Famous Latter-day Saints

LDS Dad and Former CIA Agent: "God Can Make the Limited Time I Have with My Kids Feel Like More"


Timothy Ballard didn't want to work in human trafficking. As a CIA agent, he'd been trained to fight terrorism. But then his boss requested that he help form a child crimes unit. Tim refused. “I told him no,” he recalls. “It’s the one thing I wouldn’t do. It’s the worst possible thing anyone can see. Who knows how that would affect you?”

It wasn't until later, after speaking with his boss, his wife, and most importantly the Lord that Ballard felt this was his calling in life.

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As a government agent, Ballard could only work cases if a U.S. citizen was involved. Ballard’s frustration grew unbearable as he infiltrated child trafficking rings only to be forced to leave innocent victims behind. But one day, in the temple, he received powerful inspiration—"Save the lost children."

That led Ballard to create his own nonprofit organization, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R), which rescues children from a life of sexual slavery.

Ballard describes this revelation as something "awesome and scary." While he felt compelled to rescue children who were abused on a regular basis, he was afraid how this decision might impact his family.

"I prayed about it and had very powerful witnesses, spiritual witnesses that I was supposed to do this," he says. Even then, Ballard told his wife that he couldn't put himself and his family through such turmoil. But her response changed everything. "She knew about what we had received; she had received the same witness, and she grabbed me by the collar and said, 'I will not let you jeopardize my salvation by not doing this.'"

Though it was not a calling he sought or wanted, Ballard regardless feels called to this work. But it doesn't come without a price.

In this beautiful video, Ballard explains a moment he was talking with his son after missing a big game, one all the other fathers attended. His son mentioned a moment his friend embraced his dad. Then Ballard's son said, "Man, it looked like they were best friends. I wonder what it would be like to be best friends with your dad."

After that statement, Ballard says, "My heart just broke."

While praying about how he could better balance his work with O.U.R. and his family life, Ballard received an overwhelming feeling that said, "Tim don't worry. I got this. . . . I can make it so that when you are with your kids, that two hours I can turn that into 10 hours of quality time."

Ballard suddenly realized that the Atonement could apply to his family, helping him as a father. "If you are trying to align your will with the Lord's, He can and He will . . . miraculously fill in the rest," Ballard says.

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