I have always been an avid reader. Whether it’s a suspenseful mystery novel, an exciting sci-fi series, a romantic love story, an intellectual research summary, or a professional/personal/spiritual development self-help book, I find immense value in carving out time to sit with myself, turn the pages, and reflect on the words printed and the meaning behind them. Some books, I cannot finish fast enough and I eagerly turn page after page to get to the next chapter. Others, I take my time, soaking in every sweet vowel and consonant, sometimes reading the same paragraph over and over to delay the inevitable ending to a beautiful chapter or story. The latter types of reads are my favorite… because even though the chapter or story inevitably comes to an end… in my favorite stories, I always feel as though I am forever a part of the story and the story will forever be a part of me.
After nearly six years of service to SWITCH, this past week I turned in my notice of resignation, turning the page to a new chapter in my life. SWITCH has been a huge part of my life, and I have been a part of SWITCH for as long as I have been with my husband, David… and I’m going to be honest… most days I can’t recall what my life was like before either! I am blessed to have seen the agency develop and grow from the birth of a mere dream in 2012 into what it is today- a sustainable and thriving nonprofit serving hundreds of women and spreading awareness of human trafficking and sexual exploitation to tens of thousands of individuals here in Upstate, SC. I feel privileged to have served as the Program Director and to have had the opportunity to build, develop, and grow the five programs and to equip and empower a team of individuals in the community to serve survivors and to love without conditions. I am living proof that the Lord doesn’t call the qualified- He qualifies the called. I had (and still have) no letters behind my name. When I started this work in 2012, I was only a 22-year-old college student with nothing but a heart filled with compassion, a desire to fight against injustice, and a passion to advocate for survivors. I remember distinctly coming home from a mission trip to Africa in 2011 and feeling called to serve oversees in the anti-trafficking movement when I felt the Lord say, “I haven’t called you to go.. I have called you to stay.” The decision to stay and serve through the agency’s beginning and first stages of growth was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Six years later, I feel the Lord saying, “Thank you for staying and for being my hands and feet as a movement was born in the Upstate, SC. Now it is time to go…”
I leave SWITCH feeling thankful. These nearly six years will forever be treasured in my heart. I am thankful for the knowledge and skills I have gained as a Program Director and for the lessons I have learned in perseverance, patience, dedication, and resilience. I am thankful to have had the privilege to work alongside an incredible team of advocates and leaders who are truly led by passion for the cause and a genuine love and empathy for those who have been exploited. I am immeasurably thankful for the relationships I have been able to build with our board, staff, volunteers, and participants. I leave SWITCH forever changed and immensely grateful. I will always consider myself to be a part of the SWITCH family.
I am excited to announce I have accepted the opportunity to serve as the Program Director of Jasmine Road, the first two-year residential restoration program for adult survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction in South Carolina. I am thankful to continue working, though in a different capacity, to continue the fight to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation here in the Upstate. Building relationships with survivors and walking alongside them throughout their restoration journey is the reason I began working in this movement to begin with. My survivor friends are my “why”, and their resilience, passion, and steadfastness through immense trial have helped me to learn more about myself and to find the courage within me to be resilient through my own trials. I am unsure of exactly what this new role will entail, but I am confident the Lord has gone before me and is preparing the way. As I dive head-first into this new role, I feel the familiar feelings of feeling immensely unqualified… yet I also feel the still small voice and reminder that the Lord doesn’t always call the qualified. I ask for your prayers during this transition- prayers for me as I navigate the logistical trials of a job change, prayers for SWITCH as they seek to hire the perfect candidate to fill my position to continue leading and growing their five programs, and prayers for Jasmine Road as we prepare to open the doors to the beautiful Jasmine Road house to welcome the first group of survivors home to heal, to rest, and to find freedom and restoration. I feel confident the Lord is creating something beautiful here in the Upstate in the collaborative fight against human trafficking and exploitation, and I am excited to watch His plans and His purpose unfold!