Thailand+Anti-trafficking+Fashion + NYC= God

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I would have never thought that a divine connection I made in Thailand, two years ago, would have such an impact on my life in NYC today.

When I came back to NYC, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d be doing here. I just knew I wanted to continue to do work in the field of anti-trafficking, and I most definitely did not want to do it alone.

I was introduced to Elegantees, in February of this year, by a friend that I went to church with years ago. His wife, Katie, was putting together a fashion show on the upper west side, and he was wondering if I could help out, but I was in Florida at the time. So I told him I couldn’t.

But after I said “no” I felt it was the wrong decision, and so I contacted him a couple days later and asked him if they still needed help. He said they did, so I booked my ticket and flew back to NYC to help out.

I instantly fell in love with everything Elegantees stands for. Promoting modesty in a world where fashion screams that nudity and sexy clothes equate to beauty, and not only that, but providing sewing jobs for survivors of sex trafficking.

When I was in Thailand, I saw first hand how difficult it was to find jobs for the women who left prostitution. It was so discouraging to have companies, even Christian companies, unfortunately, tell us “No” over and over. I love that Elegantees’ desire is to meet that financial need, of the restoration process, for as many survivors as possible.

I knew I wanted to be on Katie’s team, and I told her to pray about me joining in any way that I could. So I joined end of February as Promotions and PR Manager.

So how did the person I met in Thailand come into play in NYC?

Well he happened to be David Batstone, the founder of Not For Sale, which just happens to be one of the largest NGO’s in the fight against human trafficking. We met at an Asian Pacific Forum on Human Trafficking, there. I contacted him when I came back to the states, and asked him if I could talk to someone from NFS when I went to visit the west coast in March.

He ended up giving me the Director of Merchandising’s email address… and one email led to another..and now Elegantees is partnering with Not for Sale to donate profits of certain tops to them, and support them in the amazing work they’re doing!!  At the same time, we’re being introduced to thousands of new people through social media.

I’m now focusing more on Events Coordination with Elegantees, and, thank God, we are growing. We are still a small team of volunteers, but we desperately want to provide more employment for NGO’s helping to restore survivors. Right now we’re working with Restore NYC, in our own backyard, and Nepali Rescue Project.

I feel so blessed that I get to spread the word about a company that is looking to bring justice, enhance true beauty, and help restore precious women. I look forward to seeing Elegantees grow, we even have a men’s line that we’re debuting this fall!

Of course, it would be nice to be able to live off of this blessing (and not have to substitute teach), but more importantly I want Elegantees to grow so that we can see more women employed, and provide a new sense of dignity, and worth to the women who have come from a life of being used, abused, and feeling worthless.

I’ve sometimes battled with guilt of not being overseas, not living in a small bedroom that has a bathroom in it, and not eating pb & j every day, but I’m also learning that guilt doesn’t come from God. Also, I want to always be wherever God wants me to be, whether it means overseas or back home. It’s not so much about WHAT you do and WHERE you do it.. but whether or not you’re IN the Father’s will.. because THAT’S what He will bless…wherever you are. Oh I pray I will always be where and do what He’s asking of me.

I don’t really know what the my future holds, and how all this will span out… but I know this is just a part of all that God is going to do, in NYC, regarding this evil of human trafficking, and I am so humbled, and privileged to be a part of it.

Below is the Elegantees video promotion for the Not for Sale top, and this is the link you can go to to purchase the Britni top. Your donation will go to Not For Sale. So go ahead and shop for a cause. Fashion with a purpose..and what a beautiful purpose it is.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest to Find the City of Angels: Day 1 (video)

Here’s the first video from my Quest to Find the City of Angels.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but that’s the amazing thing about following God…He does some pretty cool stuff if you let Him.

He speaks.

Some fun facts not in the video:

-Lovely, who you’ll meet in the video, called me Dora the Explorer because she was always scared to do something, and I told her that if it scares me, I do it. =)

– The guys in the video didn’t speak one word to me on the plane or after…but they were loud and obnoxious in their seats the whole time… I wish I would have watched the video clip on the plane and caught them red-handed.

