The Service Corps experience

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Testimonial: Washington, D.C.

by Rachel Thieme –

Rachel with kids at VBS

As an intern with The Salvation Army World Service Office in Washington, D.C., I spent the summer learning about and assisting with projects to fight human trafficking and to promote fair trade.

I dedicated hours to developing my knowledge of human trafficking, researching assigned projects and participating in the happenings of our nation’s capital. I attended congressional briefings, meetings and documentary viewings on the subject of human trafficking. I even had lunch with Dr. Laura Lederer, the senior advisor on human trafficking at the Department of State!

This summer, I learned one huge lesson: There is a story behind everything. Advertisements and the entertainment industry send messages that subtly play into people’s self-worth. The prostituted person on the corner has a story to tell, usually having a lot to do with manipulation and coercion. Even chocolate is not innocent; slavery still exists on cocoa plantations. Fair trade products tell the opposite story of farmers being paid a living wage for their supply.

Aside from working at the office, I was able to use my time visiting the local corps and volunteering at a few vacation Bible schools. It was refreshing for me to be around kids, as that is really where my heart is. One night I sat next to 9-year-old DeJuan as the other kids moved forward to ask Jesus into their hearts. I looked over to see tears running down his cheeks. His brother came over to ask what was wrong and DeJuan said, “I was just thinking about all the bad things I’ve done.” The conviction of the Holy Spirit was so real to this little boy. I asked if he thought he was going to heaven and he shrugged his shoulders. I asked if he loved God and he said, “Yes.” I said he could pray with me and tell God that he loves him and wants to live for him forever. The next night I asked DeJuan, “Are you going to heaven?” He shouted back to me, “Yes! God is so good!”

God challenged me to see beyond what first meets the eye, but also to meet the need right in front of me.

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