You’re invited on a journey with our guest Joy Marie Chamberland, the founder of Freedoms Bridge, a ministry that bridges the 72 hour gap for survivors of human trafficking. An unlikely candidate with an incredible mission from the Lord.
We covered the calling that touched her heart, her journey to Kansas City from the beautiful state of Connecticut. Her ministry to law enforcement in Kansas City, beginning Freedom’s Bridge and so much more of the incredible adventure God has her on.
Ministry Name: Freedom’s Bridge a ministry of Colonial Presbyterian Church.
Ministry Scripture: Ezekiel 34:16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Giving: If you would like to give financially to Freedom’s Bridge please make you checks out to Colonial Presbyterian Church and in the memo line put Freedom’s Bridge.
9500 Wornall Rd Kansas City MO, 64114
Contact: If you would like to contact Joy Marie her email is: email@example.com
Nathan Sack 00:18
Thanks for joining us for another Faith Horizons podcast. The purpose of a Faith Horizons podcast is to discover the kingdom of God in Kansas City, one conversation at a time. You’re invited on a journey with our guest Joy Marie Chamberland, the founder of Freedom’s Bridge, a ministry that bridges the 72 hour gap for survivors of human trafficking. An unlikely candidate with an incredible mission from the Lord. We covered the calling that touched her heart, her journey to Kansas City from the beautiful state of Connecticut, her ministry to law enforcement in Kansas City, beginning Freedom’s Bridge, and so much more of the incredible adventure God has her on. Here’s my conversation with Joy Marie Chamberland. Welcome to the Faith Horizons podcast. It’s I’m so excited to be able to interview you hear what God is doing in the new ministry that you’ve started. And also just to hear kind of the backstory and just give you an opportunity to speak on your heart for this city, and also the calling that God has put on your life. Welcome Joy Marie.
Joy Marie 01:26
Thank you very much. Thanks, Nathan. It is a pleasure to be here. I’m rather excited. Anything to talk about the love of my life is always a delightful opportunity.
Nathan Sack 01:37
So what would you say the love of your life is?
Joy Marie 01:39
So that would be Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior. Hands down. I mean, truthfully, there are times when somebody will look at me and ask, have you just fallen in love? Have you met someone? Have you fallen in love? There’s a glow about you. And it’s like, well, as a matter of fact, not that I’ve met someone, but let me tell you. Yes, I am a woman in love.
Nathan Sack 02:01
Yes. So from what I hear, we’ve talked a little bit before this, you were in Connecticut. And how long ago were you in Connecticut.
Joy Marie 02:12
I was in Connecticut. Up until six and a half years ago. I was born, raised, married and widowed in Connecticut. Not a traveler, not one who likes to go here and there. I’m basically I’m happy hunkered down in my little in my little world. And-
Nathan Sack 02:35
So you were happy in Connecticut.
Joy Marie 02:36
I was dumb and happy in Connecticut. I was working full time in a large corporation. Corporate America was my mission field. I was a high level executive assistant. Very happy with what very happy with what I was doing. Knowing every day that I walked into that building, and I got to speak the name Jesus, whether they wanted to hear it or not. I used to drive to work and say Satan, I defy you to get me fired. Because God put me there and God will take me out. And so I was happy as could be. And then also doing ministry through my church, very active in ministry, at church, Bible studies, number of different other activities. And then I came out to Kansas City.
Nathan Sack 03:25
God had other plans.
Joy Marie 03:27
Did He ever. He did have other plans, one of my spiritual sons announced that he was coming out to IHOP to do an internship, International House of Prayer KC. And the moment he said that Holy Spirit said drive out with him. And I thought, well, that’s rather peculiar, because I’m not a traveler. But the amazing thing what startled me was how readily I thought, okay, that was out of character for me, my immediate, okay. So I drove out with him to help him get settled in. This was January of 2012. We drive out here. We’re four days and I’m going to help him get set up in his apartment. So I’m sleeping on an air mattress in his roommates room. And day three of while we’re here, I’m here. We’re driving to dinner that night. I’m driving, and all at once Holy Spirit, pierce’s me and says, this is home. Kansas City is your home. So that was January 2012. I’m surprised I didn’t drive off the road to be perfectly honest with you. It was so clear, so distinct and loud, and it pierced not just my mind, but my spirit. My body was literally trembling when I got out of the car at the restaurant. I have no idea how I carried on a conversation. I didn’t say a word to anyone about it. But the remaining few days I was here in KC He just kept repeating over and over. This is home. This is home. To which I kept saying no, it’s not. I don’t think- I got on a plane to fly back to Connecticut and I cried. The entire connect there is home to Connecticut. I don’t want to come here. This is not my home. For two weeks after I arrived back in Connecticut every night for two weeks I went upstairs in my bedroom, got on my knees at 8pm every night and gave God every lame reason why I shouldn’t move here.
