Conference with a Cause

The ripple effect from most conferences is immeasurable. Lives transformed, dosage marriages restored, hair spirits stirred in ways that you wouldn’t typically experience. One reason that I am particularly excited about the Chosen Women’s Conference is because many lives beyond those who attend will be impacted. A portion of the proceeds from Chosen will be given to A21 Carolinas, an organization founded in Mount Pleasant, SC that is dedicated to ending human trafficking in the Carolinas and beyond in the United States. My sister-in-law, Lisa Surratt, just so happens to be the Founding Director and we are together on a “staycation” this week so I thought that it would be fun to interview her to share some of the backstory and passion behind A21 Carolinas. We lounged on an upper deck overlooking the sparkling ocean waves and talked as the gentle breeze blew the nearby palm trees and bright sun shone down.

How did attending a conference play into your journey and benefit your spiritual growth?
We get filled up so we can pour out. If I hadn’t gone to SHINE 2010, I wouldn’t be doing anything that I am now. I cried through most of the conference and knew that the Holy Spirit had met me and it was such a sweet time of Him saying I’m here and getting ready to wildly change your life. I was so on the fringe at that point. I loved what Josh (Lisa’s husband and Seacoast Church Campus Pastor) was doing and wanted to support him, but thought medical missions were my calling.

Wasn’t it at that conference that you first met Christine Cane?
I actually met her before I had even heard her speak – it was a divine appointment. We were with a group in the lobby of our hotel and Christine had just had surgery on her knee. I talked to her about it and ended up giving her a tube of medicine. We hit it off, ended up eating dinner together that night and talked the vast majority of the time – an instant connection. She was already planning a visit to Charleston and, after hearing more about the city, decided to extend their stay.

Do you feel like it was when she was in Charleston the Lord first began to stir your heart to join the fight against human trafficking?
It was and it wasn’t. It was then that the process began, but it was more of a call to ministry period. I was happy being on the fringe, doing medical missions, but she challenged me a lot and asked some really hard questions. She told me that I was supposed to be doing more. The trafficking issue really got to me, but when we found out that it was going on here in Charleston, it became so much more real. I wondered what I was doing with my life that was really making a difference. I couldn’t bear to think that someone’s sister, daughter or friend were being trafficked around the corner and felt the need to do something about it.

From there it was a slow process of figuring out what I could do. It felt too hard, like there was no way to even make a dent. God kept bringing more people with crazy gifts and skills and I blinked and don’t even know how it all happened.

People can just sense that the Lord is in this. There is so much happening and I’m really not working that hard. He is opening the doors and making it happen. We have to remember that we have a majorly huge God that is way bigger than any of this.

Is there a particular verse that has spoken to you through this whole journey?
Well, there are a lot. Really all of Isaiah 58-61 have been really powerful, but this one in particular:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
(Isaiah 61:1)

What is the benefit of attending a women’s conference versus a co-ed conference?
I always get a lot more out of women’s conferences. There is something sweet about just being with other sisters. I tend to be much more focused. Women relate to women well. We are wired differently so how we process, see God and relate to Him is a lot different than men.

If you would like to find out more or join the fight against human trafficking, please visit www.a21carolinas.org