What’s Working: The Christian ministry Hard Places

CLINTON, Miss. (WJTV) — Hard Places is a Christian ministry that’s working to end sex trafficking in Cambodia. After a mission trip, some Mississippians came up with a plan to help Hard Places achieve that goal with thick fabric, double stitching, heavy buttons.

Davis Winstead owns a small, classic men’s clothing store in Clinton. Most of his apparel is made in America, but there are a few dozen dress shirts, that got their start on the other side of the globe. Hinds Community College fashion student Sara Beth Pardue designed them, during a mission trip to Cambodia.

“They used real men as models, not just little skinny guys,” he said.

Cambodian tailors took it from there. Winstead’s first order was for 51 shirts.

“I’ve sold 12 of them, and yes, some of them are a little fashion forward for a middle age old man, and some of them are a little more conservative. I’ve had this one at the cleaners twice, and it’s held up just tremendously, and it wears very well,” he said.

Getting a great shirt is only the half of it. A healthy portion of shirt sales go right back to Cambodia, where Hard Places ministry uses it to help children.

John Goolsby has been on mission trips to Cambodia.

“The situation that these kids are growing up in, they’re in a position that they’re exploited. They’re used in some ways for profit. It’s just really disturbing,” Goolsby said.

Hard Places provides a place where children can safely spend their day. Kids are fed, clothed and taught. A little money goes a long way.

“Just to give you an idea, $200 is the amount that a staff position would be paid for one whole month, and so, we’ve already, through the beginning of the shirt sales provided two positions already a month salary,” Goolsby.

The shirts aren’t cheap, but they’re not expensive either, and the quality as good as any you’ll find.

“To have a local person that’s designed the shirts, being able to be sold in Clinton, and a portion of the proceeds are going halfway around the world that are on the streets of Cambodia,” said Goolsby.

That’s a design for looking good and feeling great about it.

Models for the shirts were all real Mississippians, and they go all the way up to XXL.

Hard Places also employs investigators who look into the crimes against children, and report their findings to the authorities.

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