Monday, December 9, 2013

Going full-time ministry with Love In Action

Some decisions are easier than others. The one I recently made to leave a successful 22-year journalism career to become a full-time minister was both easy and hard.

For those who haven't heard, last month, a week before Thanksgiving, I gave my bosses at the Dothan Eagle my resignation letter. My last day at the Eagle will be Dec. 20.

It was easy because Martha and I both know it's God's will for us to take this step of faith together. It's always been a goal since co-founding LIA nearly 14 years ago to eventually be in full-time ministry, but the timing hasn't been right.

Martha and I both felt God was moving us in that direction more than a year ago, so we started praying and seeking His will even more the past year. Throughout the year, God showed us more and more clearly that it was time. In October, we made the decision. A month later, I took the final step of handing in my resignation.

It was hard, because I truly love the career God has blessed me with for the past 22 years. Many of the people I work for, work with and who work for me have been colleagues for most of my career. It's hard saying goodbye to people who are like family. My staff in the Eagle newsroom are great people. I truly love and care about them. Telling them I was leaving was very hard.

The toughest part as far as the testing of our faith was saying goodbye to a good salary. The Eagle has been very good to us. Martha and I have wanted for nothing. However, we have worked hard over the years to get rid of debt so we would be in position when this time came. There is a great freedom when you are not buried in debt. Selling my "sweet" Chevy pickup was the last step in getting rid of debt, other than our house mortgage.

My retirement from the newspaper industry obviously opens the doors to spending more time in ministry. That means reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ locally, nationally and internationally. In fact, since Martha and I made the decision in October, many opportunities have opened up. It's interesting how God didn't open those doors until we made the decision that we were, indeed, going to trust Him with everything.

Martha and I will be busy traveling the next few months. We will lead a team to Haiti Dec. 21-28, then on Jan. 15, we will leave for six weeks in Asia. We will be in China, Myanmar and Philippines. The doors God has opened in Asia are amazing. As we move closer we will announce more about it. However, we won't be able to publicly tell everything. Some areas we are going are not safe, so for security reasons we will remain silent about those areas until after the ministry is done. Even then we won't divulge exactly where we were so we can go back for return trips and for the safety of the new Christians who will be in those areas.

The ministry in Dothan will remain as strong as ever while we're in Asia as we have very strong leaders and dedicated volunteers who know how everything works and how the ministry is done. That's why team-building is so important, and we have the best team ever. Team LIA is dedicated to carrying out the Great Commission, and our volunteers are trained how to do it. We are very blessed and thank God daily for our team.

As Martha and I transition into this new chapter of our lives and of LIA, we need your prayers. Please keep us lifted up in prayer as we move forward in this exciting plan God has for us. We also invite those who want to be involved with LIA to come join us. The best way is just come out to one of our outreaches, or to several of them, and see which one God is leading you to do. There will be even more opportunities in the near future locally and for mission trips nationally and internationally. Come join us carrying out Jesus' Great Commission.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Collect treasures in Heaven this Christmas

Looking to give the perfect gift this Christmas? Why not give a gift to Love In Action International Ministries in honor of those on your Christmas list? Instead of a gift that will more than likely be put in a drawer, closet or attic, why not make an investment in the kingdom of God in honor of those special people in your life?

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21: "Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Your financial giving helps the homeless and needy here in our hometown of Dothan, AL, and helps reach unreached people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in countries like the Philippines, Myanmar and Haiti. It helps provide food for malnourished children, build churches in Third World nations and so much more.

So this Christmas, give the gift that will last for all eternity. Build up for yourself treasure in Heaven.

You can mail your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. In the memo of your check write "In Honor of (the name of the person you are giving for.) We will send you a letter to give that person(s) explaining how you gave in their honor.

You can also give online via PayPal by clicking this link and then scroll down and click on the "Give A Donation."

Thank you and God bless you. Merry Christmas.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's time to give up our 'rights' for the sake of the Gospel

Why is it we Americans are so obsessed with comfort? I'm guessing the main reason is that's all most of us have ever known. We were born in the most prosperous nation in history.

Most of us have electricity, running water and a roof  over our heads. We have air conditioning in our houses, cars, work places and churches, and heat when the weather turns cold.

We can drive up to a fast-food restaurant and purchase food, but don't make us wait more than a couple of minutes or we'll get upset. We have stores like Walmart and Sam's Club where we can purchase bags, jars and boxes of food so large we could feed everyone living on our street, but we store it in our pantry and keep it for ourselves.

We can watch every sporting event and movie with the push of a button on a remote control that operates our 42-inch or 80-inch TV. If we want to feel spiritual, we can turn the TV or radio to a Christian station and then move on from there.

We drive our cars, trucks and motorcycles everywhere, because our roads are very smooth. OK, there are pot holes, but have you ever driven on roads in Third World nations? You would appreciate our pot holes after that experience. We drive around and around parking lots wasting precious fuel until someone finally backs out of a parking spot close to the store's front doors. Don't make us park in the back where we have to actually walk 100 yards to the store or we'll pout.

Good grief. We are one spoiled nation. Granted, not everyone in the U.S. have all of these luxuries, but the majority of Americans do. Why did God bless us with so much? Was it because He was worried that we would be like most of the world and not have timers on our coffee makers so we would have fresh coffee as we wake up in the mornings, or because we deserve to have plenty of water to thoroughly soak our manicured lawns? For some reason I don't think that's it.

