As of 2018, Picture Birmingham has been able to donate over $30,000 to The WellHouse.
Sex Trafficking is a subject that I personally avoided processing for a long time. I have a vivid memory of reading an article many years ago about a very young child who was trafficked in Asia. She told her story in graphic detail, with unfathomable torture and human suffering clearly laid bare. Her story ended with redemption – she was rescued, freed, introduced to Jesus Christ, and aided in starting a new life. She was overflowing with joy, but yet the reality of what she lived through was so overwhelming to me that I missed out on celebrating her freedom. For a week my mind kept going back to that precious, innocent child who had been stolen out of her life and destroyed in such an inhumane way. Yes, she was rescued. But how many more were not? I couldn’t help but see my daughter’s eyes when I envisioned what that little girl must look like. And it broke my heart to think that this child, too, was someone’s beloved daughter.
After that experience, I decided that reading about sex trafficking wasn’t for me.
…Until I started seeing several of my friends sharing about sex trafficking in the United States. To be honest, this confused me. In my mind, sex trafficking was something that happened in third world countries – not here. I kept avoiding the subject until I found myself reading about The Wellhouse ministry here in Birmingham. I quickly realized that although children absolutely are still kidnapped and forced into sex slavery in the US, The Wellhouse’s ministry went further than that. They reached out to women the news and police call prostitutes – women that we as a society often assume are acting by choice. Their stories are laced with just as much sex slavery as a child’s, completely entrapped by blackmail, force, and manipulative control. And they are in just as much need of rescue.
The Wellhouse is one of very few agencies in the nation that accepts people into their program without ID, as this is one of the first things that traffickers take away from their victims. They have a hotline that victims can call, and last year they rescued 75 women, ranging from 13 to 54 years old, as well as one teenage boy – some in Birmingham, and some as far away as Washington State. They offer immediate food and shelter, necessities, spiritual guidance, counseling, and job rehabilitation.
Besides providing this much needed service to hurting men and women, they also work with legislators and police forces to provide training and offer insights into the fight against human trafficking.
Last summer, I began to feel compelled by God to be involved in their ministry. I had no idea how I could help, but I knew that I must find out. I met with Alexa James, the Development Director, to find out more about their ministry and discover how I could fit into their needs. In the process, I learned more heartbreaking things than I could bear about the state of our city, our state, and our nation. And I knew I must do something.
But shortly after I met with Alexa, I began having some consuming health issues. During that time, I lost contact with the ministry. The Wellhouse was still in my mind, but I didn’t know my role, or how I could possibly add more to my plate.
At that same time, I began an obsession with sunsets. I didn’t realize it at first, but I was using sunset chasing as therapy to get my mind off of my uncertain state of health. I began to develop quite a collection of sunset photos, and shockingly to me, people started asking if they could buy prints.
And then quite suddenly God put the pieces together in my mind. I was to sell my prints and give the profits to The Wellhouse. I would be able to support them financially, as well as have a fantastic platform to support them on social media and help raise awareness of the needs of their ministry. It was an amazing moment of destiny in my mind – that He’d planned all of this out so intricately – He actually gifted me with a brand new talent so that I could use it to support the ministry He’d put on my heart. Plus, He provided some amazingly killer sunsets to make that possible.
I really like His creativity.
You can shop for prints, canvases, and note cards by clicking here to support their ministry