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Chris Campbell talks about Finding Elizabeth

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Help spread the word for the first of a kind resource for human trafficking victims.

A Look Inside

This book is dedicated to all of the girls hoping to be found.


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Chapter 1

Lizzie closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to calculate how long it would take her to get back to Detroit from the small conference room on the second floor of The Hope Center, in the-middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania. She figured five small steps across the small conference room would get her to the door, no more than twenty steps down the long hall, a short walk down the wide staircase, and a two-minute jog to the highway through the snow. The snow wouldn’t help. But from there she could hitchhike back to Detroit, maybe even get there before the end of the week, if she was lucky.

Nae will take me back, she reasoned. He’ll understand. I’ll come up with something.
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of footsteps in the hall. She held her breath and glanced around for something to use as a weapon. She would fight her way out if she had to. They couldn’t force her to stay.

There was the small, square wooden table. Three filing cabinets lined the wall inside the entrance, carelessly covered with empty, blue file folders. To her right a small coffee table had been pushed into the corner, still holding the remains of a party: twenty or more recycled candles with blackened wicks, the colorful fragments of a few popped balloons, and one of those silver helium inflatables with the words “Happy Birthday” in bright pink script.

But the footsteps passed the conference room door, faded away, and Lizzie realized she was desperately holding onto the sides of the folding chair. She took in a deep breath, loosened her grip and sighed. She even felt a slight smile touch the corners of her mouth.

What could I possibly do, paper cut someone’s throat? Beat them to death with a balloon?
She glanced at the clock: 3:10. She wondered if the counselor was ever going to show up. They had said 3:00. She was sure they had. She stood up and paced aimlessly around the room, then drifted back to the chair and sat down.

Maybe I got the time wrong?

She had only been in the home for a couple of days, but everything happened on time, every time.

Everything.

At that moment, the conference room door flew open, catching a few of the file folders and spilling them on to the floor. A short woman erupted into the small space, carrying a backpack over one shoulder and a briefcase in the opposite hand.

“My, my, my,” she said, throwing her things on the table, then bending over to pick up the folders. “I’m sorry I’m late! I’m so sorry. It’s all this snow. Took me forever to get out of the driveway this morning, and I’ve been running behind ever since.”

She had short black hair, just long enough to be wavy, and sharp little brown eyes. Her thin lips, when they weren’t chattering like a squirrel, wrinkled up in tiny mounds. When she smiled, Lizzie felt like she was being invited into an open club of friendship.

She put the folders in a pile on the filing cabinets, but they slid to the side and one fell back to the ground. She didn’t seem to notice. Lizzie took another deep breath, but couldn’t bring herself to let go of the sides of her chair. She wished she would have run for it when she had the chance.

I’m not here to make friends, she told herself. I’m not here to do anything but the minimum and then get out. Anyone who smiles as much as this lady smiles can’t be trusted – no one is that kind without wanting something in return. Keep your mouth shut, Lizzie.

The scattered woman sat down across the table from her. She leafed through a thick series of files inside her backpack and then yanked one out, catching it on the zipper and nearly tearing the tab. Under her breath she hummed the tune to what sounded like a Christmas song, one Lizzie had long forgotten. It drew strange emotions to the surface, emotions that threatened to crack Lizzie’s resolve. Then the woman stopped.

“You must beeee…,” she held the “e” at the end of the word as her eyes scanned the contents of the file. “Elizabeth Ann Castle? That’s a beautiful name.”

She looked up at Lizzie, leaving room for a response, but there was none.

The name “Elizabeth” sent Lizzie reeling. No one had called her that for, what, two solid years? Maybe three? She couldn’t remember. She felt small again, tiny, like a little girl answering the door, barely able to turn the knob.

Elizabeth, is there anyone home with you?

Elizabeth, where’s your mother?

“Born January 14th? So that means you turn 16 next month! I guess we’ll have to have a big birthday bash.”

She smiled kindly, waiting, but Lizzie didn’t say anything. She stared at the woman for a moment, then looked down. A sound rang in her memory from long ago, when she was Elizabeth, the sound of a crowd of young children singing “Happy Birthday to You,” but not to her, to a friend of hers at a birthday she had attended when she was four years old. The singing grew louder and louder in her mind. Lizzie squeezed her eyes shut.

