by Trinity Gruenberg

The tide washed starfish onto a beach and they began to dry out and  perish in the sun. A boy sees the distressed starfish and begins to pick them up and throw them back in the water.

A man approached the boy and asked, “Why bother? You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy replied, “I made a difference for that one. It mattered to that one.”

This starfish mentality is what the trio of Monsons brought with them to Las Vegas for The Big Search which includes missing children and human trafficking. Human Trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation.

“This is something that is so much around us and we were able to make a small difference and make an impact,” said Eric Monson.

Eric Monson, pastor at the Eagle Bend Assembly of God Church; his brother Caleb, a youth pastor in Frazee; and their father Sheldon, a Wadena County commissioner may have escaped the Polar Vortex for sunny, 80 degree weather, but this was no vacation. It was a mission trip like no other.

The Big Search is hosted every Super Bowl weekend by Nevada Child Seekers and F.R.E.E. (Find Restore Embrace and Empower) International and also many volunteers who join in. The goal is for volunteers to work with law enforcement to help find missing children by walking the streets, handing out information while obtaining intel that is reported back to law enforcement. They started out searching for 30 missing children, the youngest being a three-year-old girl. Not all of these missing kids were being trafficked, but missing none the less. After this search, 20 children have been found. All in an effort to combat human trafficking. . . .

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Sheldon Monson, Eric Monson and Caleb Monson traveled to Las Vegas to assist in The Big Search and find missing children. The trio learned much about human trafficking, the signs, and raising awareness. Their mission didn’t end after the trip. They are taking their knowledge to state legislators to help victims and strengthen laws.