I think God had something else in mind. Do you think it could be to carry out the Great Commission Jesus gives us in Matthew 28:18-20. Most Christians are very familiar with those verses, and most can quote them verbatim. That's nice, but does it really matter if we accurately quote scripture, but rarely, if ever, do what God says? It's about as effective as having water in the desert, but never drinking it.

How can people who say they are followers of Jesus with resources to help others not do anything to help their neighbor who is a single mother, works two jobs, and still struggles to make ends meet? Or, has an elderly neighbor who needs a ride to the grocery store, but we're too busy watching a football game to sacrifice 30 minutes of our day to help?

How can true followers of Christ see needs in countries like Haiti, Nigeria or Pakistan and not donate $100 to bring life-giving water when they have thousands in a savings account?

How can true followers of Christ not give to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups? Are we content to say, "Well, they were born in the wrong country, so going to Hell is just part of it?" The overwhelming actions, or non-actions, of Christians in our nation would lead one to surmise that.

There are many Christians in the U.S. who help their families, neighbors and homeless, and many give to help those in other nations and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups. And, many U.S. Christians do travel to Third World nations for mission trips. Unfortunately, they are the minority.

What would happen if the majority of Christians in our nation stopped putting our comforts first and started putting others first? What if the majority of American Christians started fulfilling the Great Commission by going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?  

Pastor Jeff Burnett preached a very powerful and convicting message this past Sunday at Harvest Church about this issue. His key point came from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul gave up some of his rights to win the lost. Read that chapter for yourself and meditate on it.

What rights could you give up for the sake of the Gospel? We are all about our rights here in the U.S. What if we laid some of those rights down for the sake of the Gospel ... for the sake of lost souls? Does it bother you that nearly 3 billion people are on their way to Hell because they have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It should.

Does it bother you that 80% of the world's population lives off of less than $10 a day? Does it bother you that 22,000 children die every day because of starvation, lack of fresh drinking water and curable diseases? Or, that 2.2 million children die annually because they are not immunized? Are you concerned about the 1.9 billion children in the world without safe water, adequate shelter or health services? Did you know that 1.6 billion people live without electricity?

Those are just a handful of stats that show we have a lot of work to do. The numbers can be overwhelming, but they're not numbers, they are real people. If every Christian did something, we could reach those billions of people with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

If the love of Christ is truly in us, then His love compels us to respond, to act, to proclaim His Gospel to the lost.

We think we have the right to be comfortable. What if we laid that right down and traveled to a Third World country and lived in an uncomfortable environment, even if it's for a week? What if we stopped spending so much money on things for our "rights" to be comfortable and entertained, and instead used that money to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups around the world?

What if we gave up our "rights" to be lazy and self-absorbed and spent time on the weekends helping the homeless, our elderly neighbors or single mothers, doing something for those who can't do for themselves? What if everyone who claimed to be a Christian truly followed Jesus and carried out the Great Commission? Our city, state, nation and world would be much better places. 

People will say, "But I worked hard to make the money I have." Yes you have, and that's great. But God didn't allow us to be born in the U.S. and gave us our talents and abilities to make money to be selfish with it. He could have caused you, me, and everyone else in the U.S. to be born in northern India, northern Africa, Haiti, or to a tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest. But no, He allowed us to be born in the richest nation in the history of mankind.

Let's don't sit on these blessings. Let's start using them to spread the glory of God throughout the world. The Great Commission is not just for pastors or ministry leaders. It's for every person who is a follower of Jesus. I believe we cannot be true followers of Jesus if we are not fulfilling the Great Commission. I don't see how we can be saved if we say we love Jesus, but our actions show otherwise.

If we are followers of Jesus, then He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and His love will compel us to love others, to feed the poor, to preach the Gospel to the unreached, and to give money to advance His kingdom.

Think about it. Pray about it. Do it.

I also encourage you to click here and listen to the podcast of Pastor Jeff Burnett's messaged titled "Heart for Missions." It's dated 10-13-2013.

Friday, October 11, 2013

LIA fleet gets new look

Our LIA fleet is sporting a new look. After years of not having decals, we decided to go for it.

Sherwood Signs here in Dothan, Ala., does great work at very affordable prices, and they did a terrific job putting our new LIA logo on our 15-passenger van, 14-foot box truck and cargo trailer. 

Here are photos:

 So, when you see us driving around Dothan or other areas in the Wiregrass, or as we travel for a mission trip in the U.S., say a prayer that God will use us for His glory wherever He is leading us.

Thanks and God bless.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homeless man saved

Bro. Rick with Michael, a homeless man who decided yesterday to follow Jesus.

Michael enjoying a delicious meal that Sis. Martha bought for him.

His trek started in Sarasota, Fla. ... by foot. It took about three weeks, but he finally made it to Lake City, Fla. His goal? To make it to Texas to take care of his sick uncle. A man picked him up and brought him to Dothan so he could purchase Michael a bus ticket. However, the bus station was closed and the man couldn't stay. Michael thanked him and started looking for work. He couldn't find anything, so he started asking for help. He couldn't find any, and then someone said, "Go to Love In Action and ask for Ken Tuck."