Then Lizzie heard a voice, a gentle voice saying her name. She felt herself coming back, once again aware of her surroundings. She opened her eyes. She took a breath. She unclenched her hands.
“Elizabeth?” the counselor asked again. “Are you okay?”

Lizzie allowed herself the small liberty of nodding, barely nodding. She thought about Nae. Every word she said in that room would betray him. Every word she said would be a brick in the wall keeping her from going back. She tried to stare out the window, tried to escape the room at least with her vision, but the afternoon daylight was far too bright. The sun glared off the snow and left her squinting, dazed.

“Elizabeth,” the counselor began, “I’m going to need to ask you a few questions.”

Lizzie stared back at the table. In her mind she ran out the door, through the hall, down the stairs and jogged to the highway. Door. Hall. Stairway. Highway. She imagined the cold, the wet snow building up on the top of her shoes, melting down around her ankles.

“Elizabeth, can you confirm for me that you are Elizabeth Ann Castle and that you are 15 years old?”
Lizzie’s eyes dashed around the room again. She could feel the helium balloon hovering just over her right shoulder. She heard the tick tick tick of the clock on the wall behind her. Lizzie nodded, but it was more like a tremble.

“Thank you, Elizabeth,” the counselor said. “I’m Jane Walker, the chief counselor here at the home. You can call me Miss Jane, if you’d like. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Lizzie rocked forward and back ever so slightly. She took in a deep breath and let it out fast.
“Elizabeth, I would like to find out a little bit about you, just a few things that will help us move forward.”

Lizzie cleared her throat but didn’t say anything. She looked up at a picture on the wall behind Jane. She had gone to Sunday school when she was Elizabeth, so she knew the long-haired man with the soft blue-gray eyes and the well-kept beard. She knew his name anyway. She knew that he was Jesus.

She recalled all the old songs, and their uninvited presence in her mind surprised her. She hadn’t thought of them for years.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong.
Weak. She felt so weak.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

In the picture, Jesus had such clear skin, smooth and very tan. He was looking off to his left at something, something up in the air. She wondered what he was looking at. Was he looking out a window, too? Did he want to escape the room he was in?

“Where are you from, Elizabeth?” Jane asked.

The images of many different houses and trailers and apartments flashed through her mind. Faces. Bedrooms. So many places. Then the last place, a small apartment in Highland Park about ten blocks from the truck stop on Route 94. She thought about the walk to and from the truck stop over uneven sidewalks, the cracks filled with tiny, glittering shards of glass. The abandoned, boarded up buildings. The hungry looks of the truckers as she walked in and sat down.
“Lots of places,” Lizzie mumbled. “Too many to talk about.”

Jane nodded, made a few notes in the file.

“Do you have any family we can notify? Anyone who we can tell that you’re here?”

Confusing thoughts of Nae swept through her mind and she blushed, shook her head no. He had always said, maybe. Maybe someday, just the two of them. Maybe they could be a family. But not now. So no, there wasn’t anybody.

“So you’ve been here for two days now. Have you received help regarding orientation? Have you received your bedding and toiletries?” Jane asked, tilting her head to the side.

Lizzie’s right foot began to tap on the ground as she caved to the pressure to talk. The discomfort of remaining quiet – and extending the session – competed with the discomfort of speaking.
“They gave me a comb.”

“They gave you a comb?”
Lizzie nodded.

“My hair,” she explained, almost apologetically. “My hair gets tangled.”

“You do have beautiful hair,” Jane said. “I bet it felt nice to brush your hair after you arrived.”

Lizzie inadvertently reached up and wrapped a small piece of her hair around her finger.
“Are there any other items you need?”

Lizzie sighed and shook her head, no. Her hand drifted from her hair back down to her lap.
“I imagine The Hope Center feels like a long way from Detroit,” Jane said.

Lizzie took a deep breath. She didn’t want to talk about that. She didn’t want to talk about Nae or the narrow apartment in Highland Park. She didn’t want to talk about it because it felt like if she did it would vanish into her past. She wasn’t ready for that.

