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Podcast 119: Ensure Justice: Vulnerable Children

During this episode, Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak speak with Deputy Chief Derek Marsh about the importance of not just studying how we can rescue victims but also how we can prevent children from becoming victims. In 2004 Derek Marsh helped start the Orange County human trafficking taskforce. He explains that victims usually become victims because of environmental factors. At our 2016 Ensure Justice conference, Derek spoke about how people also become victims due to lack of resources and quality of education. Because of the lack of access, those who live in poverty become more vulnerable to people who can exploit them. Many people in poor communities are just trying to survive because of conflict and there not being enough infrastructure to support them.  Children become vulnerable because of migration. About 1.4 million children are those of undocumented immigrants and 2 out of 10 of these children are in greater risk because of poverty.  Because of their immigration status, pimps are likely to manipulate young women and children. They take advantage of their vulnerability and also threaten to report them to authorities. Our goal is to stop this from happening before they have been victimized and exploited. If we’re going to approach this issue proactively, we have to identify the vulnerable people and create programs that are collaborative. We need to create programs across the nation that help identify the boys and girls at risk and provide them with resources so they can provide for themselves and to prevent their future children from continuing this cycle.

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Violence Against Women in the Americas – Remarks by Under Secretary Sewall on International Women’s Day



Sarah Sewall
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights 
Organization of American States
Washington, DC
March 8, 2016

Good morning everyone! Thank you to all of our partners from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Canadian Mission to the OAS, and the United States Mission, for organizing this event.

Today is about recognizing the contributions of more than three-and-a-half billion women around the world – including nearly a billion women in the Americas.

In our hemisphere, women serve as heads of state, command space shuttles, and head top global companies like General Motors and Yahoo. Renowned female authors like Isabel Allende push the boundaries of literary convention, while artists like Shakira record the best-selling tracks of the century. Strong women leaders – like Chilean President Michelle Bachelet – win reelection in a landslide while championing gender equality. Countries like Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Nicaragua lead the world with their number of women in elected office. Our collective progress as a region is undeniable.

But so too are the many obstacles that remain to full equality – and today we recognize those as well. Of these, perhaps most appalling is the widespread violence against women in the Americas.

In the United States, one in five women is sexually assaulted during her college years, though just one in ten incidents are ever reported. In 2014, there were over 19,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. military, 86 percent of which went unreported. A staggering 53 percent of all women in Latin America have suffered some form of domestic violence. In Guatemala, thousands of girls have been raped by fathers and family members, many becoming mothers before they turn 15. Many Latin American countries rank among the worst in the world for the number of women killed each year – like Colombia – where ten women are murdered each and every day.

These numbers are sickening. They are unacceptable. And we must call this violence what it is: a pervasive human rights abuse in our own countries and communities, against our own daughters, sisters, and mothers. President Obama has said that, “one of the best indicators of whether a country will succeed is how it treats its women.” By that measure, we all have much work to do.

That work starts with preventing violence against women in the first place. That means everyone, private citizens and public leaders – and especially men – speaking out against violence and for equality. President Obama has said that, “it is on all of us to reject the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and to refuse to accept what’s unacceptable.”

Preventing violence against women also means addressing the deeper imbalances – in education, employment, and politics – that reinforce a culture where women are valued less than men, where they are somehow seen as less worthy of equal respect, opportunity, and protection.

Many countries in the region have made great strides in addressing those imbalances. Some have all but closed the gender gap in education and health; yet significant disparities remain. On average, women in the region are still paid less than men for the same work. And women remain dramatically underrepresented at the highest levels of business and government. Of the top 500 companies in the United States, women lead just twenty-four. They hold a mere 20 percent of all seats in our Congress.

We have to close these gaps between men and women in all manner of public life. And we have to hold up the principles of equality and inclusion to build an environment where it’s never okay to look away, or to stay silent, when women are attacked.

But when women are subjected to violence, they must have a clear path to justice. Thanks to the Inter-American Human Rights System, the region has set high standards for countries to protect women’s rights. Yet clearly, in the pervasive violence against women we see year after year, the region is falling far short. To meet them, countries have to consistently enforce the law and ensure a fair and responsive judicial process.

They must also address the reality that, for women, the path to justice is often obstructed by the broader barriers they face in society. Barriers like unequal access to quality education and stable employment, gender stereotypes and outright discrimination, and a system of laws and statutes written mostly by men and for men.

Those barriers and biases take many forms. For example, when women in Mexico and Chile bring allegations of violence to court, the system allows judges to suspend legal action and require an alternative resolution process that often has no penalties. That is a double standard; and it feeds a culture of impunity that enables violence against women. And in all our countries, when women do face perpetrators in court, they often face a judge and jury laden with biases that discount their testimony or allow gender norms to impact their application of the law.

