“Having a near-death experience changes you. Life looks shorter and things feel more urgent,” says alumna Charity St. Clair (Criminal Justice ’13). “Selfish stuff doesn’t matter as much. You just want your life to be what it was meant to be. ”
In early 2016, Charity’s health had declined to the point she was forced to quit her job. “I was sitting in my brother’s apartment when my fingernails started turning blue,” she recalled. “I got extremely cold and couldn’t stop shaking, and my vision started blacking out. My brother and sister-in-law took me to the ER and by the time we got there, my organs were starting to shut down. My body went into septic shock.”
“I got extremely cold and couldn’t stop shaking, and my vision started blacking out.”
Several years earlier, after graduating with a Pensacola Christian College degree in criminal justice, Charity looked forward to starting her future, which held several great job opportunities.
But Charity knew her calling. She had taken several overseas missions trips, and on one of them she came face-to-face with victims of sex trafficking. Furious that a child could be sold for as little as $15, Charity could not sleep that night. “I knew God wanted me to dedicate my life to helping victims of sex trafficking,” she said. “It scared me to death, but God continued to confirm it.”
One day, she received a package in the mail. “A friend sent me a Rescue 1 Global T-shirt and told me about the organization,” Charity recalls. “I wanted to work with survivors of human trafficking, but in a workplace that had a gospel mindset, and Rescue 1 fit that description.”
Charity St. Clair accepted an internship with the organization and fell in love with the ministry as she participated in their street outreach and gained insight through training sessions. There was one obstacle though. “If I joined Rescue 1, I’d have to raise my own finances like a missionary,” Charity explained. “I thought that since I’d worked so hard to earn my bachelor’s in criminal justice, I should work somewhere that could pay me! It was really an area of pride in my life, and it took time for me to fully surrender to it.”
“Since I’d worked so hard to earn my bachelor’s in criminal justice, I should work somewhere that could pay me.”
Not ready to make a commitment to raising full-time support, Charity accepted a teaching position at a private Christian school in Los Angeles. “Rescue 1 was always in the back of my mind,” she admitted. “I still really wanted to work with troubled kids, so my next job was at a juvenile justice campus that was an alternative for boys in detention facilities. After that, I worked in a home for prostituted children, mostly girls.”
While these jobs gave her opportunities to work with exploited children, Charity’s heart still lay in working with a ministry that not only helped victims physically but presented eternal hope to them through the gospel. She didn’t know it yet, but her life was about to change forever when her health gave out unexpectedly.
“My body went into septic shock.”
Although Charity cannot recall her time in ICU, a medical note written by the doctor revealed her desperate condition: “Likely Mortality.” A miracle that Charity tributes to praying Christians took place and Charity recovered—only to go back into sepsis six months later. “When I woke up in the hospital again, I had one thing on my mind: if I recover this time, I’m supposed to join Rescue 1. I can’t even tell you exactly why I thought that, but it was there.”
God did heal Charity—and she contacted Rescue 1 Global, immediately dedicating herself to her calling. The days are long and the work demanding, but Charity fully embraces each challenge and rejoices with each victim pulled physically and spiritually out of despair. “When you work with people who have survived the world of sex trafficking, you learn quickly to celebrate the small victories,” she says. “The depravity that has been forced upon their lives changes their mindset, their value system, their worldview—everything. So the journey of healing is a lifelong one. When you sign up to be their advocate, you sign on for life.”
“God has healed much in my body, and I’m so thankful He has extended my life to be involved in such an awesome ministry,” Charity St. Clair said. “I don’t know how much life I have left, but I’ll be doing what I love, and I’ll be where God wants me. I wish everyone could know how that feels.”
“I don’t know how much life I have left, but I’ll be where God wants me.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.