support and resources to groups in Memphis and Knoxville.
You can help pay the expenses of the Tennessee work by sending a tax-deductible gift to International Teams, 411 W. River Road, Elgin, IL 60123 or on-line , putting"for Derri Smith's work account" in the memo line or "designated for" field. This account will also pay travel and operational expenses in support of the international work. If you wish to specify your donation as "local" or "international," just indicate this. We'll make sure your funds are spent according to your wishes.
But this message is not about giving money as much as it is about continuing involvement to set captives free. Thank-you for reading our blogs, educating yourself and participating in our common cause. I welcome your comments, your questions and your prayers. Grateful,