When the Truth Isn’t Pretty

This a clip from the show “The Newsroom.” But before anyone goes making any types of assumptions, let me say this up front …

I am proud to be an American — so much so that I wore the uniform of the U.S. military and stood, along with others, for the freedoms that we all enjoy. I love my country, but it’s an honest love (just like a parent loves their child but still doesn’t like every choice that they make). I am not so blinded by the political superstars of the day to believe that everything about our country, my country, is perfect. Contrary to what they tell us, we DO NOT live in a land of rainbows and roses where unicorns are the mode of transportation and everyone loves everyone else. We, as people who live here and as a nation, have made some bad choices and we are having to walk out the consequences of those choices.

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Are You a Spectator or Participant?

The dictionary defines a spectator as “a person viewing anything; onlooker; observer.” A participant is defined as “a person who is involved in an activity or event.” So my question tonight is this: Which one are you?

Earlier this week, we got the phone call that Bishop had been admitted to the hospital and was in the ICU with heart issues. As we prayed and worried (yes, we did that too), we figured that things would (at the very least) slow down at Bishop Outreach. Thing is, Bishop isn’t a big fan of slowing down because, as he has said a million times, the traffickers don’t slow down and the victims don’t get sick time. So – nutshell version – less than 24 hours after leaving the ICU, Bishop was back at work. Less than 48 hours after leaving, he was working the ongoing case while planning out a rescue in another state.

Bishop is a participant with a level of dedication that is very rarely seen. Can you look in the mirror and honestly tell yourself that your level of participation even comes close?

When you see a need for a rescue being posted online, what do you do? Is your level of participating just clicking the “like” button on Facebook? I’m sorry if this hurts anyone’s feelings, but clicking like (or even sharing a post on social media) doesn’t make you a participant. That’s still at the spectator level.

The fight against human trafficking is going to take participants – not spectators – if we’re going to even make a dent in it. Don’t get me wrong – I know that different people are called into different “lanes.” Not all will be built or called to wade into the darkness to bring the victims out, but there are so many other things that you can do to move beyond just being a spectator…

  • There is a need for donations – airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, gas and food don’t come cheap and those things are all part of the rescue process.
  • There is a need for personal items for the victims themselves. The traffickers don’t pack a travel bag for them and more often than not, they have nothing more than the clothes on their backs when they get out.
  • There is a need for aftercare and safe houses. (And yes – those places need funding, staff volunteers and items too.)

At the end of the day, you can be the most “liked” person on Facebook with millions of likes and shares and it won’t pull one trafficking victim out of the darkness. You can be re-tweeted so many times that you become “twitter famous,” but re-tweets don’t put kids back in their own beds. Regardless of how big your “social reach” is, popularity doesn’t save kids – it just makes you a popular spectator.

My challenge for you tonight is to leave spectatorhood behind and become a participant. Do whatever you can. Do SOMETHING that moves you out of the stands and into the arena. Jesus was not a spectator – He was a Savior. He didn’t create you to be a spectator – He created you to be a conqueror.

Anti-Gang Back to School Tips

Parents should be made very aware of the fact that the last several years have seen the increasing rise of school-based Modern Street Gangs. Interestingly, federal surveys indicated this trend in gang activity about five years ago. Thus it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure they have ‘gang proofed’ their OWN children, each and every school day. The reason why many parents and guardians are often the last-to-know about gang activity in their child’s school is because of the confidentiality rules which are in place, used and created by many school districts to protect them AND the students which they serve.

The police officers who work IN the schools are ‘bound’ by the same confidentiality rules, and can be overruled by school administrators on arresting students–event those who have committed crimes on school property. It may be great to have more cops in schools for safety, but those same cops add an ‘extra layer of bureaucracy’, sometimes working against parents when it comes to finding out what is ‘really’ going on after the school bell rings, as the school corporation is paying (a portion) of their salary.

Here are several tips on how to gang-proof your kids as the school year begins:

1. Explain to your child (even in grade school) about the reality of gangs and gang recruiters (a.k.a. bullies) whom they may come into contact with in the school setting AND the importance of telling a teacher, an administrator, or other school staff about negative contacts. Also, let them know about their right to defend themselves.

2. Let your child know that you will be searching their electronic devices AND Internet contacts on a regular basis. Violations of your policies will result in the confiscation of such devices. Best that you search now, than the cops searching later!

3. Get your child used to the idea that you WILL be visiting their school to check on them on a regular basis INCLUDING their lockers, backpacks, etc. for contraband such as drugs, clothing, weapons, burglary tools, or other items.

4. Lastly, be AWARE of what ‘gang cliques’ operate in your child’s school AND do some on-line homework about gang signs and symbols. Keep your ears open!
Remember parents: its YOUR primary job to keep YOUR OWN child safe!

Guest post by: Mike Ramey
Mike Ramey is the Chief Instructor of ‘The Gang Line’, a company that trains law enforcement and non-law enforcement clients in dealing with gang issues from biblical and criminal perspectives. Reasonable Rates.
RameysGangLine@yahoo.com © 2013, Barnstorm Communications.

Choices

It’s funny. When I first started working with Bishop and the team, I prepared myself mentally and spiritually for a lot of things. I prepared myself to …

  1. Be angry (even enraged) on behalf of the people being victimized by traffickers
  2. Be hurt (cut to the bone) as my heart ached for those being trafficked
  3. Be disillusioned by a system that is struggling to keep up with the bad guys, knowing that the system has rules and regulations to follow and the bad guys make it up as they go
  4. Feel “let down” by people who either a.) don’t get it b,) don’t believe human trafficking goes on here in our “safe” country or c.) talk a good game about all they’ll do to help and then do nothing because the sun came up and their own kids stayed safe so it moved out of their minds.

