The days following the Global Forum have been border-line surreal – I no longer find myself waking up in the middle of the night and wondering about all the little details that would go into making the two-day event a flawless learning opportunity for the over 500 attendees. Thankfully, I am not the only one who had been thinking 24/7 about this and between me and the rest of the NFS staff, I think we came as close as we possible could to make the second annual Global Forum on Human Trafficking a worthwhile experience for all those present.
Our adventure began on Tuesday night when Davy and I arrived at USF to spend the night and wake up for our 7am bus ride on the Freedom Bus. Armed with plenty of DVDs and ipods, we were ready for 10 hour bus ride down to Yorba Linda. What we had not anticipated for was the ratio of male to female on the bus: until we arrived at Cal Lutheran, it was 22 women and 1 Davy (and the bus driver). Thankfully Davy had his ipod and we attempted to show gender-friendly movies, such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Across the Universe. Armed with flip cameras to document the drive down, we had a lot of fun documenting dance routines and rousing choruses of classics ranging from Backstreet Boys to recent Glee covers.
Upon reaching our destination in Yorba Linda, Davy and I hit the ground running, quickly catching up with the rest and completing any last-minute tasks. The Abolitionist concert was a great success with artists ranging from Rachel Lampa (whom I hadn’t heard since I was 12) and NomiS (whom I hadn’t heard since I watched a YouTube video of him in the office last month). Wednesday night so crept into Thursday morning as Rebecca and I finished up some last minute documents to print out the next morning.
A few hours later, Benita and I found ourselves at Kinkos, printing out those documents. With a limited amount of cars between all of the staff, we all had to become creative about our means of transportation over to the church. After Benita and I arrived at Friends Church, my memory starts to become a blur. Whenever I wasn’t assigned to something, I was finding some task to accomplish. Thankfully we had a few really solid volunteers who always seemed to appear when I needed to be in three places at once and ask how they could help. My mind works best when it is going non-stop, so jumping for one task to another all day seemed to work best for me. I soon learned I didn’t have to worry about not having time to run this week either – my arms are still tingling from all the lifting and my feet sore from all the stair climbing and running I did around the huge mega church.
While I was often caught up in the logistics side of the event, it was nice to have to sit in on at least three of the panels as a supporter for the panelists. My panels were “Fostering Partnerships: working with unlikely and unfamiliar partners,” “The Numbers Game,” and “Exploitation: people and planet.” I also sat in on the “Faith-based relationships” panel which was also extremely interesting. Each panel was unique in its execution, based on variables ranging from the panelists backgrounds to the style of the moderator. Being a supporter, I was able to meet with the panelists and moderator before each break-out session and it was a great opportunity to meet one-on-one with these individuals who have been on the front lines of combating human trafficking in their respective fields of expertise.
When Friday night rolled around, it was hard to believe that everything we had been working on these past months was done. As most of you may or may not know, I just graduated from school in southern California, so I decided to stay down here after the forum and catch up with friends. This week is a debriefing time for many on staff and I am doing that from Santa Barbara and, come Wednesday, Texas to witness the marriage of two of my dear friends. I have been greeted with thunderstorms all last night and this morning and it’s been a lot of fun to be back in an environment that is familiar but I have not been around for some time. Nevertheless, by Monday morning, I began to think it was really strange I had not seen anyone from my house or staff for a few days after having spent almost every waking moment with one another. I’m appreciating the change in scenery but will be excited to be back with everyone and continue to ignore the fact that I only have a month and a half left with everyone.
Thanks so much to you all for your continual support of the Fellowship these past few months. It was great meeting many of you at the Global Forum and I hope the encouragement and direction that was provided there will continued to be fostered in your lives and respective communities.
If you wish to make a contribution to the final stretch of my fellowship, you can do so here: https://nfs.webconnex.com/sarahdavis .
Till next time,