Nathan Sack 05:32
You had a list.
Joy Marie 05:33
I did, but I couldn’t tell you right now what it was. And it was probably the most lame excuse ever. And after two solid weeks of that I did a faceplant on the bed and said alright, fine. Fine. Now I now I believe. Okay, I said yes, I’m coming. Oh, no. Oh, no. 40 months, four-zero months. From the time I said yes until he released me from Connecticut. In 2012 he told me a number of things that I was to do when I got here. I was to one, I was to retire early from my job. I was not to bring my resume. I was not to update it. Bring it don’t even touch it. Do not bring your resume. When you move home to Kansas City you’re working for me. I have written your job description. So that was one instruction. The other was I’m sitting minding my own business at work one day, and it was stop what you’re doing and compose this, this letter that you are going to send to the entire company. When you leave when your departure when your resignation is announced. Okay, fine. The only thing that wasn’t there were the dates of my was my end date, my termination date. But it was, I’m leaving here to pursue full time ministry. I can’t remember everything else it said but wrote all that. Then it was I asked Him I love to play dress up. Do I have to get rid of all my nice clothes? He said no. I still want you to wear what you’re wearing. And do not buying any new clothes when you get to Kansas City because no one has seen your wardrobe, so you are going there with a brand-new wardrobe. How cool is that? The other thing is you your last day of employment will be a Wednesday. And four days later you will climb into a moving truck, a Budget Rental truck. He was very clear Budget Rental truck. Towing my car behind me with my little parakeet Pastor Puffy riding shotgun.
Nathan Sack 07:42
Were you driving the Budget Rental truck?
Joy Marie 07:46
Yes, yes. Oh, oh yeah, He would wouldn’t He. And I was to stay in motels, not hotels. I was to stay in motels. And every motel I stayed in, I was to pray for those being trafficked in those very motels.
Nathan Sack 08:00
Okay, so we got to go back a little bit here. So okay, so the calling so there was a calling on your life before you left Kansas I mean, before you left Connecticut?
Joy Marie 08:09
Yes, there was.
Nathan Sack 08:10
So was that calling before God calls you to Kansas City? Or was it? Or was it after God called you to Kansas City? When did He begin to define that call in your life?
Joy Marie 08:19
While I was still in Connecticut. This was-
Nathan Sack 08:23
But after He told you or before He told you?
Joy Marie 08:25
No, long before. It was before. I was involved in a grassroots ministry that is now flourishing, praise God. But I was involved in a grassroots ministry in Connecticut that was targeting trafficked victims of human trafficking, primarily high school girls. And there was a-there still is. There’s a stretch in a certain town in Connecticut, like a five-mile stretch. It’s an it’s not an interstate, but you know, it’s one of those. At the time, it was the only highway that connected south to north in New England. It’s a five-mile stretch. There are 35 motels on this in this five-mile radius. All but one, all but one mind you does not offer hourly rates. What does that tell you? That was the that was the target. That was the focus.
Nathan Sack 09:25
So you had a calling on your life to help human trafficking victims before you left, Connecticut.
Joy Marie 09:32
Yes, I did. Absolutely.
Nathan Sack 09:33
That’s incredible. And then you were able to help a grassroots organization. And God actually called you to sow a seed of finances in that organization.
Joy Marie 09:44
I know it was wonderful. It really and I’m, I remain on their distribution lists. So I just this week received or at the end of last week, received an email an update. They’re doing tremendous, tremendous work.
Nathan Sack 09:59
I wonder if God sees that type of an investment, as like an investment into your personal ministry. I’m just trying to think of like how God saw that, you know, He’s like, I want you to sow into this, because this is what you are going to be doing.
Joy Marie 10:15
Nathan Sack 10:17
Like a mustard seed investment, you know.