All of these barriers combine to impede justice for women in the region. And of course, those barriers are even higher for women who face other forms of discrimination because of their class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity. These women face a form of double and even triple discrimination that puts justice far out of reach – undermining the notion that all our people enjoy equal rights and protections under the law.

The poorest in our societies are often more vulnerable to violence. Unequal access to education, healthcare, and stable employment make them easier to exploit. That is especially true for poorer women, who also face greater rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. Some of the poorest are trapped in a web of forced labor and prostitution. Women from poor communities more often bear the sole burden of raising children and earning an income. So even if they know how to seek justice, they have precious little time and even fewer resources to pay for effective legal support. Adding to the burden – they must often contend with corrupt police, lawyers, and judges who exploit their lack of education and resources.

Exploitation is also widespread for women with disabilities, who are two to three times more likely to suffer physical violence and sexual abuse. Similarly, women of different sexual orientations and gender identities in the region face higher rates of violence and a harder path to justice. South of here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a lesbian student was strangled to death just one day after she took part in a vigil to oppose bullying and harassment against the LGBTI community. In Brazil, more transgendered people are murdered than anywhere else in the world. No one should fear for their life because of who they love – or how they identify.

I recently learned the story of a trans woman from Honduras. After a long struggle to find work, she landed a job at a local restaurant. Then the death threats started coming in. We’ll find you, and we’ll kill you – the notes read. The restaurant owner decided to fire her because it was “too dangerous” to keep her around. Stories like this are all too common in the region.

Across the Americas, women from racial and ethnic minorities are also more vulnerable to violence – which is made worse by the legacy of repression and racism pervading our societies. A legacy that, in a cruel twist, often makes minority women less likely to seek justice from authorities they do not trust.

This issue has taken center stage here in the United States after a series of incidents where police seemed to use violence – including rape – against black women. Even though incidents of domestic violence against black women are 35 percent higher than for white women, many do not report these cases to the police because they fear their partners will be mistreated and abused. We have documented similar trends for minority groups across the Americas – highlighting the twisted ways that gender, racism, and violence intersect to put minority women in harm’s way and justice out of reach.

The same is true for indigenous women across the Americas, who also face greater violence and a long road to justice. Here in the US, women from native communities are two-and-a-half times more likely to experience sexual violence than other women. In remote areas across the region, militias, criminal networks, and private contractors have subjected indigenous women to all manner of sexual violence to terrorize, traffic, and displace them. Governments across the region have also been complicit, and there have been many reports by independent human rights groups of members of the military perpetrating violence and rape against indigenous communities.

Justice for all of these crimes remains elusive. Many incidents go unreported because indigenous women fear backlash and condemnation for taking the issue outside the community. Others stay silent because they fear retribution by the perpetrators, whether they are in or out of government. More don’t seek justice because they were never taught how.

Violence against women of all backgrounds remains one of the most pervasive but underreported human rights in the region – one that demands not only our attention, but our urgent action.

And fortunately, there are signs of progress as countries across the Americas begin to act. Colombia recently joined 15 other countries in Latin America to classify the murder of women as a separate crime with a stiff prison sentence. El Salvador established special courts to make it easier for women to seek justice when they are subjected to violence.

And in a historic decision last month, a Guatemalan court convicted two former military officials of crimes against humanity, including sexual violence against indigenous women – the first time the crime of sexual slavery has been heard in a domestic court in relation to the armed conflict.

Here in the United States, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 strengthened the ability of native tribes to prosecute those who commit sexual violence, regardless of whether they are a tribal member. It also expanded resources to law enforcement to investigate rape, provided incentives for colleges to educate students about sexual assault, and increased assistance to vulnerable immigrant and LGBTI victims of domestic violence.

At the Department of State, we’ve expanded efforts to combat sexual violence against women around the world. In 2012, the Department developed a global strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women through a holistic, government-wide approach to protect and assist survivors, broaden access to justice, and help women across the globe understand and exercise their rights under the law.

Since the strategy was announced, funding to tackle gender-based violence around the world has grown to more $150 million – an increase of 60 percent. Many U.S. embassies are developing plans to prevent violence against women and girls. The Department is also strengthening how we use data to ensure that new programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence are more targeted and impactful.

These efforts go hand-in-hand with the State Department’s broader efforts to empower women in all manner of public life and integrate gender perspectives in our work. Along with partners like the Inter-American Foundation and the OAS, the Department is helping women across the Americas to lift their voices and build their talents to move entire region closer to parity. In Colombia and Guatemala, the United States assists indigenous and African descendant women to participate in local government and advocate against violence and discrimination. Throughout the region, we train female entrepreneurs to reach new markets; we support women in politics to rise to positions of leadership; and we partner with local law enforcement to train more female police officers, prosecutors, and judges.