Michael did. As he walked up to LIA's office, he met a kind man with long hair. He asked, "Are you Ken?" Bro. Rick said, "No, but you're at the right place." Rick had just got home the previous morning from a two-week mission trip to Africa, but Rick is a true evangelist; he shares Jesus with everyone he meets.

Michael explained to Rick all of his problems and how nothing had worked out. He said he prayed to God, but things only got worse. Rick then asked him, "Do you know who God is?" Michael's replied, "Well, God is God." Rick then explained to him about Jesus and how he needed a personal relationship with God's only Son. Michael said he would like that, so Rick prayed with him and Michael made the decision to follow Jesus.

Rick gathered up some clothes for Michael at LIA, and packaged him up some food and hygiene items. We had two bagged lunches leftover from the Tuesday night bus outreach, so he gave Michael those as well. Then another wonderful LIA volunteer, Sis. Martha, came and they took Michael to a restaurant for lunch. Then, Rick took him to the bus station where he purchased Michael a ticket home.

Michael cried tears of joy and understood that he had a real encounter with Jesus. Rick called Ken and told him what was going on and then handed the phone to our new homeless friend. Michael said he was ready to crawl in a hole and forget about everything until he met Rick. Ken assured him that Jesus didn't want him to be in a hole and that Jesus had good plans for him. Michael said, "I can see that."

Praise God for bringing Michael to us, and praise God for willing and faithful servants like Rick and Martha. Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion is what we do at LIA, and our awesome team shows the love of Christ to everyone. It's His love that changes people's eternal destiny.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Opportunities to spread the Gospel

Jesus is very clear in what He expects us to do as His followers, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

And, in Matthew 24:14, Jesus says, "This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come."

It's easy to see Jesus wants us to proclaim His good news to every nation ... tribe ... people group. At Love In Action, we are responding to His call.

Locally we are reaching the homeless, the needy, those incarcerated, and bringing awareness to the horrible injustice of human trafficking. Nationally, we are working with churches and ministries to reach the homeless in cities like Atlanta, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and New York.

Internationally, we are reaching unreached people groups. This is the greatest opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission.

In the Philippines, unreached Muslim people groups are coming to Jesus by the hundreds. In the past two years, thousands have converted and are now following Jesus. Three Imams have given their lives to Jesus and converted mosques into churches. New believers are surrendering their lives to be full-time pastors and missionaries to reach more who have never heard the Gospel. One Filipino believer recently made the decision to serve Jesus in Malaysia.

We need sponsors for our indigenous pastors and money to build churches. We can sponsor indigenous pastors for $100 a month, and we can build four churches today for a total of $5,000. That's it. That's all it costs to continue fanning the flames of revival and advancing the God's kingdom.

In Myanmar, we are reaching a population of 40 million people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We partner with a small Christian college called Grace Theological College. We need five sponsors beginning in January 2014 to sponsor those graduating, so they can go out into the mission field of Myanmar.

Unreached Buddhists are already responding to the Gospel in Myanmar and attending church, because they want to know more about Jesus.

In Haiti, we are halfway to our goal of $8,000 to build a church in the middle of a Voodoo village. It will be the first church in that area, and we will reach thousands of people deceived by the devil.

In Pakistan, indigenous pastors and missionaries are making great strides proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they need our help. Life is very tough there, but we can make a difference.

How can you help? By praying and giving financially. For just $100 a month, you, your family, small group, Sunday school class or church can sponsor pastors in the Philippines, Myanmar and Pakistan. You can give toward building churches in the Philippines and Haiti. You can give to provide Bibles, fresh water hand pumps and food for orphans and widows in Pakistan.

Please let Jesus touch your heart now and give to help us spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. Mail your tax deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. In the memo of the check write what you want it to go toward. For example, "Monthly Philippine or Myanmar Pastor Support," "Philippine or Haiti Church," and "Pakistan."

You can also give online by clicking here and then clicking on "Make A Donation."It's through PayPal, so please add 3 percent to your gift if you can to help cover the fees.

Together we can make an even greater difference for the kingdom of God. Please give today and please become a monthly contributor. Thank you and may God greatly bless you and your family.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Word of God totally transforming lives of the unreached

What happens when you reach unreached people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, plant churches and make disciples? Potential military conflicts end before they begin, and men in religions that believe in multiple wives realize that is wrong and that they should be married to just one woman.

This is what's happening in the Philippines. I will keep the area anonymous for safety reasons, but there are some amazing things happening in the Muslim region of the Philippines.

A couple of months ago, we were able to send some LIA Philippines indigenous pastors to an island in a Muslim region to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a previously unreached people group called Bajau (also spelled Badjaw or Bajao).  They are also called "Sea Gypsies." Fifty-two Badjaws made decisions for Jesus and then immediately started telling others in their tribe about their new Lord and Savior.

Thanks to great response from LIA supporters, we were able to build a center for them. In their region, Christians are persecuted, so they meet silently, but they share their new-found faith with great joy and compassion.

When a Muslim rebel group attacked Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao, the group also planned to carry out a similar attack on the island where this tribe of the Badjaws  live. However, the rebels' plan failed because the Badjaws would not support them, because the Gospel transformed their hearts and minds. They want the life that Jesus gives, not the death and destructive ways of the Muslim rebels.

Another unique situation has now developed among the Badjaws. The husbands are now leaving their second and third wives because they know it is not right to have more than one wife.

Their lives are being totally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for our pastors there for wisdom on how to properly guide and help the Badjaws with this situation. We want to help them with their decisions, and at the same time keep the women safe and living for Jesus.

We are now in need of another center in a second area for the Badjaws as the revival continues to spread among this previously unreached people group. Also, three different municipalities have donated land for us to build churches. That's four new churches that we can build right now if we had $5,000. That's it. That's all it costs to construct four church buildings.

Can you help? Can your church, Sunday school class, small group or family help? When we plant these churches, it gives these new Christians places to meet to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ together and reach even more in those areas.

We have missionaries in training who are willing and ready to move to these areas to pastor and disciple these new Christians.

Please help us for the sake of souls to build these four churches.

You can mail your tax-deductible checks to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. Please write "Philippines church plants" in the memo of your checks.
Or, you can give online by clicking here and then clicking on the "Make A Donation" button. This will allow you to donate via our PayPal account. Please note "Philippines church plants" on your donation.

Your gift will help to totally transform lives for the glory of God. You will definitely be storing up treasure in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Previously unreached people in Myanmar attending church service for first time

15 people in this photo were previously unreached, and they were attending their first church service. Praise God! This is fruit of Bro. Solomon's labor. Solomon is LIA's first sponsored indigenous missionary in the country of Myanmar where 40 million people have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Previously unreached people in Myanmar are pictured here with church leaders at Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church in Yangon after their first church service.
Click here for a slide show from Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church in Yangon, Myanmar. We praise God for the work our indigenous brothers and sisters are doing there. What a great privilege it is to serve Jesus with them.

Myanmar is a Third World country with more than 40 million people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's a country where Love In Action is working to tell those unreached people groups about the wonderful love of Jesus Christ.

We are working with our wonderful indigenous friends and partners, Grace Theological  College in Yangon, Myanmar. GTC trains students to become missionaries and pastors to reach their country. We have partnered with them to help teach and train the students, and support them as they enter the mission field.

LIA President and Vice President Ken and Martha Tuck are excited about visiting our friends in Myanmar in January 2014. Ken will teach the students and preach at Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church  in Yangon, and Ken and Martha will work hand-in-hand with our Myanmar brothers and sisters to reach the lost and unreached in their area.

Earlier this year, LIA started sponsoring our first indigenous Myanmar missionary who was a recent graduate of GTC. Bro. Solomon has been doing a great job of reaching out to the unreached in and around Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar. His job isn't easy, but he keeps going forward in Jesus.

He started reaching out to the children, as they are very receptive to hear about Jesus. Through reaching the children, he is now reaching adults. This past Sunday, 15 people from a village Bro. Solomon has been ministering in came to Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church for their morning service. The church rented a truck to pick them up. Praise God! Previously unreached people in church hearing more about Jesus after Bro. Solomon planted the seeds.

This coming January, two more students will graduate GTC. Ken is honored to be the guest feature speaker at the graduation. It would be great if Ken could present to those five indigenous students with sponsorship letters stating they will receive $100 a month each as they work in the mission field.

Will you help us? Beginning in January, we need commitments to sponsor these five graduates. It's just $100 a month to sponsor a new missionary. Can you imagine the encouragement these students will enter the mission field with knowing that Christians in America are praying and financially supporting them?

Please help us. Our brothers and sisters need our help to reach the unreached people in Myanmar. If people don't know about Jesus, they can't respond to His love and salvation. The unreached need to be reach to save them from an eternal  Hell.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 28: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Thank God that He is capable of using the most evil actions to bring about good.

As we come to the close on our 28 Days of Prayer for the Exploited, I personally want to thank each one of you. Our God is able, and through your prayers, He will become more evident in the lives affected by this horrendous injustice.

You are changing the future for the hopeless and needy by intervening on their behalf. But please don’t stop now, their lives depend on it. We want you to pray what the Lord lays on your heart, but I will leave you with prayer points from Prayers for Freedom that we are using in our group to continue to pray daily over this situation. Continue to seek the Lord, become aware, get involved, support the cause, and save a life. Thank you again and God bless you. All for His glory!

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." - Ephesians 3:20

Prayer Points
1. People will be aware of the problem of Human Trafficking & Slavery.
2. Law enforcement will have the training needed to identify victims & wisdom to handle each situation.
3. Government will implement and enforce policy surrounding Human Trafficking.
4. There will be after-care housing for all victims of Human Trafficking trained to help the needs of trafficked victims.
5. The victims will receive all areas of healing that they need - physically, spiritually and mentally.
6. The victims will find a personal relationship with Christ and complete restoration.
7. The victims will have the ability and opportunity to get work, housing and training for a new life.
8. The justice system will help facilitate the prevention of the demand for slavery.
9. That people that are facilitating the sex industry will find a relationship to Christ and stop.
10. That the traffickers (organized crime and individuals) will be brought to justice.
11. That the traffickers will find a personal relationship with Christ.
12. Proclamation over each victim’s freedom through Christ.

Prayer requests for our part of this ministry at Love In Action International Ministries:
• Wisdom in all of our decisions
• Protection
• Provision
• To effectively reach youth and children to prevent human trafficking and share the love of Christ.
• For our team of volunteers and leaders

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." - Hebrews 13:3

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 27: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray for more shelters that can provide quality aftercare to trafficking (victims) survivors. The prayer guide says victims, but that's not a word I like. People survive trafficking, just like people survive cancer or survive a category 5 tornado ... things that are out of their control. The few trafficked souls that do make it out are survivors.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7

The numbers will change. As we pray and seek freedom for those that are bound, the Lord will make it happen. When more people become aware of the signs of human trafficking - and make the call - the 1-2 percent who are being rescued right now will increase.

The need is great. There are 100,000 children being held in the bonds of sexual slavery in the United States alone, and we desperately want all of them to be free. But are we prepared if they were? Not at all.

There are not enough shelters in the United States to carry the load of those currently being rescued, but every week I read about groups that are stepping up to meet this growing demand. In Alabama, the Wellhouse ( has been gifted with two more properties to grow its facilities in Birmingham. Another group in the Auburn/Opelika area ( is currently raising funds to establish a home there. And we, at Love in Action International Ministries (, continue to seek the Lord’s direction about what He wants for our area.

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19

The need is great, but the Lord will meet our needs as we bring our requests to Him. If we allow Him, He will use you and me to meet the needs of the needy. He is faithful.

I read a quote by Jen Hatmaker on Christine Caine’s facebook page a bit ago that said, “If we spend all our time serving saved people, blessing blessed people & discipling discipled people WHEN will we have time to connect with the lost?”

Many of those being rescued are lost and need to know our Savior, but without the proper Christ-centered aftercare, they may not ever get a chance. Has the Lord blessed you in ways you could bless others? Are you willing to allow Him to use you to be a blessing?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 26: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray that the rescued will experience safety, strength, support and new life.

There are 27 million out there. Surely you have seen one; I’m pretty sure I have. But was I really looking or just looking past? Would you know what to look for if you did see someone being trafficked ... to offer hope of their rescue?

The following is a list of warning signs from the Innocents at Risk website to give us insight on signs to look for.

Trafficked persons are not always hidden in dark rooms, away from the public eye. They are transported from one place to another. They use public transportation. Since they suffer injury and harm, they require medical care at hospitals and domestic violence shelters. Since they seek relationships with people of the same religious, ethnic and cultural groups, they attend places of worship and go to community centers.

To be able to assist, we need to know what to look for. A combination of any of the following indicators could signal the presence of suspicious activity and possible human trafficking.

A trafficked person may:
• Have injuries or signs of physical abuse.

• Appear malnourished.
• Seem disoriented and not know where he or she is.
• Have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes regardless of the weather or circumstances.
• Not have identification documents.
• Avoid eye contact and appear hesitant to talk to strangers.
• Be fearful of authority figures, especially law enforcement.
• Rarely be allowed to come and go independently and may be accompanied by someone who controls their every movement.
• Work excessively long hours.

This heinous crime is happening all around us. If you see anything that might indicate a person is being trafficked or if it just doesn’t seem/ look right, please call your local authorities or the Human Trafficking National Resource Hotline 1-888-373-7888.

Most victims do not call to identify themselves as victims or are not aware that help is available. By looking at the situation instead of past it, you may be the only one that can offer hope of their rescue so they can move on to a new life of safety and freedom.

"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you." - Psalm 39:7

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 25: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray that the well-meaning advocacy groups will avoid the temptation to "victimize the victims".

"And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35

There are many groups that have risen up to take on this cause, understandably, because it is so wicked. And it is necessary to do all that can be done to break the chains that surround this epidemic in our world today. But, even though a person can be rescued from their physical situation, they can only truly be set free when Jesus is at the center of their healing and restoration process.

It takes time. Scars are deep, physically and emotionally. We must consistently strive to bless those victimized around us with the abilities and gifts the Lord has given us while keeping Him at the forefront of our efforts. He created each of us uniquely as one body, but placed us within His body to work together to offer freedom and life for those around us, and for those who can’t fight for themselves.

"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ." - 1 Corinthians 12:12

It is hard work. It takes time. But the Lord says it is more blessed to give than receive. What has the Lord blessed you with that could be a blessing to others? As a part of His body, are you willing to give?

Day 24: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray for wisdom and discernment for those providing aftercare to victims.

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." - James 3:17

We all need wisdom and discernment from the Lord to get through our daily lives. But on days when things are hard and they just don’t make sense, I am even more thankful that He knows, and He cares, and He is faithful to be trusted. He will direct the paths of those who seek Him.

"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption." - 1 Corinthians 1:30

It is only through Christ Jesus that we can gain His understanding and discernment. Seek Him more today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 23: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Directtor of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray for those, like Joseph, who are victims of trafficking for forced labor.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed." - Proverbs 31:8

How far would you go to know? To know the truths about the products you purchase? To know if the brands you wear use forced labor? Would you learn enough to stand against the enslaving of millions of adults and children around the world?

For one anti-trafficking group, they are in the forefront of this movement to abolish slave labor that plagues many of the products we buy, many of the services we enjoy, and to offer real change and opportunity for those trapped.

The non-profit group, “Not For Sale” began when founder, David Batstone, discovered that his favorite restaurant in the Bay area had been the center of a local human trafficking ring. He realized this was a growing international issue and affected every industry and every corner of the earth. He wrote a book in 2007 by the same name and began this organization.