Joy Marie 10:19
Quite possibly. No, you’re absolutely right. And I’m sure that it all ties in. There’s nothing. I mean, it’s just the thread of His tapestry. You know, it’s the thread of His tapestry. And every now and then, well, we tend we- I tend to see the back of the tapestry with the, the braids, and the knots and the cuts in the threads, you know, the phrase, every now and then He flips it over. And it’s like, oh, and in that moment, it’s like, oh, my goodness, I just I can’t stop this. I can’t stop. You’ve called me to this. We all have a there’s not one person who walks with the Lord, in my opinion, that does not everyone has a calling. Everyone has a calling. But then there are some that are chosen to do something exclusive or unique. But everyone has a calling. Anyone who has surrendered to Him. If you’re fully surrendered, whatever He calls you to do daily. We are to do and I missed the mark, don’t get me. Don’t get me wrong.
Nathan Sack 11:24
We all do.
Joy Marie 11:24
I missed the mark. You know, I miss things. Certainly we all do in the minutiae of our daily, our daily life. But, but I know that each one thing I know Nathan, He chose me for this. He didn’t just call me He chose me.
Nathan Sack 11:41
I was gonna say, you know, one of the greatest things that can happen in your Christian walk is that the Lord wants He calls you to partner with Him on a specific item. And, and it’s almost like, well, I don’t know if I but let me tell you something that is the greatest relationship you will ever have with the Lord is partnering with the Lord on what He cares about. Because it becomes what you care about. Almost immediately, I care about this because God cares about this. I mean, you can say that for almost any person that has a calling in ministry that they partnered with something that God cared about. And it just says delight yourself in the Lord and I’ll give you the desires of your heart and it uncovered maybe even unknown desires of their heart. So once you got to Kansas City, how long was it before God began stirring your heart? And kind of what was some of the process that got you towards starting Freedom’s Bridge?
Joy Marie 12:44
I arrived Kansas City, Missouri on May 13 of 2015. And thought, great jumping in and got nothing. I mean, nothing. I flipped in flop like a fish on a dry dock. It’s like, oh, what is Lord? You said you brought me out here. I tried to get involved three times with other established ministries that deal with human trafficking. Three times door closed. The third time I asked, did I get it wrong. And Holy Spirit said, it’s not time. That’s all He said. So that was 2015. You know, I was a shuttle driver. I volunteered at IHOP House of Prayer as a shuttle driver. I did a couple of other things. I operated a guest house for 22 months. At the conclusion of the 22 months I knew that something was happening. Now we’re going from 2015 now it’s 2017. So June of 2017 I realized God’s closing the door on me operating a guest house. I’m fine with that because door closes He opens another one. I’m walking on the trails. Not far from here. Not far from the church here.
Nathan Sack 14:03
Joy Marie 14:04
No, no, not Shiloh that literally the walking trails that are that are right here where the little pond is as you drive here.
Nathan Sack 14:11
Right on Blue River, Blue River Road.
Joy Marie 14:13
Thank you, correct walking those trails. Holy Spirit says to me I want you to pray for law enforcement. To which I say- June of 2017. At the time, this was when the trail murders were happening. And the Lord says walk the trails and pray. So I’m walking those trails. And I’m praying, pray for law enforcement. Okay, I kid you not within 15 minutes of saying yes I round the bend on when on the trail and who’s coming toward me on horseback, but KCPD Mounted Patrol. To which I say hello. Lord said I’m to pray for law enforcement. May I pray for your horse and you? Sure so I literally and I just saw this officer yesterday, believe it or not, I literally put my hand on Samson the horse and on and I asked, could I put my hand on your calf? And I put my hand on the officer’s calf and prayed for both of them. So that was don’t ask I, I’m going to say it was a Wednesday, but I could be wrong. Literally pray for law enforcement. It had to be a Wednesday because I basically, it was Wednesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, same officer, same location, all three dates ran, you know, I didn’t plan this. I did not plan this round the bend. Here comes the office, here comes Samson, the horse and two other officers are. So now there’s three officers. The third day there were three officers. You know, something happens the first time it’s like, oh, God, that was pretty cool. Second day, huh? The wheels are turning because it’s the same thing the second day. The third day, this is a Holy Spirit two by four.
Nathan Sack 15:57
Hope you noticed it.
