Joy Lippard Hanna, a worship leader and Northern Virginia native, shared with us recently how she went from discovering human trafficking exists to tangibly helping victims.
Joy learned about trafficking at the Passion Conference in 2013 when Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission, shared stories about girls sold into sex slavery.
"I was broken hearted. I felt helpless,” she said. "I was angry too. Angry and disheartened that people could do such a thing to other human beings. I felt a bit confused as well, and couldn’t comprehend why I had never heard about this problem before and how as Christians we could ever turn a blind eye to such violence and oppression.”
But God doesn’t leave us in the dark. Often the answer, “What now?” is to keep using the talents we already have.
"I remember sitting in the arena and asking God what He wanted me to do in response to what I had just learned. Believing God has gifted me with a passion and talent for songwriting and singing, I prayed that He would “give me a song” to bring awareness to the issue,” Joy said.
God did more than that: He gave her a whole album of songs, inspired by a missions strip to Cebu, Philippines, and input from local survivors.
Joy wrote her first two songs for the album after her trip to Cebu, and sang them at an event she hosted at her church that fall. But it wasn’t the end— she felt God challenging her to do more.
“In all honesty, I was feeling pretty good about myself and felt I had checked the box 'do something practical about the problem of human trafficking,'but God was prompting my heart to do more,” Joy said. "I had prayed for just one song but I sensed Him saying, 'no, Joy, a full album of songs!' And thus began the project to record an album of songs to raise awareness about trafficking and encourage its victims with the hope and truth of Jesus Christ.”
The first and most important step in getting involved, Joy said, is prayer. Pray for victims; pray for an end to trafficking; and pray for guidance in how to get involved, whether that means volunteering with a local organization or sending a care package to victims like those Restore Innocence sends through the FBI and Homeland Security.
If you would like to volunteer with NOVA HTI, please use our contact page to get in touch with us. We would love to help you get involved!
Joy’s album, Set Free, includes songs of encouragement and freedom, as well as a call to action to the church. It is available on iTunes, and proceeds benefit Lily House in the Dominican Republic.