This Blog Was Written Last Week And Is Being Posted Now Due To The Internet (or lack-of) Situation
June 28th, 2011
Today we had the privilege of being invited into the Chennai headquarters of IJM (International Justice Mission). We had an excellent time of worship with the staff and then Nirup preached a brief message to the entire group. The message was very applicable to exactly what IJM’s mission is: rescue and restoration to those that are victims of slavery (forced labor, illegal detention, police brutality, sexual violence, sex trafficking, or illegal property seizure).
The Chennai office focuses on bonded labor, which is forced labor for long hours a day with little to no payment given for an entire family. We heard some stories about the process that the staff goes through when they are brought information regarding a potential issue regarding bonded labor. They were gracious enough to let us in on the details that are involved with each case they handle. We were informed specifically about a case this year (which made worldwide news and tomorrow will be on CNN) in which 520 people were rescued from a brick kiln. The stories they told were absolutely indescribable with words. The oppressive conditions that people are forced to work in, with little to no food to feed their families; all with the impression that they are working to pay off a debt which continues to climb by the owner’s choosing. These people believe that they are eventually going to be freed, which many times is not the case unless someone intervenes. Besides the rescue of these bonded laborers, the other important thing that IJM works at is making sure the owners are prosecuted legally.
They have lawyers who work on staff to study the Indian laws and prosecute the owners so they are unable to do the same thing again. They also have social workers on staff that then work with the laborers for 2 years following their rescue to make sure that they are able to make a smooth transition back into everyday life of freedom: through hygiene discussions, helping them get skills to get a decent job, etc. All of this is done by IJM with the foundation of Christ. They many times have to be secretive about their physical address of their headquarters and make sure security is alongside them wherever they go, but they do it because Christ has called us to help those that are less fortunate.
Christ wants justice brought to these people, and the staff (worldwide) at IJM is the vessel on this earth that brings justice to these heinous situations. It was a privilege and honor to be able to speak to this staff of people. Their hearts for God are evident through their work and their everyday lives. The rest of the day mainly involved shopping and then spending some time at the Home Of Love with the girls for a little bit, both of which were fun in their own ways. The one thing that I have consistently been learning throughout this trip so far is the idea of the Kingdom of God. Many times we surround ourselves with like-minded people with the same ethnicity and same worship styles, etc.
The thing that has opened my eyes while in India is that heaven will not be secluded like this. There will not be sections of people that like gospel worship, sections of people that are Indian, or sections of people who are white. We will ALL be worshiping God TOGETHER for eternity. That is why I think seeking justice, through organizations like IJM, and caring for the hungry, widowed and orphans is so extremely important!!
I praise God for opening my eyes to these things and I am excited to see what else He has to teach me the rest of the trip!!