Joy Marie 15:58
It’s like, Papa, what do you want me to know? And He’s like, pray for law enforcement. So there began my journey with KCPD. And, and just a side note, my personal ministry is Kansas City police. I ride with Kansas City police officers to pray for them. I pray for all of them. God uses again, it’s the threads. It’s the stepping stones. God knew that had to happen first. So here I’m here I am praying for law enforcement. In September of 2017 I climb into a police car for the first time to do a ride along. And I haven’t stopped since. As a result of that, I was introduced to the citizen Police Academy, the KCMO Citizen Police Academy, attended the academy, graduated and because I had done the citizen Police Academy, the Police Academy in 2019, I’m jumping ahead. But in 2019, I received an invitation from Homeland Security to apply and be considered for the first ever Homeland Security Citizen Academy, the first ever first ever in Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri. I applied clearly, you know, and you have to write on your application. Why? Because the Lord said, I’m to pray for law enforcement. And I’m to do this, and I’m to do that. So I was fully vetted, obviously, deep, deep dive, background check, etc. And I was accepted. So very first class I arrive. And my little name, name, tent card said, Joy Marie Chamberland, minister, and I thought I’m good with that. Many of the agents who were teaching the course are believers. So during breaks, they began to take me aside and asked me to pray for cases they were working on. Nothing they divulge nothing that was compromising, but they were giving me names of trafficking victims. Would you please pray for, we are in the midst of building a case, we’re looking to rescue this individual. And I’m just going to call her Susie, that’s not her name. But would you please pray for Susie? Would you keep us in prayer. And that progressed. Every week it was more and more. So now I graduate the night of graduation, which was November-
Nathan Sack 18:40
How long did homeland- how long was the whole event? Was it like three weeks? Six weeks?
Joy Marie 18:45
It was 10 weeks.
Nathan Sack 18:47
That’s pretty long time. Was it every night like Monday through Friday?
Joy Marie 18:50
No, it was once a week. But it was hands on and it was a three hour intensive.
Nathan Sack 18:56
So you had 30 hours there.
Joy Marie 18:57
I know how to sweep a room. I know how to do surveillance. There are a lot- I know how to write a subpoena, a search warrant. There are a number of things. And yes, it’s really it’s really cool.
Nathan Sack 19:10
That’s pretty comprehensive. It’s a good amount of time that allows you to-
Joy Marie 19:14
So yes, absolutely.
Nathan Sack 19:17
I just I was also saying that you also had time to create relationships and meet the people. And I knew we were talking about when you say they asked for me to pray for this or pray for that. You know, you are creating relationships.
Joy Marie 19:31
It is. It’s relational because it’s God. You know, when the Lord when He’s breathing on it, it has to be relational. Yes, it has to be absolutely. So graduation comes and an agent takes me aside and starts talking to me, but then other agents join us. And I’m standing there with agents, again November of 19. And they tell me they’re hamstrung when it comes to a traffic rescue. They rescue an individual, and I’ll just use you as an example. So you are rescued, you are brought to their offices, whether it’s homeland, police, it doesn’t matter law enforcement, you’re brought to their offices. You remain in their conference room until the victim advocate, social worker, whomever can find somewhere for you to be placed, whether it’s a shelter arrangements, but it’s this is a 72 hour gap from the time of rescue until the individual can be placed into a shelter facility, whatever the case may be. Law enforcement cannot provide lodging for these people they’ve rescued because that would be considered collusion. They when the individual’s on the witness stand, the defense attorney could ask, so where were you the three the one to three nights after you were rescued? While I was at Hotel XYZ, and who paid for it? Well, that would be law enforcement. See where this is going?
Nathan Sack 21:14
I can see how they could see that as a as a as a problem.
Joy Marie 21:18
So what did they get in exchange for providing a room for you? So I’m standing there listening to all of this. And I love these moments where there’s no thought whatsoever, you know, it’s coming directly from the throne. And I opened my mouth to hear, as I’m saying it, I’m hearing it for the first time, my church will step up and take care of that. And then I thought, gosh, now I’ve got to go ask. But in that moment, it was so real. And it was so right. And it was so God, there was no hesitation. I opened my mouth and then words came out. So as a result of that, I then said, well, now let me go ask my church.
Nathan Sack 22:03
Yes. And you’re currently going to church, Colonial Presbyterian Church.
Joy Marie 22:08
I’m a member of Colonial Presbyterian. And I’ve been a member for three and a half years now. So I was literally one and a half years old member.
Nathan Sack 22:19
So you are a baby member.
Joy Marie 22:20
I’m a baby member. And I say to Homeland Security, oh, sure my church will take care of all this. Not a problem. Great. But, one of our core values is that we are a safe harbor.
Nathan Sack 22:32
Amen. I, yeah, they had like five or six-
Joy Marie 22:38
We have a number of core values. We pray first. We are a safe harbor. So again, I’m driving home from this event. And it’s a torrential rain, and I’m driving from the Northland and I’m driving, and as heavy as the rain was coming down that’s how much, that’s how powerfully Holy Spirit was downloading to me. And He said to me, I did not bring you out here to join something. I brought you out here to establish something.
