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

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?

100% Pure Love

That’s the title of this blog, well, because that’s the song that happened to be playing out of my iPod dock…THROWBACK.. yes I know ( I remember doing (attempting to do) a model catwalk to this song, in my friend Allison’s apartment, when I was in the 7th grade) …but there is a part of the song, at the very end, that was never played on the radios..

“not 20, not 40..but 100% pure love”

And I’m thinking.. yea.. that’s what I wanna give.. 100% PURE, TRUE love, to God and to others.

8 days…

8 is a significant number… a number of new beginnings.

8 days I’ll be leaving on a 24 hour flight to Thailand.

There is so much going through my mind right now, so many last minute things to get and do, that I felt I had to blog, to organize the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions going on inside of me.

So this blog may seem pretty random to you, and if you’re reading this, thank you for bearing with me as I process my last week in NYC, for quite some time. Are you sure you’re ready for this? Not even sure if I am!

Thought: “Jesus offended many to get to me”- Carl Lentz ( HIllsong NYC)

Two weeks in a row I’ve visited HIllsong NYC, and God knew I needed to. The more I walk this Christian walk, and learn more about Jesus.. the more I see how truly “offensive”, and “rebellious” Jesus is. He is the Savior… He’s also a revolutionary who hung out with prostitutes and the “scum” of that culture. Turned every religious notion upside down. Went to where the sick were, because they needed a doctor.

The more my picture of Jesus is changing from a clean cut man, with a long beard and hair, and white robe, trapped in a stained glass window…to a relevant, transparent, REAL man in the trenches, in the bars, in the WILD (as Carl has been preaching about)…being the Light in the darkest of dark places.

That’s comforting.. because I know that I won’t be in the bars of Thailand alone. Jesus will be right there with me.

Thought: “How desperately I want my close friends and loved ones to know this Jesus”

Jesus has had such a bad rep in our post modern culture. And so many of my friends have had encounters with a false representation of who God is, and how life with Him is. “If God created you WILD he does not want to TAME you…He wants to direct and guide you.” -Carl Lentz

It’s true.. Just as an example… for me, personally, my choice of musical worship isn’t just standing erect and singing softly. I LOVE to dance, always have! So what better time to dance and get down for God, than in worshipping Him with music!?

I now feel sorry for anyone who stands next to me during that segment at services, because they inevitably get an elbow to the side, or a slap to the face…and for the person behind, they now have to combat a curly haired obstruction of view.

But God doesn’t want to TAME us.. He created us with our personality for a reason…for the specific purpose He has for our lives. He just wants to direct that stubbornness, direct that intelligence, direct that charisma, direct that gifting for His glory, and for our best.

How desperately I want to see my loved ones using their gifts to the max potential, and living life to the utmost. Fulfilling their destiny and purpose in life.

Man.. I NEVER want to feel the pressure of having to fit someone else’s idea of a Christian mold.

God’s called me to go share the love of Jesus to prostitutes, traffickers, ladyboys, johns, and the such. He’s crafted my personality and life specifically for that.

Gonna walk in that!

Thought: “Pride sux”

How many of us have MISSED OUT on so many things in life because of stupid pride?!?! Ughhhh… it’s ruined so many lives…

In Machine Gun Preacher (a great movie to discuss, and share opinions on)…there’s a part where Sam Childers gets to the lowest, most desperate, point and says “HELP ME”

That’s when God showed up.

“God, have mercy on a generation that thinks we know it all.. and don’t need help from You.”

Thought: “Will I be forgotten when I leave?”

It’s a legitimate thought, especially being away for a year already, and hardly ever knowing what was going on in friend’s lives, except through FB statuses…but I guess that is the most popular form anyways.

but it stinks to feel forgotten.

I know life gets busy…yikes! boy… do I know that… but I want to be more conscious of reaching out to people, and returning messages. (Drock…I’m gonna call u back!!!)

And the randomness  ends..

Believe it or not.. I do feel a bit sorted out… Maybe I’ll do a couple more of these before I leave NYC.

=)

Thanks for being patient with me.

How do you process or reflect on life?

