By Jayson Bronkhorst
I am training for a half marathon at the end of May (no, that is not me pictured). Having never ran in training for something before, I am following a half marathon training plan that tells me how much to run each day.
Today I was scheduled to run four miles.
About mile two I started to hit a mental wall and wanted to slow down and walk.
As I turned the corner on the path I was running, I saw a large, full-grown rottweiler standing among some bushes sniffing. He was not on a leash, and there was no owner in sight.
As I ran past him, he looked up at me and started making growling noises. I just kept running. Then he started to run up behind me and next to me, making more noises and bumping into me. I thought to myself,
"Dear Lord, take me quickly."
I ran faster.
About a tenth of a mile up, I came upon an old man walking. As I passed him, he graced me with his reassurances:
"Oh, don't worry, he's never bitten anybody."
The rest of the run, as I was processing what had just happened, I was thinking about how much it relates to 30 for Freedom, the run I am training for, and its cause.
30 for Freedom began last year with the vision of a man named Brent Silkey: to see 30 of his friends run 30 miles on his 30th birthday to raise $30,000 to fight sex trafficking and the horrors that abound within it.
All told, hundreds joined and the amount raised was over $80,000.
This year, Brent wanted to do it again. But this time, the new goal is to get 750 people to run a 5k, half marathon or 30 miler to raise $250,000.
Human trafficking is largely an untold story in this generation. Upwards of 4 million women and children are caught in this massive market in our world today, and on average, a new victim every 30 seconds.
My run today was on a lonely path in the woods. It's likely that nobody would have even known if I got taken out by that dog, maybe not even the old man. And it probably would have taken a day or two for people to realize I was even missing.
I thought about the victims of human trafficking.
Many are just average people picked out by their oppressors. Some of them know what is happening, and some have no idea what's going on. But those who run the industry know and hunt like dogs - they are capturing and exploiting the innocent. This is modern day slavery.
But there is hope. It starts with awareness, and continues with a willingness to fight for those who cannot.
All funds raised from 30 for Freedom will go directly to the phenomenal anti-trafficking work done by Project Rescue, F.R.E.E. International and Venture.
I have set a goal of $1,000. You can back my goal or sign up for yourself.
What can you do?