We do this not only because gender equality is inherently worthwhile; the experience of many nations, including ours, shows that when you broaden participation and emphasize inclusion – in business, in arts and culture, in politics – it enriches us all.

I mean this quite literally. When ten percent more girls enroll in secondary education, the economy increases by three percent. A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute found that advancing women’s equality could add up to $12 trillion dollars to global GDP by 2025. So this is not only about parity for its own sake, but also building strong economies for the 21st century.

It’s also about building stable and robust democracies. When women, or any group for that matter, fail to see themselves in the halls of power year after year – that can lead many to conclude that government does not care about their interests or futures, producing alienation and detachment from public life.

But more immediately, when policies overlook the perspectives of women, they inevitably miss a huge part of the picture. Just look at the Zika virus, whose dangers could be mitigated if more women were able to decide their own reproductive health. Yet on this issue like so many others, women are shut out of the debates shaping their lives.

That hasn’t stopped many brave women in the region from making their voices heard – often at great peril.

Brave women like Berta Cáceres. For years, Berta spoke out against powerful interests for the rights of the Lenca people – her people – to protect the rivers and streams and forests from exploitation. She began receiving threats, but as a woman, those threats began to take on a more gruesome tone. Typical warnings of murder and torture were laced with horrific promises of rape and attacks on her family. The message was clear: Be quiet woman, go home – or else. The violence they threatened would have silenced us all. But not Berta – she kept speaking up and speaking out. “Let us wake up! Let us wake up!” she told anyone who would listen.

Last week, gunmen broke into her home and shot Berta to death. Her loss is devastating, but we still have her words; we still have her example, and we must all of us wake up. Wake up to the violence against so many women, like Berta, full of passion and purpose to contribute.

So today, on International Women’s Day, let us together demand justice for Berta’s murder, and for the violence against all the sisters, daughters, and mothers of the Americas.


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International Women’s Day


Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 8, 2016

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the world’s women—past, present, and future—and recognize their many contributions and reflect on what more needs to be done to empower over half of the world’s population.

We remember the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history, and we applaud the women of today who lead, inspire, and work to improve their communities, seek solutions to conflict, cure disease, and build peaceful and prosperous societies. We pledge to young girls that equal opportunities for success will not be limited by gender.

My daughters and granddaughters constantly show me that gender does not define potential. And as Secretary of State, I’ve seen first-hand how gender bias and discrimination only hold countries back. The United States remains committed to empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality globally. We do this because no economy will fully prosper if half its population is excluded from participating. No government will meet the needs of its people if it does not fully represent everyone. And no great challenge facing the world today will be solved if we do not harness the full potential of the talent in society.

Since 2007, the State Department has honored extraordinary leaders from around the world with our annual International Women of Courage Award. Through this award, we have recognized women who have contributed to global peace, prosperity, and progress—often in the face of incredible adversity. I look forward to celebrating this year’s awardees on March 29.

From human rights to human security, women have made our world a better place. As we honor their courage this month, we renew our commitment to women and girls around the world, to landmark international frameworks like the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and to the centrality of gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Last December, I visited an organization in Athens called the Melissa Network, where volunteers help migrant and refugee women integrate into Greek society or assist them in moving to another country. I spent some time with these volunteers—all of whom were women—preparing supplies for refugee and migrant women. They are at the front lines of the European migration and refugee crisis, helping other women find a better place and a better future. That’s something all of us can do, should, and must do, and there’s no better day than International Women’s Day to recommit ourselves to this cause.



Human Trafficking Combatant by Sandra Morgan

Every day Americans encounter human trafficking and don’t realize it. From using smartphones that contain coltan mined by enslaved workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to eating shrimp from grocery stores or restaurants peeled by slaves in Thailand, the government says 134 goods from 74 countries are sold in U.S. stores that are produced by forced and child labor.

Trafficking takes many forms and is found in many places. But Sandra Morgan is doing something about it.

While Morgan worked with AG World Missions in Europe, she served as a nurse and began to combat human trafficking there. Until then, Morgan thought trafficking happened to other people elsewhere. Not to Christians. Not to Americans.

She returned to the U.S. and became administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, and then director of the faith-based Global Center for Women & Justice (GCWJ) at Vanguard University. Along the way she discovered the shocking truth that human trafficking can happen anywhere, including many American neighborhoods.

While the U.S. State Department estimates that 20.9 million people are held in bondage throughout the world, there are more than 21,000 cases in the United States.   

The good news is that under Morgan’s leadership, GCWJ is a leader in community education, engagement, and action on the trafficking front. In addition, GCWJ serves as the education partner for the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, where in 226 victims were rescued in one year.