The helium balloon dropped a few inches, touched her shoulder.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Justine
Happy Birthday to you!
Jane shifted in her seat.

“Elizabeth…do your friends call you Elizabeth?”
Lizzie shook her head.
“What name do you prefer?”

Lizzie squeezed the side of her chair even tighter.
“Lizzie,” she said, the word spilling from her mouth.
Jane nodded her encouragement.

“Okay. Lizzie. I like that name. It suits you.”

Jane tilted her head to the side again. When she spoke, it was in a quiet and encouraging voice.
“Lizzie, I understand that this is a difficult conversation for you. We conduct this intake session with every new girl that comes into our home. We want to do our very best to care for you. The only way we can be considerate of your needs is if I get to know you. We’ll get to know each other in the days ahead, but for now, I need to collect some basic information about you that will help us get off to a good start. Does that make sense?”

Lizzie took a deep breath. She nodded. She quickly let go of her chair with one hand and pushed the balloon away from her shoulder.

Jane stood up in a rush of activity. She couldn’t move just one or two parts of her body – any action required the equal involvement of every ounce of her being.

“Let me move that for you,” she said, sliding around the table and untying the balloon from the chair. Lizzie involuntarily flinched away from Jane, keeping distance between them.
Jane glanced at the coffee table.

“What a mess, what a mess,” she muttered, grabbing a small trash can and throwing away the used-up candles, the pieces of balloon. “There, now we can talk.”

She pushed the balloon into the corner behind her where it hovered somewhere between the ceiling and the floor. Then she sat down and leaned forward, squinting her eyes as if she was intensely interested in how Lizzie would answer the next question.

But Lizzie couldn’t stop looking at the balloon. It hung in the air, drifting back and forth with an almost hypnotic affect.
Kids applauding and Justine smiling through the cloud of blown-out candles. Her dad comes over behind the birthday girl and lifts her up, spins her around.

“Did you make a wish?” he asks, a serious expression on her face.
Justine nods, her eyes shining.

“Just a minute,” her dad says before running to the other room and returning with a large box wrapped tightly in “Happy Birthday” paper.

Suddenly Jane’s voice drew Lizzie back to the room.
“Lizzie? Did you hear the question?”

Lizzie glanced at the door. She wondered if Jane would try to stop her. Jane was a small woman. She looked soft.

She’s never seen real life, not the life I know.

Lizzie tensed her body to jump up, to fight, to run.

But Jane sighed and placed her pen down on the open file, where it rolled off to the side, then slowed, then dropped to the floor. The gesture completely disarmed Lizzie. When the pen hit the floor she suddenly wanted to cry. She wanted to lean forward and put her face in her hands and weep.
“I imagine this is all moving pretty fast,” Jane said in a kind voice, looking down at the table with something like grief. Then she looked back up at Lizzie. “I wonder if anyone has taken the time to explain to you what’s going on?”

Lizzie pried her eyes away from the door, but they kept looking back at the balloon balancing in midair behind Jane. It felt like she couldn’t focus on anything else: the door, the balloon, the door, the balloon. The window was still too bright to look through. For a moment she heard the voices again, the children singing at the birthday party.

Happy Birthday to you!

“I am sure this can all seem pretty confusing and, well, upsetting. What we’re doing here today is called an intake. You’re not being arrested, Lizzie. Your presence here is not meant to be a punishment.”

Lizzie nodded. Jane waited a moment and then continued.

“We want to make sure that we have enough information to treat you well and to make sure that you are cared for in a way that is helpful instead of hurtful. Maybe today, instead of me filling in the blanks on this form, you can ask me the questions. Is there anything you’re wondering about?”
Lizzie looked down at her hands. The light coming through the window got even brighter as the sun came out from behind a cloud. The room was warm. But Lizzie could feel the cold penetrating in around the edges of the glass.

The helium balloon was lower now but still suspended in midair as if by magic, its small string drooping.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Justine
Happy Birthday to you!

Chapter 1

Lizzie closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to calculate how long it would take her to get back to Detroit from the small conference room on the second floor of The Hope Center, in the-middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania. She figured five small steps across the small conference room would get her to the door, no more than twenty steps down the long hall, a short walk down the wide staircase, and a two-minute jog to the highway through the snow. The snow wouldn’t help. But from there she could hitchhike back to Detroit, maybe even get there before the end of the week, if she was lucky.