Nathan Sack 23:06
Wow. That’s incredible.
Joy Marie 23:08
And to which I replied, I will do it. But you have to give me the script- the name of the ministry and the scripture to go with it.
And that was November of 19. I then submitted a proposal, a safe harbor opportunity proposal to pastors and leadership, met with them. And I laid out the deficit. You know, this is where there’s a gap, and it’s not in it’s not exclusive to Homeland Security. It is across the board with law enforcement when there’s a rescue.
Nathan Sack 23:44
So this is a police officer goes into a place and they have a person an individual that that has been trafficked, or taken. And this person is then this this is like you said it’s cross board. Cross board issue. It’s an existing issue that needs a solution.
Joy Marie 24:04
It’s long. Yes, long term. And it needs it needs help. No doubt about it. They need help. And my pastors, hands down. Yes, we’ll do this. Absolutely. So January 24, to be exact of 2020 while sitting in my quiet time, I hear Freedom’s Bridge. And I thought, great. Okay, Freedom’s Bridge. What’s the Scripture? So I’m thinking Isaiah 61 you know, who let’s hands down.
Nathan Sack 24:40
Well that or one of the build , build the highway scripture. Freedom’s Bridge.
Joy Marie 24:45
Ezekiel and I was like, huh Ezekiel 34:16. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy and feed them in judgment.
Nathan Sack 25:04
Wow. So that has a- that has a restoration and then a judgment because God wants to restore what was lost, and then judge, whatever was the problem.
Joy Marie 25:24
Okay. And in 2020, literally February of 2020 Freedom’s Bridge became an official bona fide ministry.
Nathan Sack 25:35
And you think about that, too. I mean, for the heart of heart of police officers, heart of Homeland Security, these people want to rescue what was lost. And they and they have a judgment for those who perpetrated the crime, the crime, right, there’s a judgment against it. It’s in the laws of the land, right. Hey, if you do this, you know-
Joy Marie 25:59
There are consequences to our actions. Yes, whether they are positive or negative, there are consequences to our actions.
Nathan Sack 26:06
So Ezekiel 34:16. And, and then what happened next?
Joy Marie 26:12
What happened next was leadership met with Homeland Security, special agents.
Nathan Sack 26:20
We’re talking about a church leadership, met with Homeland Security, security, right. Does that include police officers, or did it-
Joy Marie 26:29
No, not this particular meeting. No, this this all the catalyst for Freedom’s Bridge was Homeland Security.
Nathan Sack 26:40
So the leadership met with Homeland Security.
Joy Marie 26:44
Homeland Security agents came to Colonial Presbyterian Church. And we sat in a conference room at church for a couple of hours. It was the leadership of leadership and elders, some of the elders of our church, and they shared Homeland Security shared the need, you know, the need, they shared, obviously, statistics, and I can’t remember the statistics, but they shared how trafficking occurs, what the markers are, what the indicators are, and, and how large this travesty this crime is. And-
Nathan Sack 27:25
In America specifically, well, then also Kansas City.
Joy Marie 27:28
It’s worldwide. It’s worldwide. It’s nationwide. And certainly, it’s yes, in Kansas City, particularly.
Nathan Sack 27:36
Kansas City’s in the center of the country.
Joy Marie 27:38
We are the hub, you know, we are a hub, pretty much. And think about it we’re the middle of the country, the railway comes through. All transportation comes through here.
Nathan Sack 27:51
St. Louis, Kansas City, or-
Joy Marie 27:54
You’ve got truckers, you know, long haul short haul. The rails, the aircraft, you name it. It’s here. It’s all going through. It’s prevalent throughout our nation, certainly, but and I have, I do have some numbers, but it is the second traffic- human trafficking is the second largest business globally. Second, it’s second to firearms and drugs. It’s a commodity, it’s a business, trust me. So Homeland Security comes we sit, you know, they come to Colonial, we have a meeting, my pastor or lead pastor sits there and says before they even left, the answer is yes, we will. We will help you. Yes, we will do this. He said yes. He said yes. And across the board. I mean, he it was his yes obviously representing the leadership, but he certainly sought their opinions. And it was, it was unanimous. Yes, we are definitely going to help. And I had submitted my proposal with a budget. And, you know, I went forward with everything Holy Spirit had said, so everything was outlined.
Nathan Sack 29:10
So you already had a plan and a structure.
