International Ministries

Lauran Bethell received Honorary Doctoral Degree

May 16, 2009 News
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Lauran Bethell, International Ministries global consultant for ministry with at-risk women and children received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the Palmer Theological Seminary on May 16, 2009. Dr. Wallace Smith, President of the Seminary, praised Lauran of her commitment and contributions to working for more than two decades on behalf of women and children who have been exploited and abused. Lauran collaborates with government agencies, non-government organizations, and a broad spectrum of Christian ministries.

She has testified before the US House of Representatives and Senate committees focusing on legislation related to human trafficking. In 2005, she received the Human Rights Award of the Baptist World Alliance, presented to her by former President Jimmy Carter. Two years later the Whitsitt Society conferred to her its “Courage Award." “We are so proud of Lauran of starting a new movement in addressing an age-old issue, following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ to liberate the oppressed,” Benjamin Chan said. Benjamin is the Area Director of East Asia and India who also works with global consultants of American Baptist International Ministries.

Reid Trulson, Executive Director of International Ministries, noted that "human trafficking" is the most frequently used term for present day slavery (see "We give thanks to God for Lauran and for all of the missionaries of International Ministries who are working against human trafficking and the entrapment of people in abusive labor and forced prostitution. They and the partners with whom they work in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas are making a tremendous difference in the lives of adults and children who are being victimized by this great evil." Trulson added, "I believe that God is calling us to be as active against human trafficking in our generation as the generations of believers before us who worked to end slavery in the U.S. and around the world."

Lauran's commencement address to the attentive Palmer Seminary graduates summarized what she learned in her years of ministry. “If there’s anything I’ve learned in ministry it’s that showing up is most often the best we can do. Showing up in places where we are intimidated. Showing up in the places of fear. Showing up, and then having confidence that it will be God’s spirit that speaks more loudly than any words we can say—bringing peace, bringing joy, showing love.”

 She then gave the context for her ministry, and that of all assembled, by quoting the central text for the day, Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase (The Message) of 2 Corinthians 4:7, “We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with ours.”


The address, entitled “Am I My I.D.?,” took the audience to the immigration lines at the many airport check-ins Lauren has experienced. She explained, “At these times, it’s all about proving myself and my goods worthy of and justified in entry into my home country—or whatever country I happen to be appealing to enter.”


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