– I was REALLY tired on the plane, and almost didn’t want to bother speaking to her, but I kept on hearing God say to “talk to her”. Goes to show how many divine appointments we can miss if we’re not obedient to Him.

– I LOVE lighting… but that’s pretty obvious in the video.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/45913141″>Quest To Find The City of Angels- Day 1 – Medium</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3629705″>Bethsaida Portalatin</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Thanks for taking the time to watch, and journeying along with me. It means a lot. Thank you.

I pray this journey can be a blessing to you as well.

Today keep your ears open for your divine appointments. =)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest To Find The Disney Land for Men

or as some of the other websites, I came across, named it “The Supermarket of Sex”.

I prefer to call it by it’s given name. Angeles City, Philippines. The English translation would be The City of Angels.

I’ll be heading to the Philippines tomorrow, and I’ll be there for a little bit longer than a week. My initial intent was to attend a Not For Sale Asia Pacific Forum focused on the issue of human trafficking, and I’ll also be visiting a ministry that was integral in confirming that my heart beats for the issue of human trafficking… but there is one monumental stop I need to make while I am in the Philippines.

Working in the red-light district here in Thailand, there is not much that I have not seen or heard yet, and the red-light district in the Philippines I’m sure is similar… but God exposed me to the issue of human trafficking, and gave me a burden for it, before I even knew what it was, through reading an article about Angeles City.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing when I get there, and I will only be able to stop through for about a day and a half, but I’m praying that I can learn some new things, or maybe share some things that will be able move our hearts more towards justice and eternal freedom of so many of those trapped in this exploitation of vulnerability.

I explain a bit more in the video below. I would be honored if you came along and shared this experience with me. I look forward to seeing how God allows this trip to unfold.

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Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

What Happens in Vegas?

Well.. as I’m sure you have seen, or experienced.. a lot.

A lot that probably includes pictures of blackmail…stories of money gained and loss….stories that probably will never be mentioned again.

But here’s something that NEEDS to be addressed.

Police there, have issued a public warning to parents and children about how PIMPS are preying on children, more than ever before.

“They are actively walking through the malls, they are at the movie theaters, they are driving past the high schools, they are looking for the next young lady to charm with all of their smiles and wealth and seeming success to suck into this industry,” 

When I read the above quote in the article, my mind was just blown!

Can you even fathom the thought process that goes on inside of these pimps heads every morning?

I just can’t grasp how a person’s sole purpose every morning is to look for someone they can entrap, abuse, and use to get MONEY

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

This could be the slogan for the issue of human trafficking…well on the pimps, and traffickers end.

But this isn’t just happening in Vegas.. it’s happening in Maine. It’s a problem that is facing the upcoming superbowl in Indianapolis. A sex trafficking ring, using children, recently busted in Seattle.  In San Francisco. ALL underage girls.

Not to mention that it is happening in our own NYC backyard.. story of Nina from Sunset Park. And I met a couple last night, at No Limits Church, who encountered more than they were looking for at an Asian massage parlor in Chelsea.

Let your circle of influence know what’s going on. Create awareness. Use your voice to be a voice to the voiceless.

And most of all PRAY.. Pray that the wrongs will be made right, and that there will be a generation of believers that rise up who say “NOT ON MY WATCH, LORD… NOT ON MY WATCH”

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s.  I just created a new Agenda: Love “fan” page, where I will be posting lots of resources on the issue of human trafficking, and practical ways to ACT out love. Like?

$ouls for $ale (Screening)

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” -William Wilberforce (British abolitionist 18th-19th century)

Another one of my dear friends from my old World Race squad, Sara, posted a link on my wall and said “Go Bethsa, Go!”. At first I thought she was cheering me on, because she is a master at encouragement… but then I clicked the link, and it led me into an alternate world… A world I would like for you to step into as well.

