“To shine a light on human trafficking in East Texas” – that is the theme, design, and purpose of Nightwalk of Hope sponsored by For the Silent every spring. Saturday, April 27, was a beautiful evening with perfect weather for families and supporters to gather at Southside Park in Tyler and enjoy food trucks, bounce houses, live music, face painting and learning more about the reality of sex trafficking here in our own community. What a contrast of festive celebration to call attention to a devastating, destructive, life-shattering truth. Several Bethel members were among the crowd. When asked why they were there, the answers were a perfect reflection of why this event is held. Ivette Zavarce and her husband, who attend Bethel Hope, are well familiar with For the Silent and came, “To be a voice to support FTS and bring awareness to human trafficking.” Ivette strongly believes an impact can be made, “If we all get together and fight against it.” But many of those mingling and enjoying the festivities were learning of FTS for the first time. When John Ray and Tania Morales, who attends Bethel South (and sometimes Bethel Hope) were asked why they attended, John Ray laughed and said it was because my wife saw on Facebook that several of their friends were coming, it looked like a good cause, and it looked fun! They had never heard of For the Silent and the mission and scope of the organization. But now they know, and that’s what this event was designed to do – bring awareness to the cause and ministry of For the Silent.
The Nightwalk of Hope is simple but powerful. Hundreds of people lining up at dusk with lighted lanterns to walk a two-mile section of Rose Rudman Trail to shed light on the darkness in our culture, and to bring awareness to this organization that is actively working to end sex trafficking and exploitation by empowering the voices of vulnerable and exploited youth (FTS Mission Statement). If you would like to learn more about For the Silent, visit their website https://www.forthesilent.org/.
-Marty Putman, Bethel Hope Member