Joy Marie 29:12
Oh, it was all the planning structure was it was ready. It was ready to go say yes, we’re good. That was February 2020. In March, everything shuts down. And right before all of this happened. So here you’re thinking, okay, very quiet. And it was it 2020 was very quiet for several months. But then I received a phone call from Homeland Security, probably around the September, early fall. And can you help? Yes, we can.
Nathan Sack 29:49
So this was a call for a specific problem for human trafficking.
Joy Marie 29:55
We have we’ve we have a human trafficking rescue, can you assist us with lodging. Yes, I can.
Nathan Sack 30:01
And that was what Freedom’s Bridge was set up to do.
Joy Marie 30:04
That is what Freedom’s Bridge is all about. When there’s a rescue, the law enforcement, whether it’s a Homeland Security, State Highway Patrol, local authorities, they will contact me and say, we’ve got someone- every case is different. They might have a rescue. There was one rescue that occurred, clearly the young- it was a young girl. She had escaped her traffickers. And we were I was asked Freedom’s Bridge was asked, can you give her- can you pay for a bus ticket to get her home? Her parents are waiting for at the other end. So we paid for a bus ticket. Law enforcement literally escorted her to the bus depot, put her on the bus. And then she got home safely to her family. Another time it was- we have a rescue we need to pay for hotel. How many nights? And our arrangement is one to three nights.
Nathan Sack 31:03
Okay, so because that’s the 72-hour window.
Joy Marie 31:05
That’s the 72-hour window. That’s the 72-hour gap that existed, past tense that existed until last year.
Nathan Sack 31:14
Because you’re now bridging that gap.
Joy Marie 31:16
We are bridging that gap. We are bridging that gap. And thankfully, there is another incredible faith based nonprofit that has that that Freedom’s Bridge partners with called Relentless Pursuit Outreach and Recovery. They are phenomenal.
Nathan Sack 31:32
Yeah. And we’ve already I mean, I kind of this Relentless Pursuit has already been referenced at least once on this podcast. And, and so yeah.
Joy Marie 31:41
I was just there yesterday.
Nathan Sack 31:43
Anyway, so yeah. So back to your so you’ve partnered with this-
Joy Marie 31:48
Partner with another nonprofit, I’ve partnered with another a couple of nonprofits, other nonprofits, faith based. That’s wonderful. They’re faith based. And I’ve certainly attended some very deep dive human trafficking training. And that’s ongoing for me. It doesn’t matter how long I’m in this, it doesn’t matter how much I know. I will sit in the same training human trafficking training sessions, I will sit over and over again, this is got to be this has got to go into the marrow of my bones. It has got to be in my muscle memory. So when I am in a coffee shop, and I see a woman in like pajama bottoms with a jacket on and high heels. That’s that, that tells me something. And this is a scenario, not that I’ve experienced, but somebody else has, where this particular scenario played out. And it was someone who had escaped and escaped with the clothes on her back and the only shoe she could find were her high heels. So that was that’s an indicator. That’s a marker. I mean, I know people dress a little peculiar nowadays. But again, if Holy, if Holy Spirit is prompting me, I need to know. I need to know, with a glance, if He’s drawing my eye to something, I need to be able to see that entire package and understand that something is amiss. And, and He’s not going to steer me wrong. But even if I if I am wrong, I’d rather be wrong. I would rather be wrong than remain silent. And know that if this young woman walks out the door, her trafficker could be around the corner waiting to take her back.
Nathan Sack 33:47
Yeah, it’s true. So, what has your experience with Relentless Pursuit been?
Joy Marie 33:54
Stellar. In October, again, I’m going back to 2020 Freedom’s Bridge is a bona fide ministry. The Vice Squad KCPD Vice Squad asked me, they actually set up a meeting to introduce me Freedom’s Bridge Colonial and Freedom’s Bridge to all areas of law enforcement. So I in October of 2020, I met for the first time with not just KCPD Vice around the table, but Homeland, FBI, state of Missouri Attorney General’s Office, State Highway Patrol from Missouri and Relentless Pursuit Outreach and Recovery. The founder and executive director was at this meeting as well. And he, his ministry itself, their organization, is doing what Freedom’s Bridge is doing and all lot more phenomenal. Phenomenal. I cannot tell you what an honor it is to partner for Freedom’s Bridge to partner with Relentless Pursuit. But as a result of this introduction to all areas of law enforcement, including the State of Missouri, Attorney General’s Office Freedom’s Bridge now became a bona fide valid resource. Fast forward to this year 2021. And there were three different trafficking stings, human trafficking stings that took place in 2021. The first one was in April, it was local with law enforcement KCPD, Freedom’s Bridge was on site to help with bridging the gap, along with other nonprofit ministries, faith based ministries. In June, there was a three-day Homeland Security sting, human trafficking sting, Freedom’s Bridge was on site. And then in August, there was a concentrated, combined Homeland state of Missouri Highway Patrol and Attorney General’s Office combined sting at an undisclosed location. And all three times Freedom’s Bridge was there to provide the hotel stay if needed to bridge that gap. But here’s the even more exciting part. Freedom’s Bridge Colonial Presbyterian Church represented by me, Joy Marie, was there to pray over the event before it even went out the door. To pray over law enforcement, to pray for the victims. And I don’t even like calling them victims. Because while they yes, they are victims. But think about it. They’re survivors because they are in this every day. They are in this every day. And they’re surviving. How? By God, by God’s grace, whether they know Him or not, His hand is upon them. And He knows the exact moment that 1 to 1000 of them will be rescued.
Nathan Sack 37:22
Amen. So since its conception, or since its beginning, how many people has Freedom’s Bridge been able to help?
Joy Marie 37:33
Freedom’s Bridge has individually just contacting me directly, we’ve helped six with Homeland with the three different stings that have been done, the numbers are higher.
Nathan Sack 37:46
So you were there for the stings, but individually, like as far as like placing people, you’ve been able to personally help six.
Joy Marie 37:53
That’s aside from those we helped Freedom’s Bridge helped during the stings as a result of the stings. So we’re, I’m going to say, I’ll throw out a number maybe 22 or 23. And that that’s all inclusive. It is awesome. And it is awesome.
Nathan Sack 38:14
It’s incredible. I mean, it’s incredible, that, you know, the righteous people are going out in establishing righteousness and rescuing people who are in great need who are survivors, and in Freedom’s Bridge is almost there as a covering, you know, as a prayer covering but also as a I feel like you guys are kind of like almost like a translator of the kingdom of God or you’re the you’re the glue. There’s a little bit of glue in there. You know, like the I don’t know how to describe that specifically, but you’re the heart.
Joy Marie 38:58
It’s a privilege. Nathan, this is a privilege. I mean, to know that. I mean, think about it, you’re talking law enforcement, weapons. You know, they know they know combat because they’ve been trained. Many of and certainly many law enforcement, are former military to begin with, a good number of them. But what is absolutely exquisite is that they know the power of prayer. They know the power of prayer. I mean, you know, here’s this timeless treasure who you know, this little Q-tip because I’ve got gray hair, I walk into, you know, I walk in with law enforcement. I’m standing there, you know, this relatively, you know, petite woman surrounded by people carrying firearms. And I’ve got the Bible. I’ve got the sword. Somebody asked me one time do you carry a gun? I said, no, I don’t need to I carry the sword. And they nobody, nobody moves until Joy Marie’s prayed. Amazing.
Nathan Sack 40:11
They might have like 20 or 30 people on a task force. And, and they’re like, we’re gonna wait till we got prayer cover on this one.
Joy Marie 40:18
The most recent one back in August, there were over 100 agents, over 100 law enforcement representatives and again, we’re talking FBIs, Homeland, local state, different states. I mean, it was not just Missouri. Other states were brought in this was a multi-state endeavor. A multi-state sting. And I’m literally, I’ve got my Bible, I’m at the back of this room, I’m in the- there are two command posts. There’s the primary and then there’s the secondary command post at this particular sting. I’m in the secondary command post, with every person who is going to go out every person who’s going out undercover. They’re here for the briefing. And I’m in the back of the room. Standing room only. I mean, that’s how crowded this room was back of the room in the corner, sitting on a chair with my Bible open. And I’m praying. All at once I hear the coordinator, the voice of the coordinator ask, has anyone seen Joy Marie? Where’s Joy Marie? So I stand up and let the back of the room and they asked me to come come forward. So I weave my way through with my Bible in hand. And I walk up now, they had asked me would you pray, would you pray? And I said, Of course I would. You just tell me when. But I didn’t expect it to be in that moment before anything started. And I literally, as I walked up, and I turned to look at this sea of faces, a majority of whom had baseball caps on the coordinator for the sting says, before we start anything, Joy Marie is going to open in prayer. What’s branded on my heart in that split second after she spoke, it was a female officer. Hats came off heads, like a ripple effect. I don’t even know how to describe it. It moved me. It moved me I was so overcome with emotion, at the solemnity of it at the reverence of it. You’re again, you’re talking people that you think are rough and tough, and not that they aren’t, because that’s what they’re supposed to do. When they go out there fighting a fight. They’re fighting a war. But the reverence the honor they gave to our Lord in that moment, took my breath away. I literally, it took a couple of seconds before I could even open my mouth without going crying because it was so exquisite. It was exquisite. And it is a moment for me that I will- it’s it’s branded on my heart, and it’s imprinted in my memory.