One child in particular stands out to Morgan. Nine-year-old Shyima was taken to a $1.6 million Orange County home to work as a household slave. She slept in the garage and labored from dawn to late at night cleaning and caring for two small children. She never went to school or out to play. Nearly two years later, a neighbor called authorities when she noticed that Shyima was at home during the day when other children were at school. Shyima was rescued, and adults who enslaved her went to jail.

That’s the hope-filled lesson Morgan passes on to her students at Vanguard and to others whenever she speaks.

“I don’t want people to be focused on ‘over there’ when there are things we can do right now here,” she says.

She believes Christians are responsible to get involved in rescuing and restoring, citing James 1:27 which declares that the true test of religion is caring for widows and orphans.

GCWJ offers ample opportunities for people to understand the root causes of trafficking, and practical ways to get involved to make a difference.

One opportunity is to participate in “Pray for Freedom: Challenging Slavery,” the center’s simulcast on Jan. 23. GCWJ also hosts an annual Ensure Justice conference (this year’s event is March 4-5). Another way to get involved is through the center’s podcast, “Ending Human Trafficking,” which is a resource recommended by the National Clearinghouse for Families & Youth in Washington, D.C.

Morgan encourages people to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 888-373-7888 to report anything suspicious. She cautions, however, that attempts to barge into a situation without training or clear understanding can cause more damage than healing.

“Take time to learn the root causes first, and know that rescue and restoration is a long process,” she says.

Vanguard University President Michael J. Beals says the center is an invaluable community resource.

“GCWJ is emblematic of ways the Assemblies of God addresses the real needs of marginalized and exploited persons,” Beals says. “Dr. Morgan’s advocacy to advance the global status of women is life changing. She is a true trailblazer in her field, and educates the public along the way — making her work a movement and a ministry.”

Morgan knows the battle must enlist many troops to be successful. Every semester, when she teaches her students, in essence she multiplies herself dozens of times.

PE News Link: http://penews.org/News/Human-Trafficking-Combatant


Closing the Leadership Gap by Sandra Morgan

This article first appeared in the February-March 2016 issue of Influence magazine.

In “A Golden Age of Philanthropy Still Beckons: National Wealth Transfer and Potential for Philanthropy Technical Report,” John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College estimate that the greatest wealth transfer in history, more than $50 trillion, will occur in the next few decades.

I was listening to the Coaching for Leaders podcast interview with Chip Espinoza, author of Managing Millennials, when he compared that historic transfer of wealth to an equally historic transfer of knowledge. Nearly 80 million U.S. baby boomers will attempt the greatest transfer of knowledge to more than 80 million millennials in the next two decades.

As a Fellowship, the Assemblies of God must ask: How are we managing the transfer of our century-plus knowledge base? It is much more than theological and polity writings. It is the understood, and often unstated, knowledge of our roots — tacit knowledge that goes beyond the information in organizational handbooks.

It is clear that our leadership recognizes the urgency of effective transfer of knowledge, another way of describing mentoring. Perhaps the most poignant example of this that I’ve seen was from my second-row seat at the 2015 National Fine Arts Awards on a muggy August night in Orlando, Florida. The energy in the room was electric. Cheers were long and loud with each award announcement. It was inspiring to see the talent and passion of the next generation. However, what captured my attention was our National Assemblies of God Executive Leadership Team’s participation in announcing and celebrating the winners. Here’s my take-away from that event: The awards night that celebrated days of competition was not a post-Council activity that only the youth leaders stayed around to witness. Developing leadership potential is intentional.

In this article, we will consider three steps to building a healthy strategy for multiplying the next generation of leaders: determine your leadership development goals, identify and invest in mentees and motivate for results.

Step 1: Determine Your Leadership Development Goals
We do not have the same goal for every leadership mentoring relationship. As a new professor, I enjoyed bringing my missionary field experiences to the classroom and hallways of Vanguard University.

As a Fellowship, the Assemblies of God must ask: How are we managing the transfer of our century-plus knowledge base?

I was excited to see opportunities to mentor, and I poured into these new young leaders, creating spaces for them to exercise their growing skills. The result was a thriving campus justice club, Live2free. Then commencement came, and the entire leadership team graduated. I had been mentoring using a succession model and found myself in a leadership gap of my own making.

We must determine our goals. Are we mentoring leaders for succession or replication? There are entire books on succession-oriented leadership development. Author Bill Bliss in Success in the C-Suite says, “The number one role of any leader is to identify and prepare their successor.”

His advice focuses on bench strength. Imagine a pitcher warming up and a batter practicing his swing as they wait their turn to take their places on the field.

We can see a great biblical model of succession leadership development in the story of Elijah and Elisha. Elijah’s relationship with his mentor was clear. He recognized God’s call on Elisha and groomed him for leadership — essentially training and preparing his own successor. When the authority transferred to Elisha, Elijah was no longer on the scene.