What I did not prepare for was those we bring out and their emotional state once they realize they are “free.” I was not prepared for how overwhelming giving them “choice” back would be.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/42386632@N00/

Photo by: Lauren Macdonald

Let me explain. Yes, I understood that victims of human trafficking were just that – victims. I got it that they weren’t given choice over whether they could stay or whether they could go, whether they could participate or not, whether they could be people vs. being property. But I never looked beyond that to the day to day lives that they were living.

One moment in time changed all of that and more moments have come since that have truly opened my eyes and my heart.

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The Gang Line Modern Street Gangs

As Chief Instructor of THE GANG LINE, I address the MSG (Modern Street Gang) issue from the additional vantage point of the spiritual dangers–something few in law enforcement, government or even the church are willing to tackle.

A few years back, the movie West Side Story celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sadly, many government agencies still view gangs as operating on that movie.

The new chapter of the Modern Street Gang goes back to the year 2001–the year the Twin Towers fell in New York City. Thanks to modern communications, an ever expanding Internet, and innovations such as Google, You Tube and Facebook, the gang member of today can recruit at will, cause havoc on a whim, and terrorize from the shadows. That’s why I have designated the gangs of today as ‘Modern Street Gangs’. Their attitude, bearing, aim and recruiting objectives from the top to the bottom are aimed at making money by any means necessary. Unlike their predecessors, MSGs are criminal enterprises and are NOT ashamed to be associated with crime; be it ‘blue collar’ or ‘white collar.’ Gang members of today are equally adept at using a gun–or a computer.

They also view themselves as a religion. Their ‘Constitutions’ are their ‘Holy Bible.’ They are fueled by witchcraft, drugs, liquor and sex. Their ‘street taxes’ and ‘dues’ are their tithes and offerings. Even their signs, symbols and colors are stolen from the KJV Bible, Christianity, Catholicism, Freemasonry, Islam, and Fraternities/Sororities.

MSGs have crossed racial lines, sexual lines, and risen above ‘turf’ bickering. Even in war zones, many of the major ‘food groups’ of the gang scene (Hell’s Angels, Bloods, Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, MS-13 and 18th Street–among others) have had their tags and their colors flying proudly…along with the Stars and Stripes.

The FIRST thing one should remember; a gang–ANY gang–is composed of individuals. Government grants and studies do NOT impress gang members. Gangs have used prayer marches and prayer vigils as recruitment tools. Bangers (my own designation) are not scared of judges, politicians, reporters, cops, or socials workers.

However, hit them with the gospel of Jesus Christ and it will DESTROY them. More To Come.

Guest post by: Mike Ramey

Mike Ramey is the Chief Instructor of ‘The Gang Line’, a company that trains law enforcement and non-law enforcement clients in dealing with gang issues from a spiritual and criminal perspective. Reasonable Rates. RameysGangLine@yahoo.com © 2013, Barnstorm Communications. Use granted to Bishop Outreach Ministries.

My Prayer For Today

I just want to say Thank You to all of you for all that you do. I think that God has placed all together to make the Fight Against Human Trafficking one well oiled machine. We all play a vital roll in prevention, intervention, re-entry, and recovery. I wish for just one moment we could all put our stones down and see that if we all work together we could cover more area be heard louder.

I love you all and I Pray for organizations to have great success and I pray that you can show a true image of Christ to the victims and show them His love that is unconditional and SO awesome. I pray that they will feel the acceptance that a lot of them starve for. Acceptance of your love, Lord. I pray a hedge of protection and healing around the victims, all organizations, volunteers, and survivors. In Jesus Name Amen….. Now let’s go tomorrow and show love and hope to the hopeless.

God Bless,

Bishop

The Thug Commandments

Unlike their predecessors, MSGs–Modern Street Gangs as I call them–are all about the illegal. They use technology and any other means to make money for their particular group or set. Modern Street Gangs have crossed color lines, sex lines, and international boundaries. They are as far away as a pair of sneakers over a telephone line, and as near as your Ipad. They are also not above using force–up to and including murder–to achieve their ends.

One other thing. Modern gangs view themselves as a “religion,” which is something else which has ‘flipped the script’ in how they must be approached. A few years ago, the Mafia had its own “Ten Commandments” made public for the very first time. There is also a code of the streets regarding our Modern Street Gangs which I have aptly titled “The Thug Commandments.” Here they are, and remember where you saw them:

THE THUG COMMANDMENTS:

I. Thou Shall Be Willing To Sacrifice Thyself For Thy Gang
II. Thy Gang Colors Shall Always Be Regarded As Holy
III. Thy Gang Leader Shall Be Thy god & Worthy Of Thy Devotion And Worship
IV. Thou Shall Lie To Anyone To Protect Thy Gang
V. Thou Shall Murder Anyone To Advance Thy Gang
VI. Thou Shall Steal From Anyone To Enrich Thy Gang
VII. Thy Gang Is To Be Held Above Thy Parents And Family; Above Thy School And Church
VIII. Thou Shall Recruit Anyone Deemed Acceptable For Thy Gang
IX. Thou Shall Keep All Thy Gang’s Secrets
X. Thou Shall Represent Thy Gang At All Times & All Places

Guest post by: Mike Ramey

Mike Ramey is the Chief Instructor of ‘The Gang Line’, a company that trains law enforcement and non-law enforcement clients in dealing with gang issues from a spiritual and criminal perspective. Reasonable Rates. RameysGangLine@yahoo.com © 2013, Barnstorm Communications.