Over the past decade, one Winnipeg couple's ministry has seen the power of prayer as it focuses on ending the atrocity of human trafficking.
Marla Friesen and her husband Lowell started Freedom Prayer Network almost 10 years ago.
"When I first became aware of the issues of human trafficking, I learned from many of the organizations that the work they're doing is very emotionally and spiritually draining," says Friesen. "Participants in programs are coming from a very deep and wounded place. What happens, unfortunately, in those situations, strongholds pull participants back to old patterns, thinking, and lifestyles."
This means that even though people are being set free from modern-day slavery, staying out and believing they're worth it is a difficult hurdle for them. Much of this has to do with fear and manipulation.
"They often find themselves coming in and out of programs before they actually stay with the program to see it to completion. My heart broke and I knew I needed to get involved, but I'm not trained in trauma counselling or law enforcement."
Friesen and her husband brainstormed as to what it was they could contribute to people helping set trafficked individuals free.
"I was reminded though that if I believe in the power of prayer and if I believe that the Lord can bring wholeness and healing, why isn't the church shoring up alongside these ministries and engaging with them in the most powerful way we know how to help move them forward."
That's when Freedom Prayer Network was born. Friesen is thrilled to be hosting a prayer event this weekend.
"Freedom Fair is a two-hour prayer and worship night that encourages participants to come, gather, and lift up front-line ministries that are fighting against human trafficking," says Friesen. "It's set up like a fair-style event where there will be booths and tables. It's an opportunity for the church to engage, empower, and encourage these ministries as they fight against human trafficking."
Freedom Fair evening is happening at Fort Richmond Baptist Church in Winnipeg on Sunday, September 25. The event will start at 7:00 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30. People can join the event in person or online.
"In this year leading up to our 10th anniversary, we're going to take each month to highlight the prayer points that we prayed over the ministries to build up to next year. We want to celebrate those things we've seen the Lord doing in the past nine to 10 years."