“Small acts of service can lead to huge change”
~ Caitlin Patrick
Caitlin’s first exposure to the issue of human trafficking came through a movie she watched in high school, which led her to do more research on the issue. Caitlin believes her faith in God led her to seek out a service opportunity. She first connected with The Samaritan Women in 2015 through Beth Halley, a family friend. After participating in volunteer orientation, she was matched up with a resident and started tutoring her in English on a weekly basis.
Caitlin has been an ongoing tutor, working with the residents preparing for their GED’s. She has provided high school level curriculum to assist other tutors. Caitlin teaches at a high school in Frederick County and has initiated a number of fundraising efforts in support of The Samaritan Women over the past several years, including a drive to collect supplies for the residents. As Beth Halley recounts “after one trip to her high school, my car was so packed that we called it toilet paper-palooza!”
Caitlin has also encouraged her students to join in the fight against human trafficking, and for the last three years has helped spearhead Human Trafficking 101 (and beyond) presentations at her school, Oakdale High School. These have been well attended by both students and members of the community.
Caitlin encourages others that “small acts of service are often the things that lead to huge change in our world. If your heart ever hurts when you hear about human trafficking, I encourage you to get plugged in. The work is not easy, but it is meaningful and very important.”
“We see God at work transforming women who have been subjected to the dark world”
~Rick and Jamie Harris
The world can be unbelievably dark. I did not know much about sex trafficking where so many are abused day by day. When I learned about it, I can remember thinking the human trafficking crisis is so devastating; the pictures and statistics are staggering and confirm the craziness and darkness of this world. I began to grow in awareness by attending seminars and volunteering with organizations that are committed to fighting for the freedom and restoration of those who have been sexually exploited.
True freedom and transformation comes from Christ, and my desire has always been to ensure that whatever organization I had the opportunity to partner with in anti-trafficking efforts would be rooted in Christ. About two years ago, there was a request for a couple to lead Bible study at The Samaritan Women and my wife and I were ecstatic about the opportunity. We knew this would be an opportunity to share our love for Christ, study His Word with the women of TSW, and be a part of God’s transformation process.
After three semesters at TSW, it has been such a tremendous blessing to study the scriptures with the women and see the spiritual fruit that has come about during their time of rest and transformation. By volunteering at TSW, not only do we help residents with their spiritual walk, but we also see God at work transforming women who have been subjected to the dark world. God uses The Samaritan Women to rescue and restore the hope of Him in these women’s lives and our own. What a privilege to be a part of the everlasting work of God and see firsthand how God moves. The world’s craziness and darkness doesn’t stand a chance.
“Justice for the oppressed is an issue that is close to God’s heart”
~Joe Paschal, Pastor at LifePoint Church, Reisterstown, Maryland
At LifePoint, we want to engage our church family in the things that are close to God’s heart. We believe God’s Word makes it clear that justice for the oppressed is one of those things. The issue of modern slavery struck a chord in our hearts when we participated in Freedom Sunday for the past two years.
This year, we wanted to expand our influence to include our own backyard. We’ve always known about The Samaritan Women and the great ministry they do. We had done a couple of projects with them in the past. So we chose to get onboard with TSW in a more intentional way.
We highlighted TSW in our Thanksgiving services and challenged our church to find ways to support this organization. The congregation loved it! For the month of November, we were so excited to surprise TSW with a generous gift from our church.
We are big fans of TSW and the excellent ministry they consistently provide. And we can’t wait to see how the relationship develops as we connect with TSW.
“She is blossoming into the very beautiful young woman I always knew she would be”
~Mother of a Survivor
“Being the mother of anyone who is in “the life” of sex trafficking is not easy, as a matter of fact it is downright heartbreaking! I cannot tell you how many tears I have shed, how many prayers I have said, and the countless hours I have scanned police websites in fear that she was dead. I felt so strongly about wanting to get my daughter out of “the life” that if I was not able to help her, I would work to help someone else’s daughter. So I joined my local human trafficking task force.
It was through this work that I learned so much more about my daughter and myself, and prayed that someday I would be able to help save her, but in reality she would have to save herself. Through this task force, I learned of many “safe houses” across the United States, and worked with some of them. When my daughter, Hope, was arrested for the last time, I conveyed my hurt and concern to her. I let her know that I could not go through this emotional roller coaster anymore and told her that she was going to have to make a decision upon her release. I gave her the options, and as fate would have it, Hope chose The Samaritan Women!
Now –about a year and half later–she is blossoming into the very beautiful young woman I always knew she would be. She has completed her GED, is enrolled in classes at the local community college, and is working a part-time job. My daughter is set to graduate in February. TSW has given my family a new and bright future. They are restoring Hope, one day at a time, and for that, I am eternally grateful.”
“God Gives Us All Different Talents”
~ Dr. Woody Wooddell
Dr. Wooddell recalls the senior thesis presentation that first introduced him to the severity of human trafficking while attending Parents Weekend at Rice University with his daughter in 2013. In looking back, Dr. Wooddell can see how God was preparing his heart to do His work by placing the issue of human trafficking in front of him in various ways, such as a TV news story and through a guest speaker at his church who had a powerful testimony, Jeanne Allert. As he sat and listened to Jeanne’s story, he recalled the conversation with his daughter, remembered the news story and felt God opening his heart to these victims, compelling him to get involved. As Dr. Wooddell acknowledges, “God gives us all different talents to serve His people, and mine is dentistry.”
A few months later, Dr. Wooddell and his partner Joe Passaro started providing residents at TSW with free dental care. As TSW staff member Allison Deitz notes,“The residents at TSW no longer look in the mirror and see evidence of abuse, neglect, or substance use. They are no longer ashamed to smile when meeting a new person or taking a photo.” Dr. Wooddell has never sought or accepted recognition for the countless hours and kindnesses he has bestowed on the residents of TSW. He describes the blessing he and his staff receive as “no greater joy than to see their (residents) tears of joy when they see their new smile for the first time, and I am reminded that I am so glad that God had prepared my heart to serve The Samaritan Women.”