It’s good to do that now and again…you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. the Thai for Thai campaign is still in full force. Consider giving up a Thai meal, and donating the cost to Lighthouse Thai to help rescue girls out of the sex tourism horror in Thailand. Thank you to those who have donated already. You can read more about how “Your Pad Thai Can Rescue A Thai Girl”. Also, here’s the FB event page. SHARE. SHARE. SHARE.. ❤

“Hero” Was Redefined on 9/11/01

I was 17. I had just started attending Kingsborough Community College. I was also working at a record label in midtown Manhattan. My hours started after my morning classes. I was up early enough to start my daily routine of getting ready for school and work.

Only this morning was very different. It would change the history of my city forever.

I had Fox 5 news on, which I mostly relied on for the day’s weather conditions as to what would be the perfect outfit to wear. Then suddenly “BREAKING NEWS”

I remember seeing the images on the television with my jaw dropping, and the first thought that came into my mind was “the world is ending!“. I was terrified. I remember seeing black smoke, then the second tower collapsing.

I immediately called a friend, and through tears, attempted to express the fear and horror I was feeling, because of the images flashing before my eyes. “The world’s ending! We need to get right with God!

Ten years later, we are all still moved and touched by the stories of heroism that the Police Officers, (my dad was a NYPD officer…he was off that day and would have perhaps been one of the first on the scene since his precinct was downtown Brooklyn, just a bridge crossing from downtown Manhattan) Fire Fighters, and all the brave men and women displayed.

The heroes who ran up the steps to rescue individuals, not knowing they were running up to their death. The heroes who stayed with their handicapped co-workers, so that they would not be left alone. The heroes who KNEW they were going to die, and yet still barged in.

There will never be enough memorials created, or words of honor said, that could equate to their heroic sacrifices.

Ten years later, may we continue to keep the husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, daughters, sons, and friends of the 9/11 victims in our prayers.

A hero is a man who is afraid to run away.” -English Proverb

And ten years later, we are still filled with awe hearing the survivors’ miraculous stories. The last World Trade Center survivor, Genelle Guzman who was pulled out of the rubble 27 hours later, will be telling her story tomorrow 9/11/11 at 3:00pm, at The Brooklyn Tabernacle 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY.

***Do you know a story of a 9/11 hero, that you would like to share? Do you have a survivor story you would like to share?****.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Restoration in NYC.

Hey Guys,

So this organization, that I’m linking you with, is one that is extremely dear to my heart. They were the first organization I partnered with, 3 years ago, to fundraise for the issue of human trafficking.

With the help of amazing friends, we were able to hold an event in the city that raised funds, for them to start the ball rolling, on a home to rehabilitate women rescued from sex trafficking here in NYC.

Faith Huckel is the founder, and I consider her my first, and greatest role model, of a woman in this fight. The organization is called Restore NYC.

Their Restore NYC FB Page ALWAYS has great resources on it. I get a lot of my resources from there. I would recommend liking it. =)

Only a couple years later, the fruit of their labor, and the favor of God has been shown upon them.. and is continuing to be shown!

They now have a home for rescued women! Here is a video about the awesome stuff going on!:

If you’re looking for an organization to volunteer with, here in the city, feel free to contact them. Get Involved.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

No Place Like Home.

I’m back…

Back home..I LOVE NYC.. really I do.

However, It’s odd that “home” seems like such an inappropriate word for me being here.

My re-entry back into the states from the 11month missions trip (bethsaidaportalatin.theworldrace.org), has been a lot smoother than I anticipated. I know a lot of it has to do with my amazing friends and family, but all the credit would have to go to Jesus.

I desperately asked Him to cradle me in His arms throughout this re-entry process, and I have felt it…truly.

So much was learned on my 11 month journey.. One of them being how to expect divine appointments from God on a daily basis..

Today was no different. (Thank you Lord)

I’m the same human Bethsaida, God is the same God, the need is the same, I’m just in a different setting.

Then in 4 months, I’ll be in another setting… Chiang Mai, Thailand… following Him there.

I’m not sure if I will ever have a “home”.

My brother (www.boypilot.com), reminded me of such a simple, yet profoundly relevant truth…. “We’re citizens of a heavenly kingdom.”

“Heaven is my home, earth is my mission” – His People Church (in South Africa).

This was never more real to me than it is today.

I’m excited for this next season. And I’m soooooo honored and blessed that you would consider being a part of it too. We have a  lot of work ahead of us.

God is already and will continue to  make His glory known..

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida