Stopping Traffic

Published 10:31 pm Monday, March 9, 2009

It started with a shed.

Behind Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, there is a shed that houses some of the church’s equipment and programming materials.

Most people who look at the shed see it for the storage facility it is.

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Scott Asbell is not like most people.

When he looked at the shed, he saw a platform for change.

In July of last year, Asbell’s youth group attended Gold Rush, a Christian retreat targeted at senior high students.

In the midst of the weeklong retreat, students heard a presentation from the non-profit group PAST (People Against Slavery & Trafficking). The group presented some startling statistics about the existence of sex trafficking in the world today.

For example, the average age of a sex slave in the United States is just 14 years old, and the USA is one of the top three destinations that victims are brought to through human trafficking.

“I really started to look at it,” Asbell said. “It really broke my heart.”

The cause hit home for Asbell, who has a 14-year-old sister, Jennifer.

“Whenever I heard about it, I thought, that could be Jennifer,” Asbell said. “I couldn’t imagine Jennifer being sold into slavery. I couldn’t think about anyone’s sister going through that.”

When Asbell returned home from Gold Rush, he continued to research the problem. He watched documentaries, read countless articles online and found out more about PAST.

He knew he wanted to do something.

He also knew that shed was more than just a shed.

For months, Asbell had wanted to use the shed for a concert for his youth group, but the timing of the church’s calendar would not allow for such an event until the spring.

Asbell began talking to Matt Luchenbill, his youth pastor at WRPC, about how they could use the concert as a benefit for a deserving cause.

“It was like, ‘Oh, duh — sex trafficking.’ It’s such a huge problem and it’s so heart-breaking,” Asbell said.

From there, Asbell began the plans for “Stopping Traffic,” a concert set for Friday, March 27, with proceeds going to PAST.

“He ran with it,” Luchenbill said. “He just started strategizing and began putting together a team of more than 20 students. I’m not sure I’ve ever had somebody who has this much vision for one event.”

The concert will be from 7 to 11 p.m. at the WRPC shed. Tickets are $10 and available at the door. Three bands have confirmed for the show: Still The Storm, TRNS4MD and a D.C.-based band, Greywall. There also will be a Guitar Hero tournament set up before the concert, with the winner taking home a customized wireless guitar for Playstation 2.

The youth group hopes to raise $2,000 for PAST.

Asbell said he was not intimidated at the idea of pulling off a concert. A junior at Lakeland High School, he holds the highest GPA in his class. He is a captain of the school’s volleyball team and has held leadership roles in Young Life and in his youth group.

“He thinks as a leader,” Luchenbill said. “He’s got that gift of leadership. He’s good with people. He’s good with delegating. He just bleeds it. That’s the product of an investment from a variety of people. It’s from youth leaders and church leaders, his parents, his friends, combined with his own decisions, his own passions and desires and his love of God. It’s no one thing.”

Asbell agreed.

“I’ve done a lot because of a chain of events,” Asbell said. “I’ve started in Young Life doing group meetings, then Bible studies, then Matt (Luchenbill) saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to teach Sunday School with 60 students for 45 minutes.’ Then it was planning a winter retreat. It kept building. And my dad has always had my back and supported me.”

“I’ve pretty much figured out by now I can do whatever the heck I want to do,” Asbell said. “Now, it’s just a matter of what I want to do. And raising money for girls who have been raped, beaten and killed is what I want to do.”

For more information on Stopping Traffic, or to register for the Guitar Hero contest, visit