Together by AGCI is a brand new podcast from the creative team at All God’s Children International.


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Episode 63

Why This Work Matters With Jep Robertson

Jep Robertson, AGCI National Advancement Officer

You’re listening to Together by AGCI. I’m Melissa Rush. Today, my co-host, Marisa and I are chatting with the one and only Jep Robertson. You might know Jep from Duck Dynasty. But we’re lucky enough to know him through his work with AGCI as a National Advancement Officer. Today we’re talking about Jep’s journey to AGCI and the life changing experiences he’s had along the way.

Let’s get into our conversation. Well, welcome Jep back to the podcast. We’re so excited to have you on. It’s been a while. Thank you. It has been a while. I’m excited to be here. Well, we’re so glad to have you. Thanks for taking the time today. Dropping some knowledge bombs on us. You always have good things to share.

And I know both of us have looked forward to being able to chat with you today. So, thanks for me, too. Oh, it’s awesome. Yeah, absolutely. So, Jep, you first learned about AGCI when you attended our auction in Austin a few years ago. Can you just share a little bit about what stood out to you about AGCI and kind of why you felt called to get involved with the work?

Yeah, I’ve been to a lot of auctions and different charity events, and this one just it was a last-minute thing my friend asked me to do, and honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. And then it was so I was crying so hard. I was with a table full of guys, and I just got so affected by what Laura was saying.

It just it hit me hard and just, you know, just kids have always been a big thing to me. Adoption. And I was like, man, I want to do something with these guys. Like, what can I do? So I love that I was at that auction to and I had that same reaction where I even kind of knew some of Laura’s story and I was a disaster.

Just bawling, having her speak and, you know, just share some of her story. It was it was really powerful night. Well, I’m glad that you last minute came at me, too. Pretty lucky for us. And we stick around toward the end of that, like a I stuck around and got to meet Brad and who I work with closely now and just kind of shook some the board’s hand and I was like, “Man, these people are super fired up and really are helping kids.”

Well, it meant a lot to us that you even would come. I know my husband met you that evening. We have a picture of it and he was so excited. Like how cool that Jep would come and want to hear from us about what we do. And you stayed and chit-chatted with everybody. It meant a lot to everyone.

And you could tell right away that you were maybe more than just an attender that evening. It’s funny to see how God, what God does and all of our lives through these little moments. You never know. So, what was your first in-person experience with work like? I would say, like what did you do after that event?

What was a next step for you?

So, it’s funny. Brad Van Stavern, he followed up with me. He got my number and was like, “Hey, man, let me take you to lunch.” And I was like, “Cool.” We were talking and then I was asking questions about All God’s Children. He was like little. We started getting into a deeper and what I really started to learn about the work and as funny, I think I start the email.

I interrupted him. I was like, “Hey, buddy, I’m going to support you guys 100% and you know, I’m going to donate to you guys.” I said, “But I want to do more. I want to do what you’re doing. I want to go sit down with people. And it shocked him. I could tell he was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think anybody’s ever said that.’”

Like, “I want to do what you’re doing.” And he was like, “Okay.” And so, we set up a meeting, me and my wife, Brad, and his wife, Adam Todd, a board member, and his wife and Hollen who was in town, the president. And it was so funny because Colin and my wife sat across from each other at the table.

They talked for 2 hours nonstop, just about kids and adoption and all the children and us adopting us. And it was so funny. I rarely I didn’t get a word in. I was talking to kind of on the other end of the table. And when it was over, we shook hands, exchanged numbers. And Jessica, we got in the car.

She goes, “You have to work with these people. Like, I love what they’re doing. How can we make this happen? Like you make it happen?” I was like, “Yes, ma’am.” So that’s kind of how it all started. Well, you got to love Jess. Yeah. She’s like, “This is it for you?” Yeah. That’s so awesome that she was on board right away because, like, you know, I mean, I don’t know, it’s kind of a new organization.

