They call Margaret “the church lady.” Who are they? Victims of sex trafficking who’ve been rescued by her in Lubbock, Texas. And while she’s nothing like the old Saturday Night Live character played by Dana Carvey (“Well, isn’t that special?”), she definitely seems like your typical southern-drawled Sunday Schoolteacher from Texas.
She’s sweet, frank, oh yeah and did I mention sweet? Margaret, with full support of her husband Larry, is like a super hero for the kingdom. At times she is the Hospitality Manager for Betenbough Homes. But at other times she she is doing stakeouts, finding sex trafficking spots and rescuing victims who are trapped in “the trade.“
Now, don’t get me wrong. She is not kicking in doors, arresting pimps and dragging captives to safety. It’s much less glamorous than that, but no less effective. In her words it’s one victim at a time one day at a time. She wins some and she loses some but she keeps on trying. Margaret does what she can when she can…and it’s making a difference.
Last night at a gathering she told me the stories of some girls who she’s been privileged to help rescue from this horrible life. She works with officials who are continually warning her about her too-close-for-comfort proximity with these victims. She invites them into her car and then drives them off to safety. Instead of just calling the police to rescue them she gets in the grit and enters the danger zone with no thought to her own safety (sound familiar? sound like our Savior?) Officials warn her that if she continues to get too close to them she’ll eventually get “ripped” (mugged, robbed, hurt, etc.)
But Margaret and Larry have a pact that, if anything happens to her, he will celebrate, not mourn or second-guess or whatever, because she is doing what God called her to do, rescue sex trade victims. Margaret, with a twinkle in her eye, assured me that she’s not afraid of getting ripped because God is with her. The victims know it too. That’s why they call her “the church lady.”
They see the light of Christ shining in her. They sense the love of Christ overflowing through her. To Margaret these girls are not just victims, they are potential victors through Jesus Christ. They are real people, created in the image of God and died for by the Son of God. They are her sisters who need saving, literally and spiritually. Margaret wants every one of these victims, not only to know deliverance from the chains of sex slavery, but freedom from the penalty and power of sin itself.
Why is she concerned about their eternal as well as their earthly deliverance? Because Satan is the most cruel and ruthless pimp of all! And only the gospel of Jesus can rescue them from his vice-ladened, vice-like grip.
That’s why Margaret is choosing to keep a stack of Life in 6 Words outreach books in her car. When she does a stakeout and rescues a girl she’ll be able to engage her relationally and lovingly with the message of a man who would never abuse her, the God/man, Jesus Christ. She’ll use the book to help her explain to the girl how God wants to rescue her, restore her and make her a princess in his eternal kingdom.
May Margaret’s example inspire us all to get in the dirt and the grit of the bad, the broken and bullied and do what it takes to save them, both now and forever.
Margaret is my hero. Margaret is living THE Cause (and I bet you she’s a killer Sunday school teacher too!)
You may be thinking “Well, isn’t that special?” And my answer is yes, it is very, very special.