Beloveds, here is a remarkable story of a brave woman who simply said yes to Jesus’ call on her life. Andrea Marie is the founder of Disarm the Dark, but she will tell you how God threaded this ministry together for her – she just simply followed His commands no matter the cost. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a cup of coffee with Andrea, and I was blown away by her knowledge of the Bible and her confidence in what God has called her to do. Keep in mind this call is not just about a sex trafficking rescue effort – it is something much deeper than that. It is a movement that reaches out before the girl considers entering into an abusive relationship and a response to a call that’s placed on every Christian’s life – the call of discipleship.
Please keep reading,
I met The Simply Beloved early in the summer of 2014, and it seemed enough to know that it existed, honest and beautiful. I was struck by the honor of being able to contribute a bit of our story to this series.
The questions asked by The Simply Beloved remained with me all summer – speaking up for themselves and going unanswered, calling to mind all our history held together by loose threads and still lacking resolve.
The splendor of all that God has done in the last seven years has humbled my life to the bone.
For the moment, I am in my kitchen in Montreal, kettle on the stove and windows open because it’s still warm even this late into September. Everything is quiet.
I have no idea what my life will look like in a month, only that this ministry is the vessel that is being used to pour it out. I have learned that there are two things that are very costly: grace and a “Yes” that you don’t take back.
Disarm the Dark is the proof of both.
How did God call you to create Disarm the Dark?
Trafficking was something that I was aware of, something that held my attention with a bit more gravity than other worthy causes, but my priorities were elsewhere.
Much like every trafficking scenario, it was the simplest “yes” that set the whole thing into motion.
Our lives are brimming with the run-off of so many flash flood inspirations – things meant and then melted into other interests. It was the simplest moment of the Holy Spirit forming a yes “to pray” in my heart.
I asked my pastor if we could pray about trafficking and came armed to the teeth with facts, figures, and all the ways this absolutely wouldn’t disrupt church life. He said no.
And then he explained the significant role of women throughout church history, ones who altered the course of civil rights movements by living radically gospel-centered lives within their homes, communities, and church bodies. He told me that he wouldn’t let me do this unless I took full responsibility for what was placed on my heart.
He told me to come back in a week. And within that week, Disarm the Dark fell out of basically nothing.
From the beginning we have had the sense that Disarm is something we’ve been entrusted with, a beautiful detail in all that God is doing – a lesser light. We have watched this ministry form itself, consistent with the aspect of God’s creative character that we often overlook: Absence.
When I read the creation account, I am in awe that God took the time to contextualize Himself through what He could have accomplished in a single sentence, that from the very start, He would humble Himself into the constraints of time and space in order to illuminate His singular intent: the formation of relationship for the sake of His glory.
He is a God who is interested in creating both wonder and governance, establishing boundaries and a true rendering of Himself in all of creation – all so that we can know Him.
All of creation and everything that came after has been about the absence of relationship.
Absence has in every way been more formative to Disarm than any splendor. We never set out to create Disarm or anything that it actually is, and periodically everything gets stolen, lost, broken and erased – so we have to start over.
Disarm the Dark has spun itself quietly out of the recognition of that absence: the absence of Jesus even among Christian-based efforts in the anti-trafficking movement, the absence of existing instruments to help contextualize the reality of trafficking through scripture to the local church and, consequently, the absence of His glory.
Briefly explain your purpose, goals and dreams:
Disarm the Dark is an abolition collective aimed at the prevention of trafficking in persons and the provision of sustainable outcomes. We work to mobilize church communities and relevant stakeholders to recognize root causes, undermine risk factors, and build community resilience.
Almost all the current focus in anti-trafficking movements today is on rescue and relief; with many awareness campaigns using poorly sourced statistics, emotionalism and oversimplified claims to freedom in order to fund it all. Meanwhile, recruitment into trafficking continues to outpace rescue efforts simply because we find victims more compelling than the vulnerable.
At Disarm our focus is on sustainability, on the priority and paradigm shifts that lead to reaching others before they need to be rescued. All of our work is aimed at increased coordination of existing resources, capacity building, and what it means to live authentically as Christians in the midst of it.
As for me personally, I just want to be a really good woman – one day a wife.
What are some of your greatest challenges and how do you overcome them?
Disarm does not fit naturally into the conventional anti-trafficking movement, and we find ourselves often being confused with an awareness campaign and all the assumptions that go with that. Our greatest challenge has been coping with the way in which our ministry doesn’t quite make sense in any of the available frameworks, including those related to funding.
Our work does not meet granting priorities, which, when coupled with our conviction not to associate any cost with our ministry, makes things interesting. In accordance with the book of Nehemiah as well as the letters of Paul, we are convinced that God will stir people’s hearts to provide for this ministry with all joy, according to His will – so we do not believe in fundraising or asking other people to do this as their way of combatting trafficking.
The challenge is to not let finance be a source of fear in our lives, and especially my own; to not let the needs of our ministry direct the work, to become something we’re not so that others find it more “accessible,” which is usually the reason we’re given for why we should become an non-governmental organization (NGO) or omit the gospel from being the centerpiece of our ministry.
I have learned to wait on God and live humbly.
We are blessed to have the church family that we do. They have protected this ministry and me, every step of the way. Again and again I am awestruck, just watching the little miracles fall like rain, providing just enough out of nothing.
How can we as the body of Christ get involved in this movement?
- Don’t believe the hype. Consider the sources, motivations, and the effectiveness of what you see and hear.
- Learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Justice is not the act of identifying who is at fault.
- Let your life be such a simple rendering of the gospel that there is nothing else extraordinary about you.
- Connect with groups in your community that are undermining factors of vulnerability, serve + serve.
- Connect with us. Invite us to visit with you, your community, your church. Apply for an internship (these can be done remotely) and let us hear what God is putting on your heart.
What verse do you live by? Words of exhortation?
“For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
Prevention is not for the weak at heart. The results are unmeasurable and very few people are willing to commit to something that makes it so impossible to count their accomplishments. We believe that God knows intimately the needs of His people, and God knows what is required to overcome oppression. If we do not add or detract from the words of this Book, Jesus will bring about the victory.
We can lean the weight of everything we know on the truth that the gospel is God’s instrument for justice – that the Word of God is His action plan and that He will restore everything to glory, with or without us (Malachi 3).
However, we must be willing to offer the whole: the setting free of the captives alongside the suffering of the saints.
It may not seem like too small a thing to surrender your life to the simplicity of the gospel – at least not enough to end modern slavery. But God’s words, which “framed the firmament and caused the dawn to know its place; that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth” (Job 38), are more than enough.
Let your “yes” be to His glory, and live in the present, because that is where joy is kept.
And His joy will be your strength.