You’re kind of just like first learning about it. You really haven’t had a ton of exposure. And she’s like, “Hey, this is something we need to be involved in.” Absolutely. And this is coming off the heels. I mean, kind of a more of a back story is I had a food trailer like a big Airstream we could converted into like a food truck trailer and that had just kind of wound up like I was kind of like I really didn’t want to try that.

It’s not for me. I love them. I love going to them, but it just wasn’t my thing. And so, we had been praying and stuff and I said I had told her a month before all this happened and I said, I want to do something with charity. And I was like, honestly, something with kids, maybe adoption or something like that.

I was like, Maybe I can start my own charity. That’s where I started, which I was. I got, I looked at it and I was like, “Oh, that’s a lot, you know, that’s a that’s a long a lot of work.” So then we met like that and it was just, there was something with, you know, a 100% a God thing was like, “I think you were supposed to be with these people.”

So it was cool. I love that. I love it too. Especially as adults. I don’t know, maybe you don’t feel this way, Melissa, but I love just that. I think a lot of us are always kind of looking like, “Okay, God, what do you have next for me? What’s my life supposed to look like?” And thank God when you pray that prayer, it’s not just something thrown out to the wind.

It’s something that, you know, between you and the Lord that was serious and you didn’t maybe know going into it, but you sure had it confirmed quickly. I love that. Yeah. Just being like open hearted to what? You know, things looking different than you maybe thought. Well, it was hard because I’m 40 years old at the time. And, you know, I should be deep into my profession doing something, whatever.

But, you know, I have such a weird work history, I guess, like working for my family and then being on a successful TV show and just kind of a weird place in my life where like, what am I gonna do now? I mean, it was just a it was stressful, to be honest with you. I mean, it was a lot of pressure and like, you know, what are we doing so well?

It was kind of scary. But I love your openness. Like, I think, you know, on another note, sometimes I think as adults, we also feel like, well, I’ve gone down this path so far, like I can’t change what I’m doing. I have to, you know, continue on this road. So, I’ve already invested so much time and energy and resources into that.

And so to kind of take a step back and really think about it and pray about it and feel like, okay, now this is like where we are being called to be and it looks different than what I thought it would, but I don’t know. I think that takes a lot of courage. Yeah. Finally, what inspired me to was Brad, because getting to know him, we all had Brad on here yet or you know, he isn’t, you know, but we both know Brad well.

Yeah, I’m saying all good things about Brad. I hope he listens. Podcast. I don’t know. We’ll find out if he listens or not. Yeah, that’s what he told me. He said, man, we were having that meeting. He said, I was a very successful insurance guy. I had my own business, was doing super well. And basically he was like, I just got hit by the God Hammer.

And I was like, You need do something else. You need to do something that helps people. And he was like, it was a tough thing for him to kind of like. And it inspired me to be like, man, I mean, this guy was doing these awesome things, making money. It was like, Now this is what God wants me to do right now.

So He inspired me a ton. Wow, that’s really cool. So after that first kind of meeting and you got you and Jep just decided, okay, this is where we need to be right now. How soon? Because you guys went and saw the work firsthand, right? Like where did you tell us a little bit about that? Where did you go?

What did you do? So after that meeting, I think me and Hollen just talked on the phone. I was like, look, I’m ready. I want to do something, you guys, I don’t know what that looks like, but I was like, What can I do? And she said, Nothing right now. And I was like, okay. She kind of shocked me a little bit.

She was like, Now, not right now. And I was like, Whoa, okay. Well, when she was like, Well, look, you need to come in like a month and we’re going to Ethiopia. You come with us. I want you to see what we’re doing. You figure out how to get there, and we’ll take care of you. And I was like, Man, it’s a pretty big leap when I fly out of Ethiopia and been out of the country in a lot of years, and I was a little nervous about it, but I was like, You know what?

I’m just going to go. And that was the big that was their big decision. That kind of changed everything. But that is brave to go to Ethiopia. I have to say, as your first trip out it that’s a long trip. There are so many world differences and you know, it’s just the foods everything’s different just in the most beautiful ways but in some scary ways, too, where you’re like, I’ve never done this before.

