Let me say more.

[A Thread.]

I'm specifically talking about evangelical Christian ministries. Though my experience is only based on one mostly, I think that experience and what we know about evangelical culture sheds light on the situation.

#EmptyThePews #Exvangelical
Fresh out of grad school I was a church funded "missionary" at a small non-profit for girls who had been sex trafficked. I spent 2 months working there before they closed.
Before I went I had a funny feeling about how things would go and the leadership. But alas, I went because that's where God wanted me to be.

I was right.
The leadership was terrible. They were unethical. Short staffed. Horrible boundaries. Not able to support staff financially. Staff not well trained, or educated in the area of trauma. Etc.
My first day on the job the ED told me she was looking for a new job and was hoping I could take her position.

A couple weeks in the founder told me she was thinking of firing the ED and was hoping I could take her position.

I was 5 months out from graduation.
They wanted to items meant to be purchased by a grant donated so that we could use the money elsewhere.

When the ED quit, they asked me to stand in, or at least use my name so they wouldn't shut down. (Their license required someone with a degree & I was the only option.)
They wanted to use my name on paper so they wouldn't shut down. Talk about manipulation. I said yes. But after being advised by smart people I took it back. When I did, the founder asked the ED to keep her name on paper until they replaced her.
When the staff and I concluded we needed to close because of the severe lack of funding, we spoke with the founder about this. She heard us but wanted to pray about it first. We sat in a circle and she prayed. They prayed. I did not. I was angry.
They had staff living inside the home with the girls. Talk about lack of boundaries and self-care. There was no sustainability because they couldn't pay staff.
The way the money was handled seemed sketchy at best. The ED had zero awareness of the budget/money. The founder handled it. The board was not helpful. They didn't keep the founder accountable, didn't know what they were doing.
After we officially decided to close and needed to find another placement for the girls, the founder put a desperate plea on FB for staff or we would have to send the girls away. More manipulation. Zero professionalism. Going back on what the team decided.
When we failed to find placement, the founder and her husband moved INTO the home with the girls after all the staff left. I moved back home with my parents and felt like a disgrace to my church for having to discontinue my funding 2 months in.
The week things blew up there was the week of the 2016 election. My dad also had major surgery on election day.

It was the worst week of my life. The first 2 things contributed majorly to my decent down the slippery slope into a faith crisis >>progressive Xianity >> nonbeliever
When one of the girls got kicked out they sent her back home to a homeless shelter, several states away on a bus by herself. She was a minor, not super stable, highly traumatized. They then moved the remaining girl into THEIR home as a foster kid.
Eventually the girl got taken by children and youth and eventually sent back to her mom which wasn't a good situation either.
They lost their license and were closed for a while. The entire time they were closed they were raising funds for... what? They did hire a new ED and director, and now they're aiming to serve adult survivors. You don't need a license for that.
Oh. A gem I always forget. One of the girls was actively harming herself on one of my shifts (banging her head on the desk). I'm positive it was more seeking attention, but hello you don't play around with that shit. They wouldn't let me call crisis to help her.
They are so highly respected in the community, but the community doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes. The founder sincerely believes this is her calling and she has a good heart, but can't recognize when she is causing more harm or when she should mayne let go.
I remember her talking about all of this being an attack of Satan. All their road blocks were an attack of Satan for doing God's work.

Nope. Your good heart is not enough. You need so much more than a good heart to do this work. You are the cause of the roadblocks.
Also, important to note that the founder, actually most of the staff, were Trump supporters.

Both the girls were of color. And sexually trafficked.
I took them to a church one time and they were praying for Trump to be protected. I wanted to scoop the girls up and run. They knew how I felt. The girls knew enough to not like Trump. Kids.
After he won, one of the girls asked her adopted dad on the phone if Trump would send her back to Africa. It broke my heart, especially knowing that these people who are evangelizing to her, supported a man who made her feel unsafe.
I think that's a good point to start with. They get to be saviors of these poor victims, save their souls, and support theology and politics that actively harm these victims.
Statistics show that a super high percentage of women and girls who are sex trafficked are of color. We know how dangerous white evangelicals are to people of color.

The white savior evangelical complex saving their souls.
I knew of another home that talked for years about opening a home. They couldn't get the money. I don't know if they've opened up yet, but it seemed to rocky of a start for it to be sustainable and therefore not posing a risk for more harm to the victims.
I just found another Christian ministry in my area who wants to open a home.

I'm not saying these people don't have good hearts and good intentions. But we know those are not enough. Especially when you could cause very real harm.
I truly believe those girls that were at the home were unnecessarily further traumatized by what they experienced there. Not to mention the potential spiritual trauma of teaching white evangelical theology. Both girls "got saved" while they were there.
They also never recieved any real therapy or help while they were there.
Lack of funding, lack of sustainability, lack of resources, lack of staff, results in desperation (ie asking a fresh college grad to run your organization), mediocre help (not real therapy), and more vulnerability for the victims (having to send to new placements, etc).
I worked with actual professionals across the state who were doing this work and they all knew that these ministries that popped up were not reliable or up to our standard of care. We had long conversations about whether we should include them in our resource guides.
Human trafficking has become such a heroic buzz topic. It was my passion for 9+ years. People praised me for it.

But when I became political, when I started talking about racism and problems that were more tangible to "home", people didn't want to hear me anymore.
So white evangelicals get this calling and think their good hearts are enough and God will provide the rest, because after all, "he qualifies the called, not calls the qualified".
It's an entire mentality within white evangelicalism that you don't have to be qualified to do anything because God will qualify you. And if anything goes wrong, it is Satan going against you. It absolves them of all responsibility.

This is so dangerous.
I still have so much to process through this experience. I started therapy partially to do that, but have yet to really do it because I've dealt with so much else re: politics, family, sexuality, coming out, faith crisis/loss etc.
I admit I'm bitter. I'm still angry and get a little triggered when I see pictures and updates of the place.

But I do think there is truth in a lot of this & probably so much more I didn't even touch. I see it now that my eyes have opened post evangelicalism.
#EmptyThePews
This was super therapeutic and helped me realize some tender spots I still need to work through, so thank you Twitter for letting me process.
Shit. An ENTIRE point I forgot. It's late.

Not to mention white evangelicals support wives submitting to their husbands, duty to provide sex, purity culture etc.

They're helping sex trauma victims while supporting a rapist for president and literally teaching rape culture.
Fuck I'm angry.
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