Nae will take me back, she reasoned. He’ll understand. I’ll come up with something.
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of footsteps in the hall. She held her breath and glanced around for something to use as a weapon. She would fight her way out if she had to. They couldn’t force her to stay.

There was the small, square wooden table. Three filing cabinets lined the wall inside the entrance, carelessly covered with empty, blue file folders. To her right a small coffee table had been pushed into the corner, still holding the remains of a party: twenty or more recycled candles with blackened wicks, the colorful fragments of a few popped balloons, and one of those silver helium inflatables with the words “Happy Birthday” in bright pink script.

But the footsteps passed the conference room door, faded away, and Lizzie realized she was desperately holding onto the sides of the folding chair. She took in a deep breath, loosened her grip and sighed. She even felt a slight smile touch the corners of her mouth.

What could I possibly do, paper cut someone’s throat? Beat them to death with a balloon?
She glanced at the clock: 3:10. She wondered if the counselor was ever going to show up. They had said 3:00. She was sure they had. She stood up and paced aimlessly around the room, then drifted back to the chair and sat down.

Maybe I got the time wrong?

She had only been in the home for a couple of days, but everything happened on time, every time.

Everything.

At that moment, the conference room door flew open, catching a few of the file folders and spilling them on to the floor. A short woman erupted into the small space, carrying a backpack over one shoulder and a briefcase in the opposite hand.

“My, my, my,” she said, throwing her things on the table, then bending over to pick up the folders. “I’m sorry I’m late! I’m so sorry. It’s all this snow. Took me forever to get out of the driveway this morning, and I’ve been running behind ever since.”

She had short black hair, just long enough to be wavy, and sharp little brown eyes. Her thin lips, when they weren’t chattering like a squirrel, wrinkled up in tiny mounds. When she smiled, Lizzie felt like she was being invited into an open club of friendship.

She put the folders in a pile on the filing cabinets, but they slid to the side and one fell back to the ground. She didn’t seem to notice. Lizzie took another deep breath, but couldn’t bring herself to let go of the sides of her chair. She wished she would have run for it when she had the chance.

I’m not here to make friends, she told herself. I’m not here to do anything but the minimum and then get out. Anyone who smiles as much as this lady smiles can’t be trusted – no one is that kind without wanting something in return. Keep your mouth shut, Lizzie.

The scattered woman sat down across the table from her. She leafed through a thick series of files inside her backpack and then yanked one out, catching it on the zipper and nearly tearing the tab. Under her breath she hummed the tune to what sounded like a Christmas song, one Lizzie had long forgotten. It drew strange emotions to the surface, emotions that threatened to crack Lizzie’s resolve. Then the woman stopped.

“You must beeee…,” she held the “e” at the end of the word as her eyes scanned the contents of the file. “Elizabeth Ann Castle? That’s a beautiful name.”

She looked up at Lizzie, leaving room for a response, but there was none.

The name “Elizabeth” sent Lizzie reeling. No one had called her that for, what, two solid years? Maybe three? She couldn’t remember. She felt small again, tiny, like a little girl answering the door, barely able to turn the knob.

Elizabeth, is there anyone home with you?

Elizabeth, where’s your mother?

“Born January 14th? So that means you turn 16 next month! I guess we’ll have to have a big birthday bash.”

She smiled kindly, waiting, but Lizzie didn’t say anything. She stared at the woman for a moment, then looked down. A sound rang in her memory from long ago, when she was Elizabeth, the sound of a crowd of young children singing “Happy Birthday to You,” but not to her, to a friend of hers at a birthday she had attended when she was four years old. The singing grew louder and louder in her mind. Lizzie squeezed her eyes shut.

Then Lizzie heard a voice, a gentle voice saying her name. She felt herself coming back, once again aware of her surroundings. She opened her eyes. She took a breath. She unclenched her hands.
“Elizabeth?” the counselor asked again. “Are you okay?”

