For Major League Baseball athletes, Spring training is just beginning. But for me, it’s about the furthest thing from my mind. Since I’ve hung up my cleats, I’ve been keeping very busy with all the opportunities and responsibilities that God has placed in my lap. Living on a cattle ranch in Kansas, there is constant work to be done, and on top of that I’ve been traveling quite a bit for speaking arrangements, filming for Buck Commander, and helping my brothers manage our E3 Steakhouse in Steamboat Springs, CO.
I’m not the best at balancing my life well — it can be a grind to wear all the hats that I do, but I just can’t ever see myself slowing down. I don’t think it’s God’s plan for my wife and me to be the retired couple that plays golf in the mornings and sits on the porch sipping margaritas in the afternoon.
There are two things that I am most passionate about — two things that I want to spend most of my time doing right now. By delegating a lot of my jobs to others who I’ve been able to hire to help me with the ranch, the steakhouse, and the show, I’ve been able to pour more time into my family and something that has become a huge passion for me: Fighting sex trafficking around the globe.
I had zero passion for the fight against trafficking three years ago. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even tell you what trafficking meant. But three years ago my former teammate, Blaine Boyer, introduced me Matt Parker who runs an organization called Exodus Road, which fights sex trafficking in Thailand.
While Blaine and I stayed in touch with Matt and the work his organization was doing in Thailand, we also started reading and studying as many books as we could about the trafficking world. Soon we took a trip to visit Matt and see his work firsthand. This trip completely messed us up . . . in a good way. From then on we were on board to fight against trafficking. Boots to the ground, Blaine and I continued to travel around the States trying to get familiar with as many organizations that we could who had the same mission.
I just returned from one of these trips, this time focusing on one of the largest human trafficking events each year: The Super Bowl.
Many don’t realize that each year, thousands of women—and children—are brought to the Super Bowl to be trafficked. It’s the underworld that we don’t see; it’s as if we are those who live in a gated neighborhood and hear about what goes on with drug deals but never see them . . . you might read about it in the news but it doesn’t affect you. But it does go on and sex trafficking is growing even faster than the drug and weapon trade.
So this year I went to the Super Bowl, not to watch the game, but to join Deliver Fund, a phenomenal anti-trafficking group started by a former CIA agent and a former Navy Seal who ended their government careers early to jump into the trafficking scene. They now use the skills and tools they learned to fight trafficking in the States. And fighting this battle in the States is completely different than it is overseas. In America it’s mostly a cyber campaign, done through the dark web.
Delivery Fund partnered with a couple of local agencies and the FBI to be ready for the underground evil that would occur at the Super Bowl this year. Together they have a lot of really impressive tools and equipment to track down those who are involved in the trafficking, scanning the web to track these guys down, but they still can’t do it all on their own. We, as volunteers, were able to move on the ground in smaller mobile units to do field work—being their eyes and feet in all the different areas where they don’t have the manpower to go themselves. We may not be able to arrest the culprits, but we can do everything we can to make sure those arrests happen.
Three years ago I had no idea I would be involved in something like this, but after Blaine and I met Matt, the burden to help those caught in trafficking started raining down on us and we couldn’t ignore it. God really couldn’t have made it any more obvious to us that this is where He wanted us to serve so we simply said, “We’re all in.”
Neither Blaine nor I are afraid of the danger that comes with this mission. We’re both at a place spiritually where we are not afraid of dying. I don’t say that we approach this without fear in an unprepared or irresponsible way, I only mean that we both know that there is much more than this life.
It’s our mission to help the helpless—to go where no one else wants to go to defend those who can’t defend themselves—whether that be in trafficking or rescuing women and children from abusive situations. We’re not directly going in and preaching the Gospel to these people, but I try to look at every situation through the eyes of Jesus (or as the old ’90s bracelet says, “What Would Jesus Do?”). We can share the Gospel with people without ever mentioning the words, “God” or “Jesus” by caring for them and loving them with the same love that Christ shows us. Don’t think that God can’t take it from there!
There are a lot of places and times to open up God’s Word and share the message of salvation with people, but many of these people first need to be rescued in this life before their eternal lives can be saved. After that, we try to place these women and children in a Christian aftercare where they will hear about Christ’s love. But whether or not we are able to share the Bible with these victims, even if Jesus’ name is never mentioned, they know that this is coming from the Lord. There’s something about being loved by someone unexpectedly and unconditionally—how odd that is—that changes people.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” —James 1:27
Adam LaRoche is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Adam’s profile on The Increase: http://theincrease.com/author/adam-laroche/
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