Nefarious Merchant of Souls is a documentary on the horror of the global sex trade… from a new viewpoint. It is possibly the first documentary, on this issue, done by a Christian organization. Exodus Cry. “The prayer movement to end slavery

I’m going to see the documentary in a couple weeks, here in NYC. The Incurable Fanatics Screening tour is nationwide, so perhaps it’s playing in your city and state. Here is the schedule of screenings that began from the beginning of September, and goes till mid November.

The movie trailer says “from a holy perspective”. “Christianity” today has made the word HOLY to seem unattainable, scary, and religious. But did you know that the Hebrew word simply means “to be set apart, different”?

I’m ready for a documentary from a “different” perspective… one that not only dives into the dark abyss of human trafficking, but brings the bright Light along.

I’m ready for a documentary that shows the whole truth.

Are you?

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Fighting Trafficking and Poverty With Lipstick, Onesies, and Aprons

The Creator has gifted His creation with creativity.

Us humans are enthralled with anything that deals with aesthetic beauty. It captivates us. I mean have you ever seen a majestic lightning storm? A sea of sunset colors? A rainbow array of flowers?

These are all originals, created by the greatest Creator, and they take our breath away.

Well I want to link you all, with some of His children who are using their creativity to fight against the issue of trafficking and poverty.

Baby Clothes:

My friend Katie has started a baby onesies online store. She is EXTREMELY talented, and innovative with the adorable onesies. They are the right style, and price for your precious little angel. And 30 % of the profit goes towards a non-profit of your choice. (including the one I’ll be at in Thailand, Lighthouse in Action)

Buy your godchild’s, child’s, niece’s, nephew’s onesie here. Sweet Ones.

Makeup:

I had the privilige of meeting a world race alumni, Nicole, last week at training camp. Nicole has started a cosmetics company, with LEGIT makeup! ( I bought 4 eyeshadows!). But she has everything from foundation to lipstick.  Her vision for the company, as it grows, is to give a large amount of the profit to non-profits in the fight against trafficking. Right now 20% goes to a non-profit.

MAC aint got nothin on her Radiant Cosmetics. Support a just cause, and look beautiful doing it =) Help her company grow, so that anti-trafficking orgs can get the financial support they need!

APRONS, BAGS, and SUCH:

Another World Race alumni, Bambi, is using her sewing and creative talent to combat poverty overseas by creating custom made bags, aprons, quilts, etc… according to her website she LOVES doing custom made work.

You can check out her fabulous stuff at the Hope N Motion Etsy store,or her blogsite Hope N Motion. I have a custom made “Everything Bag” headed my way.

All of these make great gifts as well.

Hey… if we’re gonna shop…lets shop for a purpose =)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Mai: A True Tale of Hope…Thai Style

Hey guys, I’m currently riding in the back of a SUV with an ex squadmate and his sweet grandparents…yup grandparents are pretty awesome. Makes me miss mine so much.

But newho, we’re heading to Tennessee (about a 20 hour ride from NYC), to drop them off, then head towards The World Race training camp.

I’m posting this blog from my phone, so forgive any spelling errors or weird styling.

As we’re driving along, I’m in awe of all the lush green surrounding us. And the clouds..well, I haven’t looked up in quite some time, and they are just as breath taking as the ones I saw around the world.

Dozing in and out of sleep, I received an email notification blog update from Emily Tuttle. She’s the current world racer who found favor with a Thai girl prostitute named Mai. And Mai’s story is just as, actually more beautiful than the scenery around me. I just HAD to share this continuing journey with you all.

I would really encourage you to read this story. It’s truly inspiring. And it excites me more for all the things that Lighthouse in Action is going to be a part of the coming years. (Again, this is where I’ll be volunteering for two years).

Here’s the link: http://emilytuttle.theworldrace.org/?filename=from-ministering-to-to-ministering-with-maes-story-part-7

Just copy and paste the above. Which is part 8. I strongly recommend starting from part 1, you won’t regret it! =)

Agenda: Love,
Bethsaida