Monday, September 1, 2008

"The Lord is Full of Compassion and Mercy."

The book of James tells us that "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." This has been my "theme" verse for a long time now when it comes to the nature of social justice issues. As many of you know, I have been heavily involved in causes that require our attention, talents, and prayers. Social Justice Ministry at Biola has just skyrocketed since last year with the stirring of the Spirit in many lives to step up and turn their focus towards people in need. SJM was even featured in Biola's yearly publication of "The Point Magazine"! It was quite an honor to be a part of that. 




My interview came later in the article, but you can't read it very well on the jpeg, so I left it out of this blogpost. 

Before I was a Christian, I really didn't care about anyone but myself. But when I finally tasted the grace of God, a love for other people just flowed within me. When I began realizing what was happening in the world around me (ie. The genocide in Darfur, the recent genocide in Rwanda, Human Trafficking, the kidnapping of children in Uganda and the organization Invisible Children...etc...) my eyes were opened and God had begun to give me a unique calling to have passionate feelings about all of these things. The Lord is so full of compassion and mercy towards these causes, and I believe that I am called to have the same compassion and mercy towards these people in need of justice. 

My friend John Krutsinger (though he never reads my blog...) was a huge influence in my life in concern of these issues and the church coming together. He made me realize the importance of the body of Christ being involved in these things on a very intimate level. I was recently inspired by an article written by a man named Ray Mayhew; an article which I would recommend for every single Christian to read. I was so inspired that I wrote an article for "The Chimes" (Biola's newspaper), which received a fare amount of response. Both of these articles really focus in on the issue of world hunger, but I was mostly touched by the fact that the church (universally) has the resources to help waaay more than we actually do. Organizations which represent Christ should make one of their priorities to help with these certain, so-called, justice issues. Period. 

So, in view of this, I want to highlight an organization that is dear to my heart, in hopes that you will research the company a bit more, and become enlightened in what steps you can begin to take to help ease the pain of injustice in our world today. 

The following has been taken from IJM.org:

"International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.

IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.

Founded in 1997, IJM began operations in response to a massive need. Historically, humanitarian and missions organizations worked faithfully and courageously to bring healthcare, education, food and other vital services to those who needed them. But little had been done to actually restrain the oppressors who are a source of great harm to the vulnerable.

Concerned by this need, a group of lawyers, human rights professionals and public officials launched an extensive study of the injustices witnessed by overseas missionaries and relief and development workers. This study, surveying more than 65 organizations and representing 40,000 overseas workers, uncovered a nearly unanimous awareness of abuses of power by police and other authorities in the communities where they served. Without the resources or expertise to confront the abuse and to bring rescue to the victims, these overseas workers required the assistance of trained public justice professionals.

Through individual casework, IJM confronts aggressive human violence: violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery.

In the tradition of abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM’s work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

IJM seeks to restore to victims of oppression the things that God intends for them: their lives, their liberty, their dignity, the fruits of their labor. By defending and protecting individual human rights, IJM seeks to engender hope and transformation for those it serves and restore a witness of courage in places of oppressive violence. IJM helps victims of oppression regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or gender."

There are some great non-profit organizations out there that you should be aware of. Hopefully in the next coming months I will be able to introduce you to "Food for the Hungry" and "Blood Water Mission". 

I hope you take some time and visit ijm's website to read more about the work they are doing. And if you have a lot of time, pick up one of Gary Haugen's (president of IJM) books...they are awesome!

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