Contrast that with Jesus and the Twelve. Jesus’ goal was producing leaders to go to the nations. There are many books and articles that can expand our competency and capacity to do this well. But I’d like to look at a few lessons I have found especially useful when mentoring millennials.

“By 2020, Millennials will be approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, and by 2030, 75 percent of the global workforce.”

Step 2: Identify and Invest
Whom will you mentor? How will you recognize leadership potential in a different generation, especially if leadership models do not reflect traditional church paradigms? When we return to the model of recruitment that Jesus used, it’s clear that He did not depend on established qualifications. A seasoned leader may even wonder at the insistence of the Holy Spirit’s nudging to sit and talk with a rather ragtag group of young adults.

Jesus’ mentoring style is evident in Matthew 28:19, what we call the Great Commission. While living in Greece, I discovered that the first verb in the verse — “go” — was originally a participle, poreuthentes. This Greek word describes how to make disciples. Many scholars suggest the verse should sound more like, “As you go about your life, make disciples.”

When I learned that, I thought of Deuteronomy 11:19, a verse my dad shared with me on the arrival of his first granddaughter: “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Matthew’s listeners already knew the Old Testament model of transferring knowledge from generation to generation. But Jesus rocked their world when He mandated they ramp it up to include all nations. Would they find enough leaders in the traditional pipeline?

Jesus found disciples while He was walking along the road. As He identified them, He began a relationship. He invited His students to walk with Him.

I don’t walk along the road, but I do invite students to go with me to professional trainings and meetings I attend. Living in Southern California, there is the added benefit of being able to use the carpool lane. Students even stop by my office to ask whether I need someone to ride along so I can drive in the carpool lane. Such opportunities are about much more than convenience; they can have eternal significance. The camaraderie, the one-on-one time and the lack of interruptions create rare opportunities that mirror the “walk along the road” model of the Old Testament.

This was especially clear when a female student of mine made a decision that produced less-than-desirable results. Later, she called and asked whether she could go with me to the next training I was doing. As she got in the car, the student said, “I’m staying in the seat next to you from now on.”

She is now a valued Homeland Security special agent. I didn’t teach her to investigate crimes or show her how to clean a weapon; I did pass on the values and beliefs that frame my life and commitment to making disciples of all nations.

Others may have seen a ragtag group of young adults when they looked at the disciples following Jesus. But Jesus saw them differently. Identifying the next generation of leaders requires a little study to learn more about who they are so that we can avoid generational stereotypes and assumptions that distort our expectations.

“By 2020, Millennials will be approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, and by 2030, 75 percent of the global workforce.”

A 2015 IBM Institute for Business Value study says: “By 2020, Millennials will be approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, and by 2030, 75 percent of the global workforce.”

The study identifies five “myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths” about millennials (ages 21 to 34) that can inform our expectations, as well as our communication style. There are many stereotypes about millennials that we must overcome. This report suggests millennials have more in common with other generations than we may realize.

Let’s consider myth No. 3 and deconstruct one very tired stereotype about millennials. This myth arises from the fact that this is the first generation of digital natives entering the workplace. In spite of their digital immersion, however, millennials are not disconnected from real human interaction. The report found that they prefer face-to-face engagement as they learn. They even ask for opportunities to work with seasoned colleagues.

Do churches embrace this stereotype? I was at a youth event for college students when I heard the speaker declare, “If Jesus walked the Earth today, He would text you.”

I don’t agree. I believe this generation wants to see Jesus face-to-face. They want personal, up-close relationships. Millennials use technology in a utilitarian fashion. For example, this week a student texted me three times to see whether I was in my office. When our schedules were finally in sync, we sat at the table as we discussed the big question every senior has, “What is next?”

After our discussion, I had to ask, “So, I’m curious, why didn’t you just ask this question in your texts?”

The reply: “Oh, no! I had to see you face-to-face!”

Once you identify your own group of young leaders to mentor, invest in them. Bliss’s corporate model suggests a 10 percent strategy for annual professional development of up-and-coming leaders. Should we do less in developing the next generation of church leaders? Factor it into your budget.

Be sure to capture results so that you can track the benefits and support sustainability when new board members come along and suggest cost reductions.

Take some time right now to make a list of everything you have invested in young leaders that you hope will impact ministry. What is your expected ROI (return on investment)? What results will demonstrate success?

Jesus sent them out rather than building His own organization. For the past two years, we have invested in a leadership seminar for our Live2free team, knowing that these students will not stay at Vanguard forever. We are investing in leaders to send out!

Millennials want to know that their purpose is bigger than them.

Step 3: Motivate
Once you identify potential leaders and intentionally begin to set aside resources to invest in their development, the third step is building a strategy that will motivate and produce results.

