It all began when I saw a headline for a new book: "The Lincoln Hypothesis." The title completely intrigued me and I began reading it. The author, Tim Ballard, explained his affinity with Lincoln's history and the work of abolishing slavery. By doing so, he described his nonprofit: "Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)," an organization that rescues children from sex trafficking throughout the world. I became very intrigued and have followed their efforts ever since. Eventually, I enrolled in law school at the University of Wyoming and have continued to follow and support O.U.R.
In May 2016, my cousin, Tyler Schwab, contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in doing Pro Bono work for a nonprofit organization. I readily agreed. He informed me that "The Abolitionists," a documentary film that follows O.U.R., would be showing in Idaho Falls, ID on May 16th. He then invited me to attend the film showing and asked if I would be interested in meeting some individuals who volunteer for O.U.R. I informed him of my interest and we made the decision to drive to Idaho Falls together.
During our drive, Tyler told me about his own organization: Gifts of Grace. He explained its mission and his desire to help prevent child exploitation in all its forms.
*As a side note: there is nothing on this planet that angers me more than the thought of little children being exploited. When speaking with Tyler, I immediately thought of my daughter. If it were my little girl that had been the one who was captured and sold into slavery, what would I do? I would be going door to door to all of my neighbors. I would be on the phone with multiple countries. I would be contacting anyone and everyone that could do something to help save my little girl.
Millions of children are suffering this exact fate. Parents are left helpless. And what do we do about it? We may "like" a post online or "share" an inspiring story. But why are we not doing more? Why aren't we acting as though it is our own child?
These questions permeated my soul. An overwhelming feeling rushed over my body. It started at my head and rushed down my back into my heels. It had the effect of goosebumps but penetrated my very being. I immediately knew what I needed to do. I HAD to help these kids. *
Tyler and I attended the film. I felt as if I was there. I felt that I was witnessing the events in real-time. The helpless children. The helpless parents. Why is there so much evil in the world? Why are children, such pure innocent souls, the ones who have to suffer such a terrible fate? What can I do to prevent this evil? Tyler had the answer.
On our drive home, Tyler began to explain to me his efforts with Gifts of Grace and the legal help he needed to grow the organization. This was not merely an "option" for me. It was a "duty" I owed to my Maker. From this moment forward, I would dedicate as much time as needed to further this great work.
The Abolitionists will be playing this Wednesday, June 22nd in Rexburg, Idaho. I would encourage everyone to make it a priority to at least attend the showing. I promise that doing so will cause a fire to burn within you. We MUST do more to help the innocent. I, for one, will.
You can watch the trailer below: