By Nancy Price
There is an estimated 40.3 million victims of human trafficking around the world. Of those, hundreds of thousands are in the U.S.
“Human trafficking often happens right under our nose,” said Tom Overton, global director of Hope61, a human trafficking ministry within a Greenwood-based nonprofit called One Mission Society. “Human trafficking happens in every city, town and country across the world. It is happening right here in Greenwood, Indiana.”
Overton became involved with Hope61 seven years ago after he and his wife, Tonya, learned of the ministry through their church home, Mount Auburn United Methodist Church. “Tonya and I were deeply burdened by the issue of human trafficking and felt a strong call to get involved,” he said.
Human trafficking involves sex, labor, child and organ trafficking. Hope61 facilitates training around the globe to address human trafficking and human vulnerabilities to becoming victims, traffickers and buyers. “We are actively working in 16 countries, equipping churches to prevent human trafficking and introducing vulnerable people to Jesus,” Overton said. Human trafficking will only be stopped by transformed hearts and changed behavior. That can only happen through the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.”
To donate to Hope61 or request a Hope61 speaker for your church or organization, call (317) 888-3333, ext. 333, visit onemissionsociety.org/hope61 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What upsets you? When people that have different beliefs can’t engage in rational and productive conversation. Any positive dialogue is unattainable as long as we are not willing to talk to people who are different than us.
What do you like best about Center Grove? There is a true sense of community here. Through church, sports and other activities, I seem to run into people I know wherever I go. There is a strong sense of family here as well, and I love that.
What’s your favorite Southside eatery? Pho Lai Restaurant at the corner of Fry Road and Madison Avenue. They have the best Pho, an Asian noodle soup, in town and the owners are very nice.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? There’s no place I’d rather live in the world than in Greenwood.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? I can’t think of anything. Every experience and choice I have made has made me the person I am today.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? I would probably buy a sailboat big enough to live on and then partner with organizations to promote Christian missions and church planting around the world.
What makes you happiest? Spending time with my family. Watching my kids in their various sports and activities.
Pick three adjectives that best describe you. Competitive, positive and outspoken.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Perdido Key, Florida.
What do you do with idle time? I like to watch sports on television, volunteer as a chaplain of a local fire department and coach the middle school soccer team at Greenwood Christian Academy.
What would you change about our culture if you could? I would reinstate hopefulness into our culture. So often, a sense of hopelessness permeates us as a society. Bad things are happening all around us and it is easy to get down and to feel that there is no hope for a better future. The love of God and His grace in our lives provides eternal and unlimited hope. I would like to see us recapture that hope in our daily lives.
How do you escape from reality? I love being on the water. I don’t get much of a chance to do it but being out in the ocean or even on a lake or river brings me great peace.
What do you love most in life? God first, my family second.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? Dr. Craig Lammert. Craig is a physician with IU Health and is a living testament to working hard for his family, deepening his walk with Christ and being the best father, husband and friend that he can be.
What quality do you admire most in another person? Authenticity and vulnerability.
What is your greatest extravagance? Diet Coke and doughnuts from Long’s Bakery.
What is your greatest fear? Failure to be sensitive to God’s desire for my life.
What has been the happiest time of your life? I think I am as happy or more happy right now than I have ever been in life.
Is there a special talent you really wish you had? I would love to be able to play a musical instrument or sing. I am terrible at both of those things.
What do you most value in your friends? My friends are honest and authentic. I want them to hold me accountable but support me when I am dealing with challenges. They must like to joke around and laugh, too.
Which historical figure do you most admire? John Wesley. He challenged the status quo in the Church of England and sought to create a revival in the heart of people towards God. I hope that HOPE61 does those same things. I want HOPE61 to challenge the notion that human trafficking is too big to be stopped and to create revival in churches so that each person there knows that they can do something about this problem. Together, we can make a significant impact.
What tenet do you live by? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? Although God has called me to a role that requires a lot of international travel, I am really a homebody at heart.