Photo courtesy of Kevin Austin
Experts have updated the estimated number of slaves in the world today to 36 million (fmchr.ch/wpslaves). Compelling evidence suggests there are more slaves in the United States today than during the time of the Civil War. These slaves are held by violence and are unable to walk away from their captivity. They pick our food, manufacture clothing and gadgets, and sell their bodies. Slavery is in our cupboards, closets and neighborhoods. It thrives in our cities and in every country.
But we are not powerless in the face of great evil. We are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2: 9). We live in the power of the resurrection and are led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus has set us free; now we help others live in this freedom. We are a movement of hope.
You are invited to participate in two significant freedom events that foster hopeful alternatives to the evil of modern slavery:
On Feb. 22, we celebrate God’s gift of freedom within the appropriate framework of worship. When Moses challenged Pharaoh to set the captives free, Moses pointed to worship. People are not made for oppression, but for worship. So on Freedom Sunday, we raise our hands and our voices, amplifying the cries of the oppressed, seeking grace and forgiveness, proclaiming freedom for the captives. Centering our work on Jesus, we pray, work and fund the work of freedom forward.
Worship is the catalyst for action.
This year’s Freedom Sunday offering will be used to tangibly and effectively combat modern slavery through supporting these projects: (1) Eden’s Glory, a two-year residential treatment program in Illinois for women who have survived human trafficking, providing them the individualized care and support to begin healing; (2) Transformers — an International Child Care Ministries project at the Kamuning Free Methodist Church in Quezon City, Philippines — which seeks to prevent children from being trafficked by holistically meeting the real needs of vulnerable and oppressed street children while helping them to be all they can be in Jesus; (3) Assessment Center for Child Trafficking Survivors, a collaborative project in Manila, Philippines, through which World Hope International, International Justice Mission, the Set Free Movement and others seek to combat child trafficking, which fuels Internet pornography.
Over the past five years, Freedom Sunday has helped set captives free in India, Greece, Thailand, Colombia, the Philippines and the U.S. This year, we will focus on helping U.S. women who seek healing and hope, and oppressed children in the Philippines who need our help. These three projects will powerfully combat evil and offer hope in Jesus’ name.
Go to fmcusa.org/freedomsunday for more information.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Austin
Justice is the work of community. With engaged discipleship, we partner with others to not only end modern slavery, but to create new futures as well. Join our community of justice seekers at the Freedom Summit to find out how we do this.
Eugene Cho of One Day’s Wages, Jim Martin of International Justice Mission and Danielle Strickland of the Salvation Army are just some of our keynote speakers who will lead us into deeper thinking about meaningful engagement. Lynnette Grey Bull will share about how she intervenes on reservations to help end modern slavery among Native Americans. We also have an incredible panel of experts who will lead workshops to inspire us to be and do more. Rend Collective, Charlie Hall and RemedyDrive will help us worship in the direction of freedom and celebrate the hope of being on mission with God.
Join us July 10 and 11 in Orlando before General Conference 2015. Go to freedomsummit15.com for more information.
Kevin Austin is the director of the Set Free Movement (setfreemovement.com).0