Kevin's Servant Heart
Most of the Rebirth Homes staff members and volunteers are women because this can help create a safe space for survivors of sex trafficking in particular who have often been abused and taken advantage of by men. Women have an important place in creating a safe space and supporting survivors in their healing journey, but there’s a misconception, though, that there isn’t a role for men to play in this ministry. Men can also play a key role in preventing human trafficking and partnering with survivors on their healing journey. There’s plenty for men to do in the home by helping out in the physical plant and the office, and Kevin Martis lives out his faith in God and daily models Christ’s care in his interactions with participants at Rebirth Homes.
Kevin is married to Rebirth Homes CEO and founder Debbie Martis, and he describes his main role at Rebirth Homes in two words: support Debbie. He does that by connecting with donors and potential donors, teaching a spirituality class to participants, working in the home’s physical plant, caring for its chickens, and maintaining the facilities. In short, Kevin lives out Christ’s model of service to others.
Before working with participants at Rebirth Homes, Kevin didn’t realize how much being trafficked can affect survivors’ views of relationships. For many survivors, their dominant interactions with men have been transactional, so they expect encounters with new people to follow the same model. To get something, they feel like they have to give something. Instead, Kevin works to model unconditional support. He says it’s important to show survivors that “there’s guys out there that are going to do this because it's the right thing to do,” not because they expect something in return. Kevin says that one of the most important ways men can fight human trafficking is for men to “take the message of not objectifying women out into the world.”
In the spirituality class for the participants Kevin teaches weekly, they have been studying the fruit of the spirit recently. With sensitivity to past spiritual trauma participants may have experienced, Kevin gets to introduce or reintroduce survivors to a God who loves them fiercely, pursues them gently, and journeys with them faithfully, but the best lessons are learned along the way in daily life, particularly when things go wrong. It's in these challenging moments of frustration or concern that Kevin works to give his response to God and model God’s love. He shared, “You can't teach a message of a loving God if you’re not acting it out. It’s taught in one hour of class and vetted in the all the other hours of the day.” It’s not about always having the perfect answer or the perfect response; instead, it’s about showing care and consistency so that whether he’s working in the yard, repairing something in the home, cleaning up after the chickens, or teaching a class, he’s evidencing the fruit of the spirit in his life.
Recently, a participant talked to Kevin about her feelings and told him that just a few months earlier she would have not been there talking about her challenging emotions; instead, she would have simply left and given up, but she had grown during that time in the program and she was talking about her feeling and persevering instead. Seeing growth like this is one of the most rewarding things for Kevin in his work with Rebirth Homes. Being faithful in creating the platform for change for survivors and opportunities that they would not have otherwise have is the mark of success, and seeing survivors use that platform to change and meet their goals is wonderful.
God has been teaching Kevin the power of one. One person helping makes a significant difference. One person being helped makes a change in the world. One opportunity to help can change a life. All of our interactions with others give an opportunity to build. “We underestimate the power of one” he says. When we offer what we have to God for His work, He multiplies it!