It really like nothing like busting right out of your comfort zone to do this. But I love that. That’s what I mean. It’s very brave. I applaud you for stepping out in that way. I don’t know. It’s it’s something I obviously have known about you, but it’s interesting hearing from this perspective. It really is like remarkable that you were willing to take those steps and and inspiring to hear.

So, yeah, like, how would you say your mind set has shifted really since seeing that work firsthand? Like how did that experience change you like in the at the beginning of experiencing it? And then how has it changed you over the years? Would you say so on that trip? I think the second day we went to a government run orphanage.

And when I say horrible sites like I’ve told the story a few times, but I don’t know about publicly, but we saw kids just they were I mean, it’s hard to still talk about now, like handicapped kids being tied down. And like I remember how in like Rebel on the Head, his eyes roll back like he hadn’t been touched in a long time.

And it was just we went to the baby room. There’s no babies crying because it was like they weren’t getting milk anyway. And it was really tough. And I called Jessica that night and I was like, Oh my gosh, these people need help. And we met with the lady who ran that particular one, and she was so frustrated and it was so hard.

And then I went to a place where All God’s Children was intervening and my and these kids were happy. They were cared for. I was like, I just seen the worst of the worst where we weren’t allowed to help. And then I saw where we were allowed to help and how these kids were thriving and doing well. And I was like, Man, these people are making a difference.

I mean, just really and I called Jessica that and I just cried like, I love I love these people. I love what they’re doing. And it’s hard I’m saying some hard things, but there’s hope and and so that that trip we ended I met with all and she said, well, what do you think? Nassib signed me up. I’m all in with you guys.

I don’t know what that looks like as a model. Land gives me the chills, makes me all choked up. I’ve seen those kids, too. And this is something that stays with you, I think, for your entire life. Is that what you’ve seen, how kids can be treated and the difference of of giving care to these kids? And I don’t know, seeing God’s heart for them and they want something better for them than what they’re getting.

But yeah, it just wrecks me even hearing you talk about it right now like that. But yeah, well, and there’s something about seeing that like firsthand. I mean, you can hear about it from other people, but actually walking into a room and seeing kids just like in a place that feels like there is no hope. And it is it kind of there’s nothing really like that.

I mean, it just wrecks you completely and but it also forces you to be like, what can I do? You know, like because everybody can do something. And then seeing the other side of it, there is hope like it. There are those moments where it feels hopeless, but there is so much hope and that’s what obviously we believe.

I told my kids. That’s right. When I got back. It’s the one thing it’ll really change you. And I mean, I wish every American kid would have a chance to go over and visit with these kids is you will be so much more appreciative of what you have and what you can do in this country because it may man, we have it good.

Yeah. And even just resources that we have in this country like for people to get help that when you see it you realize like not only are there no resources, it’s like beyond it’s way beyond that. There’s nothing there’s no child welfare system. There’s no is if someone’s struggling, there’s nowhere to go to get help. You know, there’s it’s life and death.

And I don’t see it like dramatically, like especially in Ethiopia, seeing that. That’s exactly it. Like you realize so quickly how fortunate we are and that God put us in this place. And for me personally, it was like, okay, Lord, like you, you put me in this place where I’m so fortunate and I am so blessed and had a good family and a good you know, I grew up and, you know, loved Jesus and all of that.

And then like, what do I do with it though? And that’s where I mean, that’s why I’m here. But yeah, it’s just, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s pretty so over here it’s obviously so hard to talk about, but like how, how did you talk about those difficult things that you witnessed with your family, with your kids? Like, how did you explain, you know, that it’s so unfair the disparity in the world?

Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to explain. Like I said, I’m just total I’m like, you know, really appreciate what you have and what she noticed over there. What I’ve noticed is, you know, the people who we help, they still don’t have I mean, no, you know, they’re just not much there to have. So it’s like but that’s their hope.