Lizzie allowed herself the small liberty of nodding, barely nodding. She thought about Nae. Every word she said in that room would betray him. Every word she said would be a brick in the wall keeping her from going back. She tried to stare out the window, tried to escape the room at least with her vision, but the afternoon daylight was far too bright. The sun glared off the snow and left her squinting, dazed.

“Elizabeth,” the counselor began, “I’m going to need to ask you a few questions.”

Lizzie stared back at the table. In her mind she ran out the door, through the hall, down the stairs and jogged to the highway. Door. Hall. Stairway. Highway. She imagined the cold, the wet snow building up on the top of her shoes, melting down around her ankles.

“Elizabeth, can you confirm for me that you are Elizabeth Ann Castle and that you are 15 years old?”
Lizzie’s eyes dashed around the room again. She could feel the helium balloon hovering just over her right shoulder. She heard the tick tick tick of the clock on the wall behind her. Lizzie nodded, but it was more like a tremble.

“Thank you, Elizabeth,” the counselor said. “I’m Jane Walker, the chief counselor here at the home. You can call me Miss Jane, if you’d like. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Lizzie rocked forward and back ever so slightly. She took in a deep breath and let it out fast.
“Elizabeth, I would like to find out a little bit about you, just a few things that will help us move forward.”

Lizzie cleared her throat but didn’t say anything. She looked up at a picture on the wall behind Jane. She had gone to Sunday school when she was Elizabeth, so she knew the long-haired man with the soft blue-gray eyes and the well-kept beard. She knew his name anyway. She knew that he was Jesus.

She recalled all the old songs, and their uninvited presence in her mind surprised her. She hadn’t thought of them for years.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong.
Weak. She felt so weak.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

In the picture, Jesus had such clear skin, smooth and very tan. He was looking off to his left at something, something up in the air. She wondered what he was looking at. Was he looking out a window, too? Did he want to escape the room he was in?

“Where are you from, Elizabeth?” Jane asked.

The images of many different houses and trailers and apartments flashed through her mind. Faces. Bedrooms. So many places. Then the last place, a small apartment in Highland Park about ten blocks from the truck stop on Route 94. She thought about the walk to and from the truck stop over uneven sidewalks, the cracks filled with tiny, glittering shards of glass. The abandoned, boarded up buildings. The hungry looks of the truckers as she walked in and sat down.
“Lots of places,” Lizzie mumbled. “Too many to talk about.”

Jane nodded, made a few notes in the file.

“Do you have any family we can notify? Anyone who we can tell that you’re here?”

Confusing thoughts of Nae swept through her mind and she blushed, shook her head no. He had always said, maybe. Maybe someday, just the two of them. Maybe they could be a family. But not now. So no, there wasn’t anybody.

“So you’ve been here for two days now. Have you received help regarding orientation? Have you received your bedding and toiletries?” Jane asked, tilting her head to the side.

Lizzie’s right foot began to tap on the ground as she caved to the pressure to talk. The discomfort of remaining quiet – and extending the session – competed with the discomfort of speaking.
“They gave me a comb.”

“They gave you a comb?”
Lizzie nodded.

“My hair,” she explained, almost apologetically. “My hair gets tangled.”

“You do have beautiful hair,” Jane said. “I bet it felt nice to brush your hair after you arrived.”

Lizzie inadvertently reached up and wrapped a small piece of her hair around her finger.
“Are there any other items you need?”

Lizzie sighed and shook her head, no. Her hand drifted from her hair back down to her lap.
“I imagine The Hope Center feels like a long way from Detroit,” Jane said.

Lizzie took a deep breath. She didn’t want to talk about that. She didn’t want to talk about Nae or the narrow apartment in Highland Park. She didn’t want to talk about it because it felt like if she did it would vanish into her past. She wasn’t ready for that.

The helium balloon dropped a few inches, touched her shoulder.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Justine
Happy Birthday to you!
Jane shifted in her seat.

“Elizabeth…do your friends call you Elizabeth?”
Lizzie shook her head.
“What name do you prefer?”

Lizzie squeezed the side of her chair even tighter.
“Lizzie,” she said, the word spilling from her mouth.
Jane nodded her encouragement.

“Okay. Lizzie. I like that name. It suits you.”