Daniel Pink, author of the highly acclaimed book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, made a 140-character summary of the book in the style of Twitter: “Carrots & Sticks are so last Century. Drive says for 21st-century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.”

According to Pink, it takes more than rewards and disincentives to motivate people of any generation. Mentees need encouragement and support, as well as a developing sense of autonomy.

Autonomy is not the same thing as doing things alone. Autonomy creates an environment that supports self-sufficiency in increments. Throwing young leaders into the deep end to see whether they will sink or swim is not autonomy. It would not be wise to send your brand new intern to the hospital alone to visit a parishioner whose family is gathering around the bedside to say their good-byes. Instead, send the intern to visit a lonely saint in the assisted living facility.

Providing feedback and facilitating access to resources is part of investing. Experiment with self-directed work timelines and offsite project work. Will it always work out? Absolutely not! That’s why the second aspect of motivation is mastery.

Mastery is the desire to get better and better at something. It turns out that video games may be more than just mindless entertainment. New studies suggest gaming may help develop a mastery mindset.

In the case of ministry, access to resources promotes mastery. Education levels matter; there are no shortcuts. When mentors invest in education, the ROI may not be immediately evident.

As a returning missionary — not a millennial, but a leader in need of transitional mentoring — I needed a support network. Several mentors made the difference in helping me complete my Vanguard University master’s degree. They gave me their best, passed on their books and even wrote personal checks to keep me in the program during the 2008 recession.

Millennials want to know that their purpose is bigger than them.

 Mastery also requires practice. Listening is useful, but doing builds consistency and confidence. Jesus gave His young leaders many opportunities to practice — and to fail. Remember the story of the demon-possessed boy? The disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon. Jesus did not make it easy or pretend the disciples had not missed the mark when He said, “Because you have so little faith” (Matthew 17:20).

As a mentor, you may sometimes be disappointed and frustrated. You may even be tempted to give up on a slow starter so you can move on to a more promising candidate. That’s understandable, but what if Jesus had given up on Peter?

Pink’s third ingredient for motivation is purpose, which he defines as “the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves.”

Not unlike my generation, millennials want to know that their purpose is bigger than them. When we do not know why we are doing what we are doing, it is easy to stop. When we know the bigger vision, we persevere. Purpose for millennials is often reflected in their pursuit of justice — a quest to restore the broken and make things fair. Purpose will sustain us when inspiration has evaporated.

Autonomy, mastery and purpose were aptly illustrated in a recent modification of former knowledge transfer practices as SoCal Women in Ministry sought to engage women religion majors. When an activity fell flat, the students received an invitation to attend the next planning meeting. At first, the students were reluctant to criticize the activities, but they eventually opened up about their desire to grow and hone their preaching skills. So for the next activity, students accepted the responsibility of choosing three of their peers to present minisermons. Autonomy and mastery were key elements that contributed to the ultimate success of the activity. As each young woman preached, seasoned ministers took notes and then made comments, affirmations and critiques to promote mastery. These millennials explained their response: “It’s powerful to do what I’m called to do.”

Purpose inspired them.

It is vital that we develop intelligent and intentional plans for mentoring the next generations so we can transfer hard-won knowledge and wisdom. There are obvious risks if we drop the baton. There will be gaps in leadership in our churches, as well as in our mission to all nations. However, there is another risk that is subtler. If our youth do not find a path for serving and taking on their generation’s call to lead, where will they go instead?

Sometimes I hear ministry leaders expressing fears of social justice creeping into churches. To protect the mission, some put up resistance and erect barriers. Nevertheless, the next generation of leaders are eager to learn and serve and will look for alternative opportunities in the ever-growing surge in nonprofit social justice organizations.

The result is a significant drain of potential leaders from our pews and resources to fund those initiatives. They will create new nonprofits where they have autonomy to work toward mastery to fulfill their purpose. Without an intentional strategy, many will not find a path to serve in our churches. Determine your leadership goals. Identify and invest in young leaders. Motivate with a pattern of autonomy, mastery and purpose.


This article first appeared in the February-March 2016 issue of Influence magazine.

118: Slavery – From Compassion Fatigue to Empathy

During this episode 118, Slavery: from Compassion Fatigue to Empathy, Dr. Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss the implications and the complexity of today’s slavery in the modern world. Sandra Morgan shared Shyima Hall’s story of her own experience of being taken as a child slave. Shyima was born in Egypt and at eight years old; her parents sold her to a family in order to pay off her eldest sister’s debt. Shyima worked for the family for a year in Egypt and then moved to the United States.