They, you see, is they have it they have hope that that’s the big life changers. Like they don’t have to live like these people who are just I mean, literally just kids in the street have no hope there but they to drugs like hope and all that kind of stuff and it’s really changing. You know, I feel like the work we’re doing is changing generations and, I mean, I couldn’t be more proud.

That’s also what I tell my kids. I was like, you know, I could go have a job, whatever. I don’t know what that looks like, but it was like, what I’m doing now is giving kids hope to me. Like, what else can what do you want to do in your life? I mean, it’s like you want to make a ton of money on the stock market or like help kids.

Like it is just a no brainer to me. Yeah, absolutely. Well, we’re glad you feel that way because it’s I mean, we all can have an impact big and small, you know, but we have to want to do it. Yeah. You know, I love that. So one aspect of the work that we do it, AGCI that I know is important to you on a personal level, is adoption.

You talked a little bit about it already and one of your sons is adopted. So how has adoption and, you know, bringing girls home like changed your family? How would you say? You know, it’s really my whole family is my brother Willie adopted his son Will and we all we grew up taking care of we old me and Jessica.

You know, when they would be gone out of town? We was at our house a lot as a baby and as a young child. And so it’s we have a really cool relationship with Will and it’s just something I always it’s funny I didn’t always want to do. And I will be honest about that. And then, but Jessica always wanted to and I kind of changed my mind on that one.

I went to the Dominican Republic when I was fairly young, and our church had a small orphanage there. And I met those kids and me and I was young. I mean, I was in my early twenties and me and Jessica had just been married or whatever. And I remember coming back from the trip and I was like, at some point I was like, I do see us adopt.

I mean, I can see how we can, you know, help a kid. And it’s funny, you don’t really that’s what you think about it. Pre adoptions like, oh, we can help somebody then you adopt and it’s like, oh, they’re my family, you know, it’s like it yes, there’s a big shift there. What you think about adoption is and then once you do it like, oh my gosh, this was meant to be there was no we’re helping a kid is like now this kid is my family and I will do whatever it takes to protect this kid.

It’s like having a child just you think, oh, it’s going to be amazing. Then you do it. It’s like, Oh, no, it’s beyond amazing. It’s like it’s I mean, it’s like you can’t. There’s no words. I guess what I’m translating. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Oh, that’s, that’s so cool how your heart was like open to that, you know, kind of seeing different things and having different experiences is.

So how has I’m curious, how is adopting a black child changed your world view? It’s you know, it’s been tougher than you would think. I mean, I don’t know how much in detail I have to, you know, I mean, it’s true that I’ve talked about it before. We call it a lot of hate, like we because we were doing a show kind of about our adoption story.

It was called Jep and Jess Growing that Dynasty. And we got a call from somebody who said, the TMZ people want to talk to you. And I was like, okay. And we were interviewing and one of the guys was like, you know, why? Why did you choose to adopt a child? And I said, I don’t know why. What do you mean?

And he was like, Why not just adopt a white child? My son, we didn’t ask for a certain type of child. We just said, we’ll adopt a child. We don’t care, gender or race, whatever. And it was funny because I was like and then I asked later I was like, Can you do that? Can you? I mean, I didn’t even know that was a possibility.

I thought if you just and I learned later, you can there’s still places. Yeah, but am I right? And I was like, I just seem odd to me because I was like, I don’t know why you would just pick that. It just seems so weird. But anyway, but we caught a lot of hate, like on, you know, social media was like, I mean, some super racist stuff and I stayed away from because of it.

They were like, you know, white people need adopted too and all that. I mean, it’s just super hate. And I was just like, I quit. I told those guys, I cannot do social media. I’m done. And I didn’t mess with it for years. And and still now I won’t read any comments, but it’s tough and people look at you funny.

Now you’re at the grocery store or whatever and it’s it’s definitely a rough road. I mean, there’s no way around it. And he’s had trouble at times. I’m kind of as sad as moment. I don’t think I said this publicly, but I don’t mind saying it. It was it was hard was he was fine for years, probably couple of years ago and he was in the past, like scrubbing his arm and just Jessica was like, what he was doing, what’s wrong?

And he was like his exact words. We said, I don’t want to be brown. I’ll be gray like you and I did broke her heart and it broke my heart and we cried and we had a long talk. Funny. Jessica was like, body. I want to be brown. Like, dude, like, you know, it’s just a tough thing to get through.

But, you know, we try to just we can and celebrate his skin color is a little different it’s okay it’s fine and but it’s such a they can be hard. I will say that to total him sort of you know, it’s just it’s not the easiest way. But I think sometimes that’s just the way it happens. And and God has our back and we just work for those things.

Well, and it’s interesting, you know, obviously we have that in common with like it’s hard. It’s hard being a black child in a white family. Like I think you have to acknowledge that with them as they get older, you know, and it started way younger than I thought for for our daughter to wear. You know, she started well, the first time she ever said it.

I, like broke down into tears, like went off and cried. And then later on, she told me she wanted to be blue. And I was like, okay. I definitely jumped the gun on my tears on that one. But she, you know, as she gets older for sure, she, you know, that’s part of the like heartbreak of adoption. There are so many beautiful things.

And then, you know, I’ve told her lots of times, like, of course I would have like of course it would have been better for you to be raised by a black family. By your family. Like, there’s just that’s like the like this massive gray area that exists that if you don’t acknowledge all of the hard that it’s beautiful.

Like, I feel the same as you, Jep. Like, when she came home, it was like, oh, my gosh, I’d do anything for her. She this she completed our family. She was like, I had that feeling of she was supposed to always be mine. Like, God knew, but but then you get going down the line and yeah, you also have the all the tough stuff and the questions and the big, you know, they’re he’s going to keep having more and more questions.

And and I feel like so privileged to navigate that. And I know you do, too, of how we do the best we can with our kids. That’s right. But in the end, you know, we have his best interests at heart, 1,000% feel like him. With us is where he needs to be. It’s amazing. It’s a gift. Yeah. They’re all there’s always.

We still get that of like, oh, she’s so lucky to have you. And I think any adoptive family is like, Oh, no, we’re so lucky to have them like this. First of all, look, it has nothing to do with it with her. She had a lot of unlucky things happen to get to this point.

And then, you know, for us, I always just think like, oh, man, if anybody is lucky, it’s us. She’s been the biggest gift to our family. I love that. So we were so lucky a couple of months ago. Our team that so Jep and I work together. We’re both on the same team and we had the opportunity to go back to Columbia after a long time of COVID shutdowns and, you know, navigating all of that.

And it was a really I think for both of us, we it was a really powerful trip and it was so nice kind of selfishly to go back because it just reminds you of kind of for me at least maybe I’m speaking for myself here. It reminded me of why I do this work and I always kind of have that.

But, you know, but there’s just something about like looking these kids in the eyes and seeing how little they are and, you know, nothing like that to refocus you. And I know we’ve both been like kind of processing through everything that we’ve experienced in that. And we met incredible kids, incredible families. But there was one little girl on that trip named Salame that captured all of our hearts.

Will you share about what it was like to meet her and what it was like to meet her mom? Yeah, it was incredible. She was the funniest, sweetest, and she was reading the stories and singing songs. You can really see where the therapy with her had really come to a lot of good. And what I mean, I don’t think I did then, but I’ll say now I was actually abused as a kid.

I’m not for family or anything, but it was from like 5 to 7. This come first memories, which is never good. So kind of meeting that kid that young. It’s hard because I don’t I don’t talk about how much I did write about me and just did a book years ago. I even know if you could find it.

But this called “The Good, the Good, The Bad and the Grace of God.” And I talked about in that book, but because I never told my wife or I didn’t tell anybody until later in the day, I told one guy that I kind of grew up with it because he had something happen to him. So I think doing this work and when you write about that especially, it’s like big.

