Luke McFadden ('14) Sells Everything to Serve Trafficked Girls in Cambodia
When Luke McFadden considers the plight of innocents mired in the human trafficking industry, his personal “sacrifices” don’t compare. “It is totally worth it for us to sell everything, drive what feels like a billion miles across the country, and have very uncomfortable experiences,” says McFadden, a 2014 Portland Seminary graduate who earned a master’s degree in spiritual formation. “You realize it’s nothing compared to what [trafficked girls] are going through.”
McFadden and his wife, Lindsay, along with their three children, are finishing fundraising before moving to Cambodia to join Rapha House, a nonprofit committed to ending human trafficking. The McFaddens plan to serve wherever their gifts are needed, but anticipate helping formerly trafficked girls transition into a sustainable life of freedom rooted in spiritual formation.
While serving as a youth pastor in the Eugene, Ore., area and working on his degree, McFadden visited Cambodia for the first time in 2012 to scout out a ministry trip for his youth group students.
The community atmosphere of his George Fox cohort helped him process the idea of becoming a missionary to Cambodia. “People at Fox allowed room for freedom of conversation. Class was secondary to the community that Fox created,” McFadden said.
As plans were being made to take the youth group to Cambodia in the summer of 2012, McFadden learned he had cancer for the second time and was unable to lead the trip. He continued with the spiritual formation program while undergoing chemotherapy and recovering from surgery for six months. “My cohort and the classes I was taking were completely helpful in processing, not just cancer, but the idea of Cambodia.”
Once free of cancer, Luke and his wife devoted time and energy seeking clarity regarding Cambodia. “A lot of the professors at Fox and classes were rooted in justice for the oppressed and loving others,” McFadden said. “‘Spirituality and Social Justice’ was a powerful class that allowed me to think about the issue of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation and how that meshes with my ministry experience.”
During another visit to Cambodia in March 2014 for their 10th anniversary, the McFaddens met with people from Rapha House and other families with young children and saw as much of the country as they could. “There were no glaring red flags, so we took time to pray and think about it. Within a month we had decided to do this thing,” McFadden said.
Once in Cambodia, the McFaddens also hope to assist the local church in leadership development and spiritual formation. “Since only around 1 percent of the population is Christian, it gets watered down in areas,” McFadden said. “At George Fox we learned to look at the church and its traditions and evaluate what we do and why we do it. We plan to apply it somewhere else by asking, ‘How do you not get rid of important cultural elements, but bring Jesus into the picture?’”
For more information about Rapha House, the McFaddens, and to join their support team, visit enterlife.net.
-- Kelly McGuffie