Not For Sale fights modern day slavery around the world using business creation, supply chain evaluation, and aftercare aid. By creating job opportunities for vulnerable communities, offering good social services to survivors and those at-risk to human trafficking, and evaluating the use of forced labor in mainstream supply chains. They work to ensure that no one is for sale.

One of the many projects that Not for Sale is noted for is their FREE2WORK campaign. Extensive research has gone into the data that is supplied for discovering which companies use fair practices in their work standards. For us, looking at a barcode doesn’t mean much, but in using their Apparel Industry Trends Report or FREE2WORK’s mobile app, you can instantly know whether a shirt or shoes you buy meet the requirements for fair labor practices.

Find out more about Not For Sale here:

Find out about FREE2WORK and download app here:

Learn the truths about the companies you patronize and let’s all do our part in ending this modern-day slavery.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 22: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Read Genesis 37-50. Use these scriptures to fuel your prayers as you pray this week for those in "aftercare" for victims.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10

We know that much time and many specific needs have to be met for rescued victims to be able to overcome the injustices that have been forced upon them. The care available to help rebuild these shattered lives is lacking. Early on in our research into human trafficking we found that there was only one such facility in the Southeast. But, wow, what a difference that one is making.

The Wellhouse, based in Birmingham, Ala., is a faith-based and Christ-centered nonprofit organization offering immediate shelter and transitional housing to women who have been trafficked, or prostituting, or otherwise sexually exploited. Food, clothing, spiritual guidance, Christian counseling, and other necessities are provided, along with assisting with referrals for substance abuse treatment, if needed. Life skills classes, GED preparation, and other enrichment services are part of the experience to help these women become self-sufficient and give them a sense of self-worth. The goal is for women to go on and live full and productive lives.

The Wellhouse is a beautiful place of grace offering the hope and healing of Jesus Christ to help restore lives. Find out more about them at and keep up with them on Facebook here Also, follow them on Twitter, @The_WellHouse. There are many ways you can help.

The demand for more shelters is a reality right now, and will continue to increase as we become a more aware and involved generation. Praise God! We look forward to working with the Wellhouse and learning from these who are fighting on the front lines of this battle.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 21: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director for Human Trafficking Outreach

Thank God for men, like Boaz, who respond with dignity and restraint to vulnerable women.

Ruth was an honorable woman, yet vulnerable because of the circumstances that surrounded her. No husband, no money, little food, new location in a different culture, and knowledge of very few people around her. She was instructed to go to her husband’s kin, so she might find favor with him. She was sent to lie at his feet. With this late night opportunity, Boaz had a choice. He was a man with natural desires and temptations, yet he chose actions that would honor her instead of taking advantage of her vulnerabilities. He wanted to do what was right.

Although temptations surround all of us, it is still a personal choice to succumb to them. Each day we have numerous opportunities to follow God’s way to a path of righteousness, or our own way to a path of destruction. When searching the database for National Sex Offenders located in the Dothan area within a three mile radius of downtown, I found there are thirty-five people who are on this list. That is thirty-five who chose to act upon their temptations; thirty-five whose choice will follow them the rest of their lives.

Most victims of trafficking have no choice. An unsettling truth is the United States produces more than 50 percent of all child pornography that exists and we are the No. 1 distributor in the world for it. How could this reality not feed into the lusts that so envelope the need for sex, especially sex with minors; thus the demand for trafficking.

Maybe seeing things in a different light would change what you think about trafficking. Maybe, just maybe, it will encourage you to make choices of dignity and restraint when dealing with your own temptations. Men, you have a choice to help end it. Please watch below:

"But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

Day 20: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray that God and His people will be so active in our families and communities that oppression cannot exist.

It is exciting and encouraging to see God’s people working together to accomplish His purpose. Not one church, not one ministry, but the body of Christ serving together to love on people and share Jesus with them. That’s what I love about Love in Action International Ministries - One body, His body, serving together in love.

"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love." - Galatians 5:13

Too many times, though, I hear about believers who are unwilling to show love and mercy to others, instead of hating the sin that has engulfed them. Unfortunately, some go as far as spreading false information and spewing hatred toward other believers just because they don’t have the same ways of doing things - different style of worship, different way of teaching, etc. This is an especially useful tool of the enemy in our day. Why would unbelievers want to follow Christ when so many believers struggle to show them that He is worth following?

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:34-35

They will know by His love. God is love. Jesus came to earth to redeem us because of His great love for us. If you are a believer, we are one body, united together by His love. We have to be very careful to not let oppression come from us therefore causing division in His body. We need to be more like Him and pour love into all the people who surround us, not just the ones that are easiest. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Actions speak louder than words.

We, at Love in Action International Ministries, invite you to join with us in offering hope and love to a lost and hurting world. There are many opportunities for you, as a part of Christ’s body, to become active in serving others in our community. Some of the areas we serve are reaching out to the homeless, the bus station outreach, free medical clinic for the homeless, human trafficking outreach, Bible study, food and clothing pantries, providing meals and toiletry kits, local and international missions, future transitional housing and so much more.

To learn more and to see what God may be wanting you to do, visit Love In Action International Ministries .Together we can build a united wall of His love around our families and communities where oppression can’t get in.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 19: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray that Godly families will consider fostering or adopting at-risk children and teens.