Jane tilted her head to the side again. When she spoke, it was in a quiet and encouraging voice.
“Lizzie, I understand that this is a difficult conversation for you. We conduct this intake session with every new girl that comes into our home. We want to do our very best to care for you. The only way we can be considerate of your needs is if I get to know you. We’ll get to know each other in the days ahead, but for now, I need to collect some basic information about you that will help us get off to a good start. Does that make sense?”

Lizzie took a deep breath. She nodded. She quickly let go of her chair with one hand and pushed the balloon away from her shoulder.

Jane stood up in a rush of activity. She couldn’t move just one or two parts of her body – any action required the equal involvement of every ounce of her being.

“Let me move that for you,” she said, sliding around the table and untying the balloon from the chair. Lizzie involuntarily flinched away from Jane, keeping distance between them.
Jane glanced at the coffee table.

“What a mess, what a mess,” she muttered, grabbing a small trash can and throwing away the used-up candles, the pieces of balloon. “There, now we can talk.”

She pushed the balloon into the corner behind her where it hovered somewhere between the ceiling and the floor. Then she sat down and leaned forward, squinting her eyes as if she was intensely interested in how Lizzie would answer the next question.

But Lizzie couldn’t stop looking at the balloon. It hung in the air, drifting back and forth with an almost hypnotic affect.
Kids applauding and Justine smiling through the cloud of blown-out candles. Her dad comes over behind the birthday girl and lifts her up, spins her around.

“Did you make a wish?” he asks, a serious expression on her face.
Justine nods, her eyes shining.

“Just a minute,” her dad says before running to the other room and returning with a large box wrapped tightly in “Happy Birthday” paper.

Suddenly Jane’s voice drew Lizzie back to the room.
“Lizzie? Did you hear the question?”

Lizzie glanced at the door. She wondered if Jane would try to stop her. Jane was a small woman. She looked soft.

She’s never seen real life, not the life I know.

Lizzie tensed her body to jump up, to fight, to run.

But Jane sighed and placed her pen down on the open file, where it rolled off to the side, then slowed, then dropped to the floor. The gesture completely disarmed Lizzie. When the pen hit the floor she suddenly wanted to cry. She wanted to lean forward and put her face in her hands and weep.
“I imagine this is all moving pretty fast,” Jane said in a kind voice, looking down at the table with something like grief. Then she looked back up at Lizzie. “I wonder if anyone has taken the time to explain to you what’s going on?”

Lizzie pried her eyes away from the door, but they kept looking back at the balloon balancing in midair behind Jane. It felt like she couldn’t focus on anything else: the door, the balloon, the door, the balloon. The window was still too bright to look through. For a moment she heard the voices again, the children singing at the birthday party.

Happy Birthday to you!

“I am sure this can all seem pretty confusing and, well, upsetting. What we’re doing here today is called an intake. You’re not being arrested, Lizzie. Your presence here is not meant to be a punishment.”

Lizzie nodded. Jane waited a moment and then continued.

“We want to make sure that we have enough information to treat you well and to make sure that you are cared for in a way that is helpful instead of hurtful. Maybe today, instead of me filling in the blanks on this form, you can ask me the questions. Is there anything you’re wondering about?”
Lizzie looked down at her hands. The light coming through the window got even brighter as the sun came out from behind a cloud. The room was warm. But Lizzie could feel the cold penetrating in around the edges of the glass.

The helium balloon was lower now but still suspended in midair as if by magic, its small string drooping.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Justine
Happy Birthday to you!

Chris Campbell and Shawn Smucker

Meet the authors.

Chris Campbell (M.A.B.S; M.A.P.C) is the founder of Generation Freedom and field staff member of Freedom in Christ Ministries U.S.A. Chris has over two decades of youth ministry experience and is the architect of Identity-Based Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Counseling for teens and young adults. Chris specializes in helping youth ministries and faith-based organizations weave the life-changing principles of Freedom in Christ into holistic ministry strategies for adolescents.

Shawn Smucker is the author of numerous books, including Refuse To Drown and Dying Out Loud. He lives in Lancaster, PA with his wife and children. You can find him at www.shawnsmucker.com