Nathan Sack 43:13
That’s incredible. All honor to the Lord of Glory.
Joy Marie 43:19
To the Lord, that they would not what an honor for me, you know, when an honor as a servant of the Most High. All I ever want to do is bring glory to His name. That’s absolutely this is a call. And when I realized that, from before the beginning of time, He chose this. He chose me. I mean, what no one knows. I speak well. But what no one knows is that as a child, I had a terrible speech impediment. I am the last person one would ever think. If you knew me back then, though, I would be the last person you would ever think who could sit in front of a microphone, stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak as I do. All Glory to God.
Nathan Sack 44:12
Is there any way that people who are listening to this can get involved with Freedom’s Bridge?
Joy Marie 44:21
My short answer, no.
Nathan Sack 44:25
Well, there’s clearly something to be praying for.
Joy Marie 44:29
Everyone can become involved in some way, shape or form. Absolutely. Prayer, by all means prayer. Prayer for not just for Freedom’s Bridge, but for every organization, every heart, who’s been that’s been pierced to do this kind of Kingdom work. And the wonderful part about this ministry is that it doesn’t I don’t want it to be siloed you know, Freedom’s Bridge is a ministry of Colonial Presbyterian Church and truthfully, we are small, we’re it’s not something that it’s not like a another organization that can go out and go door to door canvassing by any means. But there certainly are opportunities to volunteer at Relentless Pursuit. Christine’s Place is a phenomenal drop-in center on Independence Avenue, they are doing Kingdom work. And again, Freedom’s Bridge partners, we do come into partnership with them and some other areas. If someone wanted to make a donation to Freedom’s Bridge, that would help to increase my budget, the ministry budget to they’re there. And that would allow me to maybe do a little bit more, you know, I’m working within a budget. But if someone would like to make a donation to Colonial Presbyterian Church, and in the memo section Freedom’s Bridge, the dollars would go into that ministry budget that would allow Freedom’s Bridge to help out when there’s a specific need. And truthfully what I do in addition to hotel stays, I also provide comfort bags, so I go shopping and pick up underwear, socks, camis, you know, camisoles, toiletries, snacks, those are you know, sometimes it comes out of the- it will not sometimes it always comes out of the ministry budget. So, that would be delightful. There are other ad hoc needs that can crop up that are not necessary. They’re not specific to a hotel stay, but we need a plane ticket, a bus ticket. So, anything if somebody wants to donate to Freedom’s Bridge, please do so. Send a check to Colonial Presbyterian Church 9500 Wornall Road KC MO 64114. In the memo, Freedom’s Bridge, been there for a long, long time. And I’m, I have to say, my church has embraced this.
Nathan Sack 47:20
That’s incredible. It’s so nice to have such a solid base.
Joy Marie 47:24
They have embraced this. And I’m not just talking leadership. You know, this is not something that we’ve, you know, we’ve not put it on the marquee that this is a ministry yay. But as more it’s happening organically exactly the way the Lord wants it to. My pastor said months ago, I would like Freedom’s- I think it’s time Joy Marie, that Freedom’s Bridge becomes more, more visible. To which I replied, I don’t dispute that. I’m all for it. But it has to happen in His timing. And two weeks ago, I’m interviewed on channel for channel 41. And now I’m sitting here today. This is not by my own strength. This is all God. All Glory to Him. Thank you for this opportunity.
Nathan Sack 48:15
Well, thank you so much for coming on this Faith Horizons podcast.
Joy Marie 47:17
Nathan Sack 48:18
It is a privilege to interview people who share God’s heart in Kansas City. I learned so much from Joy Marie. To give financially to the ministry please send checks to Colonial Presbyterian Church and make sure to include Freedom’s Bridge in the memo. I will include the address in the show notes. If you’d like to get in touch with Joy Marie, you can email her at Joy Marie 316 at gmail.com. I will also make sure to include her email in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us for another Faith Horizons podcast. We look forward to sharing more conversations from the kingdom of God in Kansas City. If you’d like to partner with the Faith Horizons mission to discover the kingdom of God in Kansas City, one conversation at a time, please go to www.patreon.com forward slash faith horizons. Thank you so much.