It gets me, it’s me, it hurts me because I and I can empathize 100% with that because it happened to me. So but I don’t think about it because, you know, I don’t want people to think, oh, man, you had so bad. Like, I don’t want people to think. I’m like, Hey, man, a subtle happen. Obviously, I could, but it’s what I do when I see it going on.

It makes me mad and it also makes me want to help that person and I think that’s a big reason why with All God’s Children and yeah, that girl grows so sweet. It’s just I remember me been going through that, but I was sick all the time and my mom was super concerned. I just wouldn’t say anything and I never did.

Then it really affected how I feel like for a long time, and I wish I would have had the resources that he has, which is great, which is through that abuse and and getting through and knowing that it’s wrong. But what was done to her and and and enjoys it, was it meant a lot to me to meet that girl.

Yeah. And I think, oh, I’m just. I’m so sorry that you went through that. That’s really terrible. Well, and I was going to say, I think that that’s probably why you have such a tender heart to this stuff, to like. Yeah, I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m a 100% and and like, it was a hard time and dreamy just kind of share and that all was just good.

And then she was kind of freaked out, like, would ever tell me that I was like, well, some someone just, you know, like a lot of people, I think it’s more probable. Well, honest. I think it’s more probable anywhere. People just don’t want to talk about that. It wasn’t the rough time in your life, especially is hard because, you know, maybe I did something or.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s tough. I don’t blame them. Yeah, it’s really hard to share. Just a little bit about do you remember Salame’s story? A little bit about it, yeah. Know if she was she was being abused by her mom’s kind of boyfriend at the time, I believe, and was a maybe a year or two ish her is sexually molested her and she was just so little.

That’s what really got me. And I was like, man, you know, you don’t planned it. Whatever it is. Just pure evil. But all I can say is I didn’t know her before. I knew she had a heart like. Like she was, like, very anti-social. And I don’t think she didn’t talk much. What I saw was a girl that had gotten six months worth of counseling and was super talkative and was super happy and showing us her room and and these people didn’t have anything.

I mean, it was like very little. And but it once again, I will go back to that. I think she had hope in a better future. And what gets me fired up is like, man, this girl had a safe test and it’s unexplainable what was done to her. But she’s she’s more like a normal kid anymore. So I think she just is super.

And that is what I think. Like that you’re so right. I mean, it is like a pure evil thing that unfortunately happens to a lot of people. And it’s so hard to it’s impossible to understand. But I think the only thing that can kind of get you through is to remember that there is so much hope and that kids that go through these just devastating traumas, they can find joy and happiness and be a kid and there is healing.

And that’s what is so exciting about the work that our partner in Columbia is doing. Would you mind just sharing a little bit about that partner and and the amazing work that they’re providing kids and families with these kids? There is a no cost counseling saved by us to to help them get over what’s been done to them.

Yeah. And that’s so important to us, that’s available to to families like in the lower socioeconomic class in Columbia. So that cost is never a barrier because, you know, as you know, you know, in the United States, even just to get counseling, you know, it’s not it’s not free generally. And so that can be a barrier to people getting the help that they need.

And if, you know, we know what the outcomes are like, like if kids and families don’t get that support, don’t get that counseling and aren’t able to process their trauma. And so it is just so amazing that we get to partner with this organization and they get to, you know, truly know and love these kids and families and meet them where they’re at and the healing and joy that’s possible through that.

It’s just I don’t know. It brings it makes me cry. It’s really, truly amazing. Yeah, well, and that’s the thing. I mean, there you you just said an estimated 2 million children. Yeah. And we’re able to reach I, I think like 50 kids at a time. And there’s, you know, they’re going through different you know, we see more than 50 kids in a year, but they’re at different stages.

Some are in there longer, some are shorter. But they’re getting their getting counseling and therapy services. Their families are getting it. It’s leading to them being able to continue to live with it in their family. And I mean, for me, the the one of the most moving things is that it’s stopping this violence against them in its tracks like it’s it’s ending it for them.

