It would only be fitting to launch my Take Note series with the lady who inspired me to do it, Ms. Ariel Hawley of Be Free Proclamation. You can read the madness behind this here. It's funny and weird and amazing how people you absolutely love stop right in the middle of your path and hug you right back. This is what Ariel has done, probably because of her southern charm and all. She is the perfect example of when social media goes SO. RIGHT.
Here's a little insight to Ariel. Get your pens and pencils out kids. It's time to take note.
You are a field rep for SWAT Ministries International, how did you become an advocate to end human trafficking?
In 2013 I got the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Thailand with SWAT Ministries. Therefore, I got to see the effects of human trafficking for myself. The streets that were lined with young girls with numbers attached to their skirts. I saw their faces filled with hopelessness and lack of emotion. There was suddenly faces to this common word we so often hear yet bypass, human trafficking. On that trip, we were able to train the rescuers and survivors that had been rescued in self-defense. It was a rewarding experience that certainly changed my life. I knew I had to do something, that’s when we began actively seeking ways to join the fight. My husband and I began praying how we can help? We live in a small town in southwest Mississippi, what possibly could we do? A few months later, the founders contacted us and asked if we would be interested in being Field Reps for SWAT advocating to end human trafficking, raising awareness, and fundraise to help support for the ministry, we knew God was leading us in this direction and that is where it all began.
How does spending that time in the field change your life?
It is a hard field to dig your life into. There are many stories of heartache and pain that you hear from these young women which gets heavy. However, with SWAT we get to work with girls who now have hope because of their rescue. That is when my life changed. Being thankful for the one that now has a future while longing to continue bringing freedom to every other girl that is in captivity. Also, we work with men who volunteer to go in and do an undercover rescue! They are normal people; plumbers, electricians, carpenters, bankers… They choose to risk their lives with little to no training, that's where SWAT comes in giving the techniques and defense training in order to have a successful and safe rescue. Want to talk about inspiring!? These men are absolutely that!
What advice do you wish you had received from early in life?
Go for your dreams when you have them. I dreamed about Be Free for several years before actually pursuing it, looking back that was just wasted time. When something seems impossible remember, with God all things are possible!
Who are your heroes?
This is a hard one since I have several people who have impacted my life in such positive ways. So here are my top 3: My dad. He is the most kind, gentle, and encouraging man you will ever meet. He taught me how to love people for who they are and to always stay humble and kind. My mom is a warrior. I've seen her endure a brain tumor, blindness in one eye, numerous surgeries, and yet her faith never waivered. My husband put a love for missions in my heart. He has a heart for God and to serve people. We have gone through many ups and downs these past 7 years but he has always stood strong beside me. All three are my heroes because they have molded me into who I am today, each in a different way!
You have an online shop. What has it taught you?
The shop has taught me to be patient and continue to persevere. Of course with human nature you want instant gratification with purchases, but it takes time to build a brand. You must stay positive and keep working and seeking ways to improve. Use the outlets available to you that does not cost a lot of money in order to get your name out there. There are many outlets of social media and word of mouth that is the best advertisement.
What guilty pleasure do you engage in to relax?
Hot baths and Pinterest! Yes, I'm one of those obsessive Pinterest fans, It is full of inspiration and I love it!
What one thing is on your priority list that you will be working on this year?
I am working on a new project for the Be Free Proclamation that I am really excited about! Hopefully this summer we will have an online magazine full of encouraging freedom stories, fashion tips, healthy recipes, and featured shops that do good by giving back! Plus a few freebies and goodies! Stay tuned by following me on Instagram @befreeproclamation to get any updates!
Any parting words?
Yes! When life seems to be throwing disappointment after disappointment at you choose to focus on the solution instead of the problem. Every problem has a solution and when you focus on a solution you can remain positive and success will come! Lastly, choose to live your life to impact others. Do good, give back, love yourself, and love people.
Thank you Ariel for taking the time to share with us. Your heart is quite motivating and one day we will be sitting back, having some sweet tea, chatting about coloring the world beautiful!
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