When she moved to the United States, Shyima slept outside in the garage in a small storage room that contained no windows or lighting. She was with them for over twenty two months and her job was to not only care for their five children, but to clean the home, cook, and do laundry. The family constantly told her that “you belong to us” almost every day. They threatened her stating she would never see her family again if she were to try to run away. Shyima was finally rescued when a neighbor called the police because she noticed that a young girl never left the house. After being rescued, she went into foster care and stayed in the US. Shyima’s one true desire was to become her own person. In 2007 her case finally ended and her traffickers were sentenced to prison. Shyima’s inspiring story encourages others to be a voice for someone else.

Be ambassadors of sharing stories and building relationships and if we do that we are not only studying the issue and making a difference but we are also understanding and appreciating the real human impact of slavery and refugee status that we see in the world today. When we understand these experiences, we move from compassion and compassion fatigue to empathy.


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“Hidden Girl” by Shyima Hall

“Where the Wind Leads” By Vinh Chung

Dr. Sandra Morgan’s new blog

Global Center for Women and Justice

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Ensure Justice 2016 Events: Take the next step and register today!


MARCH 4-5, 2016

Location: Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

 Register TODAY for our 9th Annual Ensure Justice Conference! There are so many different ways you can participate!

The Ensure Justice Conference is a two-day event focused on equipping teachers, law enforcement, students, and community members to protect and intervene for women and children at high-risk of exploitation and violence. The Ensure Justice Conference is hosted by the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University.

This year, the Ensure Justice Conference focuses on the theme: A Marathon to End Human Trafficking: Train, Sustain, and Focus. 

This is an event that has a place for everyone to participate and learn how to play a role in the fight to end human trafficking.

We are hosting our first ever 5k Walk for Justice that will bring visual awareness to our community!

Major perks if you participate: FREE registration, FREE t-shirt, FREE Chick-fil-A lunch!

Click here to see the route


Conference Schedule 


Compassion Night (click for details)

Open to the Community and Chapel credit for Vanguard Students!

Guest Speaker: Dr. Beth Grant, Founder of Project Rescue


Questions about Ensure Justice, the 5K Walk or Compassion Night? Email gcwj@vanguard.edu or call our office at 714-966-6363. We hope to see you there!


global center

Join us February 26!


Join us for the Lewis Wilson Institute for Pentecostal Studies for our first seminar taking place on Friday, February 26th at 2:00-4:00pm. This semester’s theme is “Your Daughters Shall Prophecy: Women of the Spirit.”

Dr. April Westbrook, Ph.D. Chair of the Department of Religion, will be speaking on the topic of “Empowered to do What is Right: Lessons in the Ethical Use of Power from Women in the Book of Samuel.”

Dr. Westbrook earned her doctorate degree from Claremont Graduate University. She teaches several foundational courses in the Religion curriculum and biblical Hebrew. She also regularly teaches courses in Old Testament historical books, the Pentateuch, and the book of Proverbs. As an ordained minister for over twenty-five years, Professor Westbrook also has great interest in issues concerning women in leadership and ministry roles. She regularly teaches related courses, as well as speaking at conferences, retreats, and chapel services.

The seminar will be held in Heath Lecture Hall 109, Vanguard University. Everyone is welcomed.



Ensure Justice 5K Walk!

5k Flyer

Route: GCWJ 5K Walk Event Notification

Join us for a 5K walk to kick off the Ensure Justice Conference and bring visual awareness to our community.  Register HERE


Sandra Morgan in Influence Magazine

How Churches Can Fight Human Trafficking and Slavery in Their Own Backyards
A neighbor called child welfare to report a child who did not attend school with the other five children living in a $1.6 million home in their upscale gated community. Authorities discovered a 12-year-old girl sold by her parents as a child maid in Egypt to cover her sister’s debt. Shyima worked seven days a week, from early in the morning until late at night. She slept in a converted room in the garage without ventilation and washed her own clothes in a bucket because she was too dirty to include them in the family laundry she did every day. Shyima never went to school, never learned English, and never saw a doctor.

Not far away, an 11-year-old had run away from her dysfunctional home looking for someone who cared. An older man befriended her, offered her a place to stay, gained her trust, and then sold her for sex.

How could these stories happen right here in the U.S.? How can we do something about it?

How Can Churches Best Respond?
Churches have a natural platform from which to contribute to many aspects of combatting human trafficking and slavery. A church shares common values and an established infrastructure, and it already engages in serving the community and meeting needs. The passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000 generated new awareness of human trafficking and the need for community education. As a result, many pastors and lay leaders rallied their congregations to respond to the crisis. However, as we study the patterns of human trafficking and slavery, it is clear that it is not simply a matter of rescuing victims. Intervention requires careful planning for aftercare. As this movement grows, it is imperative that efforts are sustainable and follow best practice models that ensure the safety and well-being of the volunteers, as well as the victims.

