Yes, I know my “feature image” is sideways. For those that love and adore me, its for you:) For those that don’t know and understand, I suck at techy/computer stuff. Regardless of the angle, the picture is a powerful memory of an encounter with destiny. I learned more about Jesus on this day, in this moment then I have in a very long time. You’ll understand at the end of the blog. Anyway, its a long one. Grab a drink and relax, I am about to share some things. Here we go! (Again, for those that don’t know I am not good at blog writing or support letter writing so this is actually pretty special:)
Good morning or afternoon, maybe evening. I am killing a few birds with one stone in this attempt to reach out for support. Many have asked me to write a blog so I am combining the two. Most important this is an urgent fundraiser for my personal expenses through the winter, spring and seed money to complete projects that I am working on.
To update you on what exactly I do with my time, these projects include…
The “Talk Line” Poster Project and outreach training. We have created an attractive and powerful poster that will speak to girls and women that may be vulnerable or trapped in the life of sex trafficking. Our goal is to see these posters up in bathrooms and locations all across North Dakota- ultimately the Nation. We need volunteers trained and dedicated to be on call and ready to respond. If a girl is brave enough to call she will have someone on the other end ready to talk for as long as she needs. Relationship building is the number one goal of 4her on all levels. Rescue, although at times necessary isn’t the reality for this work. Its relationship and mentoring at all levels. I know if your daughter was in this danger this poster would be important to you. Remember…. SHE is SOMEONEs Daughter! HIS!
Our ManUp4her Campaign is a men leading men with support through education with the goal to bring awareness to the harms of porn and what men are participating in when they purchase sex in any form. 4her knows that leaving the “porn” discussion out of the fight and not aggressively addressing DEMAND will only leave our work half done. Men have responded in a genuinely caring way when this is discussed with no shame and simple truth presented. I have been honored to walk some men through the process of discovering their God given strength in becoming a hero on the frontlines by educating other men on the reality of exploitation through objectification of women and truth be told, little girls. ManUp4her is critical in fighting the victimization of women and children and it’s something I am passionate about. Allowing my testimony to be used to bring men to an understanding of this reality was horrifying to be honest but when I saw how powerful it was I gave it up to be used.
4her Tea Parties are awareness and empowerment events for girls 12-14 – educating the most vulnerable on how unsafe social media is and empowering them to make wise choices because they are ultimately valued no matter what. We know the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 (yes, you can gasp!) it’s the truth.
So we MUST get to the kids
before predators do! We just had our first Tea on Nov. 22nd in Williston. It was a HUGE success. We would love to come to your town with the same model and participation of Miss North Dakota Delanie Wiedrich and Danita Evens Bye, both poured empowerment into the girls and as an added bonus the powerful presence off B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse) were there with a message of protection and courage as well as to serve the girls – it was so sweet. Yes, they fired up the bikes and we all got chills. Well, I didJ Keep in mind this is not a fundraiser for 4her. It is our organizations way
to give back to the communities that rally along side us.
Another honor I never saw coming was the invitation to sit on the Attorney Generals Human Trafficking Advisory Committee. I was invited to be a part of creating the first “John” School here in North Dakota modeled after the highly successful programs around the Nation that educate and hold accountable first time purchasers of prostitution. We will not recreate the wheel as there has been a great example to follow. This I hope, as do others who sit on the Committee, will curb the Demand and send a very clear message that North Dakota does not agree with purchasing sex and sees it as violence against women. Purchasing children is obviously a horrific crime that is happening here. We need to become more aggressive in reporting and spotting the victims and predators. We are working hard!!!
I have been in North Dakota for two years now. October 17th was my arrival anniversary and the 31st marked the day I decided to stay and take on being the catalyst in the fight. I thought North Dakota was just behind in fashion (lol). When I showed up here two years ago no one had funky colored hair and I was told I wouldn’t be taken seriously with “crazy pink hair”.
When I would explain my hair was an “in” with the girls I reach people kinda got it, but still, who has bright pink hair? Now everyone in North Dakota!!! Seriously, rural America is behind and catching up because of the internet but in the area of understanding sex trafficking they are truly 3-4 years behind the movement. I have had to adjust my abilities and frustrations as you can imagine. I can’t hold back any longer. The “brick by brick” approach is not working. Pimps (traffickers) seriously laugh, girls feel hopeless and the corruption is spreading.
I have been blown away at the negligence of the faith community to bring this vital awareness into their churches, not as a hot topic and trendy mission but because their kids are being groomed and their men the Demand while women continue to stand by judging what they don’t understand when in all reality the “poor girl” they will give their hand me downs to could be their daughter. – (exhale…) That is all I am going to say about that. Call 406-844-0377 to discuss me coming to speak to your congregation about this very real threat and reality infesting your community. (I would also encourage adding 4her to your giving list this holiday season). I love the church and am the church and a part of the body. I want to be an influencer of change and empower this great need to address porn, exploitation, child abuse and denial in the church and our role in combating this biblically.
We have a home we desperately need to open. That will take at the very least 6 months to a year to properly set up. I have been a part of the larger
movement around the United States for 6 years now. I have seen programs come and go, succeed and fail. I am again, not going to recreate the wheel nor am I going to do this alone. I have to be able to “get my house in order” so to speak so that I can offer girls who are ready to leave a safe and stable option. Our federal Non Profit Status needs to be completed, I need to hire staff and train volunteers and grant writing has to be a priority. Can I do this all? YES! I can. My dream, my goal and my calling is to be the CEO and founder of a successful ministry program combatting sex trafficking in America. I am an example to the young women I love on during outreach. Not everyone wants to be a CEO of a Non-Profit. “My girls” have dreams and desires of their own- I just prove you can do anything you set your mind to NO MATTER WHAT THE PAST LOOKED LIKE!!!!
Also this year, I was part of the legislation process that allocated for funding to be made available to help victims and 4her is in line to be a key recipient. Much work needs to be done before this can happen. This takes time for me to be able to sit and focus and not worry about how the phone bill or rent will be paid. With bad weather coming I cannot travel and speak which has been my main source of income. Until I am given a salary and grant funding comes in all of what I just talked about has been done on what has come in and what I have made through speaking. I have hit a wall. It’s all in, or go home. Where that would be I don’t know as I could not imagine walking away at this point KNOWING the truth of what hinders the breakthrough is the need for more awareness and funding. My life will never be normal again. (was it ever, lol) Not when you have seen the evil that exists and know that your voice and heart can save a life. I hope that encourages someone out there who may be sitting on the fence. Go watch a Francis Chan marathon or Benjamin Nolot Channel on YOUTUBE and JUMP IN!!! We need more FRONTLINE WARRIORS! You don’t have to be a survivor, you don’t have to have it all together and you don’t have to be uber educated. You need faith and obedience! In that you cannot fail.
I begin Leadership Training in January because I know great leaders are not “born”. I am aligning myself with incredible teachers who speak my language and even stretch me in ways I know I need to grow to become the woman God intended me to be. I have said it before, I believe with all my heart I would be right here, passionate about fighting against this evil even if I had never experienced it myself at 13. It’s in my blood and as my identity in Christ develops I am more courageous and confident that “Through HIM all things are possible!” Ending Sex Trafficking? Honestly, I can’t say that. I walk where my faith won’t fail- Fighting it and making a major impact- ABSOLUTELY!
4her has been an established registered non-profit for nearly 2 years. In that time, we have seen great victories. The first and foremost, young women’s lives saved. From literal rescue, which isn’t the norm, to continued services, housing, transition and support, the young women I serve come FIRST.
Man…. I hope this isn’t too long. I just have so much to share. Hang in there. I am almost doneJ
What keeps me going? I just received news that one of the first girls I was able to walk beside on her journey just entered into nursing school. YES! I am pretty proud. If it all ends now. I would not feel like I failed. But I know there is more. I just need time and the ability to breathe.
I continue to mentor girls from all around the United States and support families with critical advocacy. Still, to this date, two years after my arrival, 4her is the only established advocacy program exclusively educating and serving communities on the brutal reality that SEX TRAFFICKING is here in NORTH DAKOTA. We have traveled extensively, no matter the cost to speak to the churches that will have us, found favor
with schools where most won’t let the topic be discussed and community groups in order to raise awareness. We still face many challenges. With awareness eyes open and the need for a response is at hand. We cannot turn our backs on girls who need us after we have worked so hard at getting the public to identify them. It’s only the beginning and when looking to those who have gone before me like Venita Carter, Rachel Llyod and Annie Lobert I am right on track. All of whom have given me great insight and words of wisdom as I continue to forge ahead in Rural America of all places. (I hate snow and I hate dirt, you know its God!)
Some of you may know we had success in the legislative session. We need actions now behind the laws that were established. We brought our State grade from a “D” to a “B” in one year. When I arrived we had an “F”.
Copy and Paste the link below for full report-
On paper this all looks really amazing. BUT we have minors being trafficked- that’s not even being reported, young women of color, who are victims, charged with trafficking. Men are not even being arrested, men who are acting out violent sexual fantasy on girls brought here under pimp control? I have to stand boldly in front of those who have power and ask WHY?
The biggest challenge is still with those that need to see these young women as victims and that brutal pimps are here in this area preying upon those who are vulnerable. AGE makes a girl vulnerable. The reservations are vulnerable and with the slowdown of the oil and drug use rising- the battle has just begun. I understand it does not “look good” for North Dakotas Economic Development BUT it’s not going away- Someone needs to be the voice. I am willing to do all I can to help bring solutions to the overcrowded women’s jail and domestic violence shelters so that The Bakken IS A SAFE PLACE TO RAISE A FAMILY. The more this is ignored the louder I will get.
I am encouraged by verbal support; your words mean so much, truly! I am asked to stay when I feel like giving up. I am contacted by a moms who pleads “Please help, you’re the only one here who understands!” right when I am researching “who’s hiring”. Political figures encourage me to “hang in there, you’re making a difference!” and men who didn’t understand the “choice” factor have stopped buying sex. I AM MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!!
I put in endless hours in outreach and research, paperwork and travel. I am not complaining; I just don’t think some people understand the need and the dedication. I’m past being seen as a “rouge warrior here to make peace with my past” – that makes me laugh, like seriously LOL! No, really… they do say that and its so far from who I am. I am a trained professional, a licensed Chaplain and an expert in the field of sex trafficking who has had great success at providing support to victims and bringing justice to the criminals. Bless her heart, I heard one volunteer describing 4her as a “charity”. I was like (not being cocky but confident),
North Dakota needs US! The girls we serve are far from “poor and helpless”! We are fighting to take criminals off the streets and free the most powerful women on the planet! (I know some of you are cheering!!! I can hear it!) We are a powerful organization that is here to win a battle. Bless her heart, she isn’t serving us anymore. And that’s okay! This is a hard topic and hard work. I have known from day one it would be a small army. I look at the movement around the GLOBE- it’s a small army of fierce hearts ready to take ground on behalf of JUSTICE!
I got a call the other day from someone asking if I had space in my 30 bed shelter? This opened a conversation that led me to believe that most of you probably think I am fully funded and have big supporters. Please know the media exposure like CNN and NPR has helped raise awareness but not financially in any way. So many think I am paid to do this. Remember, I showed up with a suitcase on my way back to Miami and made the decision to stay because of the desperate need I witnessed.
I feel as though breakthrough is right around the corner and the flow will become steady. But I need your help, North Dakota needs your help! THE VICTIMS need YOUR help! Or I have to leave. Its comes down to that.
I need to be free to speak and use my voice boldly in confronting this because quit frankly some people need to wake up. Kids are being trafficked here. There are not pictures of wide eyed children in desperate need I can post. Trust me. I see their faces regularly.
People say, “Windie, take some time for self-care, go on a vacation, you’re in this too deep!” I kindly feel a punch to the gut to be honest. Family invites me to visit for the holidays and I am thinking, “People really don’t understand I am doing this without getting paid.” Every picture of me holding up a peace sign in the bright sun is coming from or going to work. I take every minute that I can. I will continue to do this without getting paid, but I don’t have to. I think people see the value and sincerely want me to continue my work. I have come to realize that the normal (I’m not:)) person wouldn’t do this. I have laid down my life for this work- no matter
the cost. If everyone that believes in my work and supports me verbally gave what is needed it would shoot 4her through the roof and take a lot of pressure off so that I could make the vision of 4her a reality. I’m going to do it anyway, I would just love to do it with less stressJ Plus, I want YOU to be a part of it. There is no greater feeling then to know you had a hand at saving a life and changing the world! JOIN ME!!! It’s hard but its exciting!
Get this, I have been battling being honest and vulnerable- it’s hard. I don’t ask for help. I was reminded yesterday by a dear mentor, You’re NOT ASKING FOR YOU!!! I have been sitting on doing this and made small attempts to put it out there but now I need to make a decision by the first of December on what to do. Pride comes before a fall and WE cannot allow 4her to fail. I can sit with traffickers and plea for a girl’s life, testify in court as an expert witness on behalf of a young girls’ freedom, I can enter into brothels and sit with girls who just need a friendly reminder that they are loved and visit the strip clubs to give bear hugs to people I genuinely love- LIKE JESUS would. To ask for help…. I struggle. I have come to realize if I don’t I will be forced to quit. North Dakota cannot afford for me to quit, although I think some would be really happy if I did. (just sayin’)
I am honored to do this work and thank you for your time in reading this update, blog of sorts and funding plea.
Last little story…. I appreciate your time! This was a powerful moment for me, I want to share.
I was in the kitchen of the hotel where we hosted the Tea last week being sprayed in the face with nasty, dirty dishwater, washing the dishes from the powerfully sweet event the night before that we know impacted and changed three little girls lives for sure, I was in tears. Across town another girl had just been found beaten and raped in Epping, I was desperate to shed truth on the situation and my voice was falling on deaf ears and hard hearts. Knowing my rent is due, brutal weather is coming and hearing people say “don’t leave” I prayed. Because through all of this two things have happened- two of the most important things, lives have been saved and I have learned a greater, deeper dependence on God- MY ROCK, this has been a journey. Not a journey free of mistakes, struggle, heartbreak or personal battle. A bittersweet journey with me kicking and screaming a good majority of the way.
So, I prayed… Because IT WORKS! As my prayer started as most do feeling sorry for myself I saw Jesus sitting on the floor washing nasty dirty fee. He was full of all-encompassing Love, (he was human, he had a nose…:) He took His time. He dried their feet with Grace, understanding just how important that act of humility was in teaching us so many things. NOthing is above choosing to serve those we are sent to serve. I knew I needed to ask for help. Pride has no place here – I washed those dishes “like a boss” honored to be chosen to be here serving the least of these. Determined to see total victory so that God is glorified and the captives set free. THAT for those of you that don’t know me is my heart.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, to give and to pray. Please don’t think “she will get enough” I need YOUR help. Watch the progress as God works on the hearts of people to support this work and be excited in how He is moving. I trust God was with me as I wrote this. I am shaking as I hit send. I trust HIM!
Follow 4her on facebook at www.facebook.com/4hernd
Just google 4her, Windie Lazenko- to see what has been done. THANK YOU!!!!!
P.S. Because of the content my recent GoFundMe is being reviewed. This could take up to 7 days, they say. You can go directly to my website and make and immediate donation benefitting the work of 4her http://www.4hernd.org/donate