May I tell you about a really incredible way I'm learning to impact the world for Christ? Please indulge me.
Our church, Solid Ground Christian Fellowship in Redlands, Ca, has been discussing the International Justice Mission for the last few weeks and will continue until Easter. It is an awesome organization. IJM is committed to working with local police and prosecutors all over the world to stop oppression and slavery using the legal system already in place. Did you know that there are more people in slavery right now, than in all the years of American slavery? I didn't know that, but it is true.
Children who are poor sometimes have to be sold into slavery to pay a family debt, and are charged incredible interest so that they will never be free. And these are not just kids who are working to help the family. They are beaten if they don't meet quotas, and put in very dangerous work conditions for sometimes 18 hours per day. Women and young girls, are lied to, brought to brothels and beaten or starved into forced prostitution. Often they are told their families will be killed if they escape. These are more than sad stories. It is the real way of life for way too many, right now. The friends and families of these people are powerless to do anything about it. But we aren't. IJM, and other groups like them, use quality people, educated in their fields, and resources from Christians like us, to free these people, and put in jail the oppressors. They also provide those freed with after care and share the gospel with them.
Our youth group and our small groups are finding creative was to raise funds to help. Prior to studying this I really knew very little about current day slavery, and felt like it was just so far away, what could anyone really do. But after these last few weeks, hearing real stories and praying, it is so clear that I have resources and a desire to do something.
In one of the videos a young American who was in India seeing first had the bonded slavery of children was saying to himself, "Why hasn't anyone done something about this? Why haven't our parents already fixed this," and then he said that he realized, "It's us, we are supposed to do something about it."
It is so cool because the youth, and many adults, have begun to see that we are God's plan to saving these people and we want to act. About $500 covers the fees to free a child from bonded slavery, and about $1000 frees a girl from forced protitution. One of my friends in our small group said something that has stuck with me. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, "We spend so much time looking at our own sin, and how we need to change, but, we are ignoring the sin around us." We think God is calling us to an opportunity, and we don't want to miss it.
Will you join us? Who do you know that could influence more Christians to act? Could you let them know about what is happening? Could you tell anyone? Would you like to do a study to learn what is happening around the world and what you could do about it?
Pray about it. Go ahead right now. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could actually stop current day slavery in our lifetime? I learned also from my friend that when you offer God the little you have (remember the fish and loaves of bread story) he does abounding more with it.
Check out the International Justice Mission website www.ijm.org