The TVPA-authorized global Trafficking in Persons Report offers guidance for community engagement in antitrafficking, using a four Ps model: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. This model identifies professional and community roles for an effective response to human trafficking. A careful assessment of a church’s expertise and resources can result in a sustainable and consistent compassion response that respects the intersection of public and private roles. The concept of engaging in the community to work together across agencies and organizations is a biblical pattern of salt and light. It is also a wise use of limited resources. A church may not have the resources to set up a residential care facility, but it can provide volunteers and even pro bono professional services, such as counseling, or English instruction for international victims.

Each congregation is unique, so there are no one-size-fits all strategies. However, a successful partnership begins with the following three steps.

1. Identify your expertise and resources. Prepare to join the battle is assessing available expertise and resources. This evaluation should include existing ministries, member skills and community activities. Many plans to fight human trafficking begin with, “Let’s start …” (fill in the blank). But the church may already have a ministry that is part of a critical prevention strategy, such as an afterschool program in a high-risk neighborhood. In addition, members may have years of children’s education experience, and facilities may include classrooms furnished by age group. Local expertise and resources can bridge the critical gap in prevention.

2. Study the issue and the language. Learn more about human trafficking — what it is and why it happens. Learn the correct terminology relating to trafficking laws and victim services. Common language will improve the interface with law enforcement and victim services, and it will reduce the risk of using language that misrepresents the crime and dehumanizes victims. It is important to understand that the media uses language that sells newspapers or attracts viewers and may often sensationalize at the cost of personal dignity.

3. Assess local need. Focus particularly on issues that increase the likelihood of someone exploiting youth and adults for labor or commercial sex. As a practitioner, I often wonder at the passion and resources local congregations invest in faraway places, without demonstrating awareness of the needs in their own backyards. A community assessment will uncover risk for modern slavery in labor markets, as well as commercial sexual exploitation. I recommend that groups begin with a simple exercise. Draw a tree, and ask the group to identify problems they can see in their community as leaves. For instance, one congregation identified homeless youth as a leaf. Another added poverty and a hypersexualized culture. Then look for the roots. Why are there so many homeless youth, and how can we help? The congregation learned that the local school district had a homeless student liaison that needed volunteers. It was not as exciting as going out on a rescue at 1:00 a.m., but it became an extremely rewarding community partnership that was sustainable and made a difference. It was salt and light. Additionally, it avoided unintentionally placing victims or volunteers in harm’s way.

A small urban church assessed its expertise and resources in relationship to the need in the community. The church was located only a block from a middle school and had classrooms (resource) it used only twice a week. Two of the members were experienced teachers (expertise). The church did not have significant financial resources, but members learned about the existing NetSmartz cyber-safety prevention resources, developed and funded in a public-private partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the FBI. The church offered an after-school Internet safety class, an excellent prevention tool that told neighbors, “We care about your children.”

Many local, state and federal programs need volunteers and partners to continue serving victims of human trafficking. Professionals within a local church often volunteer to provide victims with pro bono services, including dentistry, healthcare, counseling, life skills mentoring and even haircuts. These are examples of partnership, the fourth P for building a community safety net using expertise and resources. Community partnerships reduce duplication of efforts and steward limited resources well. Plunging in without careful evaluation and then winding up unable to sustain commitments can damage a church’s reputation.

A Biblical Prevention Model
Churches are already in a biblical position for prevention. Consider the first recorded example of child slavery prevention found in 2 Kings 4:1–7. The widow went to Elisha and told him creditors were going to take her two sons as slaves.

Debt bondage still happens today. Think about what your church would do. Take an offering to purchase their freedom? They will be back in debt again soon in order to survive. But Elisha didn’t even ask the boys’ names. Instead, he asked the widow what she had. She amended her first response from nothing to a flask of olive oil. That might have seemed like nothing to her since it was what people carried for refilling a lamp if they were going to be out after dark, much like carrying a spare battery. It wasn’t enough for cooking even one meal. Elisha instructed her to borrow jars from everyone, which engaged the entire community in what was happening. Then he told her to close the door and start pouring. God showed up, and when every jar was full, Elisha told her to sell the oil, pay the debts and live off the rest. He empowered the mother instead of rescuing the boys.

Two lessons among many in this story are that Elisha did not focus on the boys — no photos, no offering. He empowered the mother. Second, God showed up. Without God, human trafficking — slavery — is hopeless. The Church must show up. God created the Church to make a difference.

Becoming a community partner in the battle against human trafficking grows a church’s community presence. The church must play by the rules, avoid taking shortcuts and promote excellence in everything. Protecting the dignity and privacy of victims is a fundamental standard across the spectrum of professionals working to end human trafficking. It is even more vital for churches that understand the sacred call to serve the widow, the orphan and “the least of these” — people God created in His image.