"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless." - Psalm 10:14

"If one family in every three churches in the U.S. adopted a child, we would adopt every orphan in the U.S." -

That is a pretty staggering statistic, but only because it is very doable. Unfortunately, just because something is doable, doesn’t mean it gets done. There are currently 1.4 million children in the foster care system in the United States today, waiting, waiting for someone to care for them, someone to meet their needs, someone to love them like Jesus does.

Instead of finding acceptance and love and a place to call home, some children who find themselves placed in foster families are seen as a commodity; they are only valued by the check that is paid for them. The following excerpt is from a young woman identified as “T.” It tells her story in the foster care system as shared by Malika Saada Saar, the executive director of Rights4Girls.

“T” was born into the foster care system and trafficked at the age of 10, sold to men all over California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. She recently shared her own observation at a Congressional briefing on how foster care rendered her vulnerable to being exploited. “In most of my 14 different placements in foster care homes, I was raped, and attached to a check. I understood very early that I could be raped, cared for, and connected to money. It was therefore easy to go from that to a pimp, and at least the pimp told me that he loved me.”

In “most” of her placements, she was raped. Outrageous! Now I know every system has its flaws, everything has its good and bad. But when more than 50 percent of young women are ending up into forced prostitution because of these flaws, with many inflicted by sexual and physical abuse, we need to strive harder for achieving a better solution.

But a solution has been offered in the above statistic. So then why is it that we, as Christ’s body, are not willing to accept this responsibility? When we say we want to be like Jesus, then why aren’t we being like Him? Just one family in every three churches. Will you be that one?

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 18: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Pray for the directors of a day shelter in South Asia, where teen girls receive education and life skills. Pray for reinstatement of a program designed to keep girls under the age of 13 off the streets. The program was canceled a year ago due to lack of funding, resources and staff.

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." - Galatians 6:9-10

Under the age of 13 . . . .they were 9 or 10 years old possibly, or younger- most of us can’t even imagine. Sadly, we have learned what will likely happen to them if they do go back out on the streets. It is heartbreaking. Girls need time, and a safe place, to grow and become young women. There is enough concern on their minds just to survive with the basic necessities of food and shelter without being preyed upon. But in reality, another life is tragically altered.

In the United States, we have a this problem, too. Eighty percent of girls who find themselves in the clutches of sex trafficking are runaways or from the foster care system. Most already have low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness from their lives of abandonment and trauma. Sometimes their home lives are so permeated with abuse that anything would be better. They feel they have no option but to leave.

Girls on the street usually have a window of about 48 hours to be rescued before their situation turns grim. Even then, they are not always aware of what their future holds. Traffickers “court” their victims to build trust and loyalty at this vulnerable time. This is an easy open for a girl who is hungry and has nowhere to stay. Just in friendliness, he offers her the care and love she has always wanted. He knows all the right things to say and do. He builds upon his role as caretaker. When the “boyfriend” stage begins, she is trapped. She will most likely do anything he asks and if not, he will use force.

There are no easy answers or fixes. You just can’t change something that is this broken overnight. However, we do know nothing will change until people realize it is a problem; until our country wakes up to see it is here.

We, at Love In Action International Ministries, pray for the Lord to guide our every step in this matter. We only want to do what He wants us to do to change the current situation. In truth, we know real hope and change will only come when Jesus' love is poured into these young lives, whether here in the U.S. or in South Asia or anywhere in between.

But what about you? Will you allow Him to change the way you think about these street girls? Will you let Him change your heart on how to help?


Day 17: Praying for the Exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach
Pray for godly men to model lifestyles of respect and dignity before other men in their community.

In Robert W. Reed’s article on “The Marks of Godly Men,” he says, “Manhood in this day and age is measured with a false balance. The world sees a “man” as one who can run the fastest, lift the most weights, drive the fastest, punch the hardest, swim the farthest, dive the deepest, kick the pigskin through two up-right poles the straightest, slam dunk the best, hit a ball the fastest and farthest, etc.

The Lord describes manhood quite differently. To be Godly men you must possess the characteristics that He possesses, to strive to be like Him. To be . . .

Men of Faith - “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
Strong & Courageous - “Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

Men of Integrity- Job’s characteristics of being a godly man shine through in chapter 29 as it accounts his concern for the poor, widows and the fatherless, and how he had walked in righteousness before the Lord. It reveals how he stood against sin and gave counsel to those in need of godly directions.

Men of Principle - “And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." - Ezekiel 22:30

Ezekiel was a man who stood in the gap.

Men of Prayer - “Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument." - 1Timothy 2:8

Men of Endurance- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” - 2Timothy 4:7

And there are many more character traits to strive toward. Not an easy task in this day, but certainly worth it. I am thankful for the men God has placed in my life that exhibit these and other godly qualities. I pray more men will rise up to let their lives shine on Jesus as an example to a dark and confused world.

Day 16: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach
Pray for those, like Naomi, who protect vulnerable women and model lifestyles of compassion.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

I would personally like to thank each one of you who came out Tuesday night (Sept. 17) for our first Human Trafficking Outreach meeting at Love in Action International Ministries. It was awesome to meet all of you who are willing to step into the battle against something that so many want to turn a blind eye to.

Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to stand against this injustice. I can’t wait to see where God will lead us next, and for what part He is sending you to fulfill. You, like Naomi, will make an eternal difference in the life of someone else.

All glory to Him! He is faithful!

