In the face of the unthinkable, hope exists. This vision drives the work at Willow International where survivors are empowered to heal from trauma and pursue their God-given potential. Through restorative aftercare services focused on holistic care, many men, women, and children come to know the Lord and are able to move past the pain they have endured.
Barnabas Group member Todd Tripp first learned of Willow through a business event. He met Kelsey Galaway, Willow’s Founder & Executive Director, and his eyes were opened to the global epidemic.
“Kelsey shared with me the issues that are surrounding human sex trafficking in Uganda, the United States, and around the world,” Todd said. “I had no idea that it was affecting so many millions of people, and that on average one million new victims per year were being illegally trafficked.”
After hearing about the issue, Todd wanted to help and his church already had a trip to Uganda scheduled. They had planned to visit a school in Gulu where another ministry was sharing the gospel and educating over 300 kids. Todd suggested they check out Willow while in the area.
“I introduced the idea of visiting Willow to see if our church would be a good fit as a church partner for their ministry, “ Todd said. “Our mission’s pastors agreed it would be good to see Willow firsthand and so we went.”
During their time with Willow, the group witnessed the level of individualized care and attention provided to each survivor, as well as the lasting results of Willow’s best-in-class services.
“When we arrived on site we saw the amount of work and care that went into the full restoration of these victims, and also what it looked like on the other side of that restoration as many had returned to health and had begun to gain education, job experience and in some situations the gift of reuniting with their family and or beginning families of their own,” Todd said.
The success achieved by survivors was not the only thing that stood out to Todd about Willow’s program.
“This organization is run by top-flight professional caregivers who think long-term, strategically, and compassionately about the victims they serve.” Todd said. “Many of the primarily women’s leadership team have advanced degrees and would be welcomed additions in the private sector to top-notch organizations if God were not calling them to serve at Willow.”
The firsthand experience with Willow left a lasting impression on Todd and his fellow travelers. His church is now a ministry partner with Willow and Todd is looking forward to continuing to advance Willow’s work and putting an end to human trafficking.