On Saturday our first draft of befrienders gathered together at Rhiwbina Baptist Church to receive training and orientation for befriending trafficking survivors here in Cardiff. Our Embrace coordinator, Lauren, reflects on a fantastic milestone moment for Red Community:
Exciting times with the Embrace Project! Last Saturday, 7 individuals from 5 different churches around Cardiff gathered together over lots of coffees, cakes, and biscuits to be trained as Embrace Befrienders. Everyone had been briefed beforehand regarding the background history of human trafficking, leaving us the day to dive into information pertinent to the project.
We were joined by two professionals in the field to help guide conversation, answer questions, and provide wisdom that comes from life experience in their roles.
First, we watched videos with stories of people that have survived after having been trafficked and discussed the ramifications that their pasts would have on a Befriending relationship. These videos were harrowing and reminded all of us why we were volunteering to befriend: to show the love of Jesus to people who have been treated as invaluable and worthless by others. Many tears were shed throughout the videos as we were re-exposed to the reality of human trafficking.
Second, Nici Evans (of Cardiff Partnerships and Citizen Focus) led us in a discussion regarding effective communication. We learned how to actively listen and respond appropriately when disclosures are made.
Third, Dai Hankey reminded us of how our faith in Jesus Christ fits into this project. We aren't Befriending with a hidden spiritual agenda, but we are Befriending to be Jesus's hands and feet to a broken world. It is an honour to be Befrienders.
Lastly, I was able to lead us through the Volunteer Handbook and review Safeguarding, Lone Working, and Boundaries. Basically, all the "practical stuff" related to the Befriending Project.
It was a very full day. But we now have volunteers that have been DBS checked, trained, and prepared to effectively love survivors of human trafficking.
Stay tuned for more news and please continue praying that God uses this project to touch lives in Cardiff.