Next meeting will be Sept. 24 @ 7:30 p.m. at LIA, suite 3 (Samaritan Clinic).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Continue to pray for peace in Zamboanga City

Last week I posted an urgent prayer request on our Facebook page and asked people to pray for people living in Zamboanga City, Philippines, and especially our Christian brothers and sisters. The city had come under attack from 200 Mulsim rebels - a terrorist group called the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The MNLF is one of many Musljm rebel groups in the southern Philippines who have been in conflict with the Philippine government for decades. They all want their own land and laws. Many of them have connections to global terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. These groups are notorious for attacks, bombings and kidnappings.

On Sept. 9, at least 200 MNLF rebels attacked Zamboanga City, which is a major port city of 1 million people. The rebels' goal apparently was to raise their flag at city hall. As they attacked the city, they took more than 100 hostages to use as human shields. The attack shutdown this large city, including its ports and airport. Most businesses and industry were shutdown. This caused a food shortage in much of the southern region of the island of Mindanao and small islands south of Mindanao in the area called the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The Associated Press reports today that 14 Philippine soldiers and police, seven civilians and 86 rebels have been killed during the 10-day standoff that has displaced more than 100,000 people from their homes.

Some of those evacuated were LIA Philippines pastors and their churches. The closed ports also affected our pastors on the Muslim island of Basilan. Food became scarce in Zamboanga City and other islands like Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

Thanks to our faithful supporters, we were able to send some funds to help nine of our pastors and churches. So many of you have been praying, and the pastors all send their thanks for the prayers and support. To know they are not alone during such intense times is very meaningful, and to be able to purchase food and medicine is an answer to their prayers.

The situation appears to be improving as there are only 30-40 rebels remaining in two villages. However, there are still 14 hostages. Please continue to pray for the conflict to end without any more deaths.

Please continue to pray for our pastors and their congregations. It is still very unsettling for the people after going through the bombings and gunfire that's occurred the past 10 days.

We have a team of LIA Philippines pastors going to Zamboanga City to minister to the needs of the people with some supplies. We were able to help provide Christian tracts that they will hand out to the people there as well. Pray that their hearts will be open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and see that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Pray that an even greater revival will break out among the Muslims in the Philippines. We have seen thousands make decisions for Jesus over the past two years. Join us in prayer that tens of thousands will turn to Jesus now.

Thank you for your continued prayers and continue financial support. Our brothers and sisters in this Third World nation need us, and it's a blessing to be able to respond so quickly.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 attend first Human Trafficking outreach meeting

We are so excited about our new Human Trafficking Outreach ministry. Gia Hughes is the director of this outreach ministry and she did a great job leading our first meeting as nearly 30 people attended.

We have been conducting outreaches with a smaller team of volunteers who are strong at street ministry and meeting with local law enforcement over the past few months. Now we are ready for the next step and that is opening it up to others to become involved. Seeing nearly 30 people attend our first meeting was exciting, and we really appreciate Investigator Ketchum of the Dothan Police Department attending tonight. He provided a lot of great insight.

One of the keys to a successful Human Trafficking ministry is working closely with law enforcement. We are thankful to have the support of the Dothan Police Department, Houston County Sheriff Department and Alabama State Troopers. We look forward to working with them to do our part to shine the light on the horrific injustice of human trafficking.

Tonight was an introductory meeting. Our next meeting will be next Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Love In Action, 279 W. Main St., ste. 3 (Samaritan Clinic).

Thank you Gia for your leadership, and thanks to everyone who attended. Human trafficking enslaves 27 million people in the world today, and it's happening right here in Dothan. Help us get the word out through our awareness campaign. If you see anything that looks suspicious, don't hesitate to call 911. Our local law enforcement will respond. And, even if nothing is going on, they would rather respond and check it out than to let an injustice continue.

Pray for those exploited through human trafficking. Pray for them to be rescued, to escape, to be set free. Pray for law enforcement  as they battle the fastest growing crime in the world. Pray for those doing the trafficking, that they will find deliverance from the extreme evil they are enslaved to. Pray for those buying slaves. They need salvation. Without the demand, there would be no need for human trafficking.

We know Jesus is the only answer. Please join us in our 28 days of praying for those being exploited through human trafficking.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 15: Praying for the exploited

By Gia Hughes
LIA Director of Human Trafficking Outreach

Read Ruth 1-4.

Pray for those involved in prevention of trafficking.

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” - Psalm 82:3-4

As we at Love in Action International Ministries have only recently entered the fight against human trafficking in our area, there have been wonderful groups waging war on this horrible injustice for years. We are thankful for their willingness to share what they have learned. Through their experiences and knowledge, we are able to gain a better understanding of what we can do locally to bring God’s light to this situation. I would like to highlight two of the groups that we learn so much from. Take time to visit their sites and learn more for yourself.

The A21 Campaign: The A21 Campaign exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century through a comprehensive system of preventative measures, victim protection, prosecution of violators, and strategic partnerships. The A21 campaign was founded in 2008 by Christine Caine, Christian author and motivational speaker. You can find out more about them at or follow them on Facebook to stay informed with up-to-date information.

Polaris Project: Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally.

By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Their website is

There are many, many other dedicated organizations in this battle against trafficking and the Lord is adding more to His army each day. We also covet your prayers in this effort as we press on to where He is leading us.