Recently, I attended The NET’s Purchased Training for the first time and had such an amazing experience, I immediately volunteered to write a blog post about it. But, as I sat down to write, I found myself at a loss for words. How do you condense six hours of personal testimony, documentary clips, and statistical facts into a fun anecdote and a moral of the story in 600 words or less?
The truth is, you can’t. I wrote – and quickly deleted – the beginnings of several posts about what stood out to me at Purchased training: the heartbreaking truth that these women believe that their abusive, trafficking “boyfriends” (read: pimps) love them because they have nothing better to compare it to; the incredible hope I felt at seeing a room packed full of people who wanted to learn and serve; or, the shocking reality that no matter where you live in Fort Worth, there is a woman enslaved within a five-mile radius of you. But while all of these aspects of training were incredibly important, none seemed to truly capture the essence of what went on in that room that day.
What did, I realized, was a small, nearly off-topic speech that our beloved Founder and Executive Director, Melissa Ice, gave.
“I just want you all to know,” she said sheepishly to one hundred faces, looking at her with awe after hearing about the horrible acts that go on in our city and what she has done- and is doing- to fight against it, “that I am not an incredible person. I am not this super woman who is amazing at loving and serving and started The NET because this is what I’m good at. In fact, my staff will tell you that I am not actually even very good at my job, and that is why God brought my staff to me – to be better at this than I am. I’m just a regular woman, who opened her Bible, and realized that I needed to be obedient to God’s command to care for the poor and the oppressed. So, I went out and did it, and that’s how we got here.”
While I think I can speak for the rest of The NET Team when I say that Melissa is pretty great, and any one of us would be quick to praise her, she is right. The Purchased program – and The NET as a whole for that matter – is not made up of a group of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things and getting extraordinary results. Rather, it is made up of a group of ordinary, broken sinners who have the incredible privilege of serving an extraordinary God. A God so extraordinary, He sent His Son to die so that we could walk in freedom. We have been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and that means that no one can put a price tag on us. And because of the overwhelming beauty of this truth, we get to go out onto the streets and into the jails, and tell women the same thing.
You are loved. You have been saved. You deserve more. You are not worthless. You are not meant for this life. And you are not for sale.
So, while I could have written a summary about “What We Learned Today” so that anyone reading this could get a crash-course, SparkNotes version of Purchased Training, this is honestly what I hope people will take away:
You do not need to be superman or superwoman in order to make a difference. You just need to get educated, be obedient to Jesus, and allow Him to be extraordinary.