They’re they’re not repeating it and the families are not repeating it. Whatever it looks like, whoever it was. And that’s so powerful to me that there is that like I think it’s interesting, we’ve kind of had this like overarching talk about hope today. And that’s the thing. It’s it’s bringing this healing this hope to these families that they can have something different and better.

And that doesn’t mean that, you know, their life looks just perfect. It doesn’t mean that things aren’t still hard or that they don’t still have things to work through, but they have the tools to be able to do it. And it’s life changing work. It changes everything. And I would say for me, like meeting Salame was like a huge life changing moment.

And for the same reason as when I saw It’s a hard time, she was I mean, that, like, really got me off like, oh my gosh, sometimes when I see pictures or I hear stories, I don’t know what it is in my mind, but I think maybe it’s just for my own self-preservation, like imagining someone that tiny, having something like that done to them.

I have to go, I don’t know, somewhere else. And so seeing it and knowing that this little girl was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions, just absolutely, you know, destroyed me. And I was honestly like going in on the when we were in our van, like just really nervous to meet her because, you know, what she’s been through. And like you said, like when when we got of the van, she walked out to greet us.

She welcomed us into her home. She was singing for us, showing us her work that she’d been working on in school, like introducing us to her stuffed animals. And it literally is like her bed and a little space in her mom’s bed. And like there was a one little separate area for like a kitchen. It was very tiny, but it was the same.

I was just like struck like, oh my gosh, she’s so very tiny and she’s so remarkable and strong and it just was so inspiring to me to just see like that. Her story does not end with her trauma like this, wasn’t it for her? She has. God has more for her. She has a chance at a beautiful, beautiful life.

And I don’t know, would I? I just went off on that. But would you would you say like that that you’re afraid that meant you think you’re a hunter? Right. And I thought the exact same thing because her and Gus are nearly the same age, or she may have been a year older than Gus. And he was nine, ten year old clothing.

He’s a huge kid. They really big age him forever are a shoe size apart. 13 and Gus is six. So that just shows you how big. I mean, he’s a great guy. The big boys. Big boy and big boy. And and that that’s what really the frailty of her, you know, I you know, I don’t think anybody is being honest with my dad.

I got mad. I was like, who? And mom would hurt this little girl. But to see where she was, I was just so just appreciative and just I mean, you could just see God’s hand what all. And then it went beyond just like, you know, it made me feel like, man, we’re all hurt, but it made me think like and it’s God sanctioned because we could beat up this girl as as much as God had a hand in that.

And it was a spiritual experience. That was really awesome. Yeah, that’s exactly it. I mean, there’s something super natural that’s going on. That’s right. That you can’t you can’t we can’t take credit for we can give all these resources and and, you know, do the work on our end. And that’s exactly it. It was something bigger than that.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I mean, the joy that you guys were able to witness, I feel like, is such testament to that and like the healing that’s possible. Jack, when you came home from this trip and you’re sharing with people, you know, kind of about this work, like how how would you explain like why? Why is it so essential that these kids get this support, like kids that have survived sexual violence?

Well, kind of like I was saying earlier, me kind of having gone through this, you know, some of the same I wish I would have had, you know, some some resources and some help instead of bottling that stuff in. And, you know, people do that. But, you know, also what I was just super impressed with is our team over there.

Oh, my God, these people are just I mean, it’s a picture, it’s a dumb analogy, but I got to say it. I picture these girls, Xena, warrior princesses, like with wings and like a big sword, like, we’re going to fight for these kids. And they do. It’s I love that image. I got chills all over. You see, I can’t.

But I believe, you know, I believe I do too. I do too. I do too. Through the video, I was like that. Right? People in the right place that are fighting for these kids and doing such a tremendous job. It’s just amazing. Like, I mean, I know there’s good teams of people out doing some good stuff for kids, but man, I really believe in what we’re doing.

