Written by Sherry
Thursday, 15 March 2007 06:47
I've been meaning to blog about this group for some time: Talk about lay apostles!
It's the International Justice Mission. They are an ecumenical group of Christian human rights professionals who rescue victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery, and oppression. IMJ was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen. As a lawyer for the US Department of Justice, Haugen was loaned to the UN to direct their investigation into the Rwandan genocide. The atrocities he witnesses prompted him to found IMJ.
Watch this. It is a talk that a young woman, an IMJ lawyer (and Jewish convert to Christianity), gave at last December's mammoth Urbana gathering (the world's largest missions conference - 22,000 Christian students exploring their future in all kinds of faith-related ministry or work and yes, there are many Catholic students among them.).
She tells the story of a Christian teenager who was tricked into sexual slavery and was rescued by IMJ. She begged God to be rescued before her one year anniversary in sexual slavery. When the IMJ team entered her room at the brothell, they found that that she had written
Psalm 27: 1 -3 on the wall. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
Last year, I received a letter from a newly retired pharmicist who, as a result of going through the Called & Gifted discernment process, is now in Tanzania, training local care-givers to administer AIDS medications. Without this training in the only medical school in the country, the World Health Organization won't give the AIDS meds. As I read her letter, it dawned upon me that this woman's obedience could change the lives of a whole generation and the course of a whole nation. When I told her story in a women's small group in my parish, one woman said in amazement: "She's like Esther, who knows but what she was raised up for such a time as this!"
I often think "who knows but what she (or he) was raised up for such a time as this!" as I travel about the country, teaching lay Catholics (and other Christians who come) how to discern how God has called and gifted them for the sake of others. I thought of it again as I watched the video above. Sometimes I hear it said to me in my weakest and most discouraged moments.
Right now, there is someone out there who is waiting for what you have been given to give. And their life hangs in the balance. You may not know them yet. They may not even have been born yet. But in God's Providence, you are the one. You are the one who has been raised up by God for exactly such a time as this. For such a person as this.
It is time to take your place.