It’s it’s just super evident and better than the people that are working. I was just back in Colombia with another smaller group and I told them, I said, You like when I’m with you, it’s funny. Like you say, the Xena warrior princess thing. I said something similar to them. I’m like, You guys are just like your Lionhearted and you are out there like daily, minute by minute fighting the fight for these kids.

I wouldn’t want to get in their way either. They’re like impressive women, like do not mess with them. And they’re taking all of that passion and and like feeding it into their own people and and making these incredible changes. And I like sometimes I go back to my room and I’m like, you know, like crying and like, how did they enter into that?

Just the fact of how brave and strongly are that they enter into these hard places with these kids. They know these stories. They hear these things. I hear one story and I’m like, you know, oh, god, you know, how does this happen? And they stay in there with these kids. They don’t leave that with them. They’re committed to walking them through this.

And that’s exactly it. They have they must have some Holy Spirit, swords and shields and all the things, because they’re it makes me all choked up and it’s so cheesy, but I just see them going on ahead of these kids who shouldn’t have to be fighting this fight at this age and taking some of that weight off of them.

Then that’s where it gets me every time I’m with them, I’m like, Oh my gosh, you guys like I just respect them so deeply. And you know, when I came home, I don’t know about you, Jep, but when I came home from our trip that we went on back in May, I like warned people that I talked to because I like the need is huge.

You can make a difference here are things that are happening and I told people I’m like I’m just warning you now. Like, I’ve been real nice and like easing in to asking you for money to support these things and no more nice person. I know they need support right now to keep these things going, to grow it. There are 2 million kids.

This is something that is scalable that we could get more support for. But the bottom line is we need more funding for it. And so, like, how can people from your viewpoint, how can people help kids right now like Salame? How can someone make a difference right now? Well, my dad is me and it’s in my parents room, some of the most giving people.

I mean, I just got really lucky to have parents that were with anybody, anything type people in it. My dad always said that he goes, Son, you got to put your money where your mouth is. If you want to help kids, then put your money there. I mean, it’s like they do in any facet of life. So I just think it’s such an easy thing to do.

I don’t know. It’s hard. I’m like you. I get mad sometimes. Like, got, like you got. But yeah, man, just fancy pray about it look up what we do each our out of We’ll talk to you all day long we’ll tell you anything remotely. And Marisa does an amazing job we do these come and see calls where you can actually meet with some of these kids and a counselor and you see how they are.

I mean, you can see like and what they were like before and how they are now. It’s amazing. So I love what we do and I know more people are seeing that. You hear about hearing about it and, you know, I want us to grow and just help more kids. And it definitely takes people listening to just put your money where your mouth is, you know, let’s do this.

Yeah, absolutely. And every gift of every size matters. One time gifts, recurring gifts, prayer, obviously always appreciate it and help so much. But yeah, whatever is accessible to you like that can help a child heal from something that is. I mean, no child should have to go through that, but like what a wonderful thing to help them in their journey to the other side, you know, and you can whoever is listening to this, you can do that.

You can do that today. Well, and this is not exact math because no one should turn to me for exact math, like figuring out, I mean, these therapy sessions, you know, when we go to a therapist, it’s like $100 up to 259 session. And these therapies, like what we’re funding, it costs so very little. It costs like the amount of buying a fancy coffee per therapy session, though the dollar goes so far.

Yeah. Where we’re working and so that’s I love that you say that like $5 is a therapy session. If that’s what you have to give, please give it. And, and if you have more than that, I you were so fortunate, Jep, to be raised like that because a lot of people weren’t raised to be generous. And I’m like, see what that looks like?

And like? And I say that saying like my mom, not a wealthy girl. And I was like, we were kind of poor ish, but it doesn’t matter. Like my dad would see a lower and giving five bucks. Just like, “God be with you.” Like, it didn’t it didn’t matter if they had money or not. They would just give me family, which is awesome.

And I love that. I mean, I feel like that’s the mike drop right there. Yeah. I’m not much more to say after that. Yeah, absolutely. That was Jep Robertson, National Advancement Officer for AGCI. Thanks for listening to Together. Bye bye.

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