Stand For Freedom – Cockburn Central Event

Rob Finestone Photography

Rob Finestone Photography

Stand4Freedom is a multisite event all around the world during April 6 – 12. Standing for 24 hours in one location is a unique way to raise awareness about modern day slavery.

Rob Finestone photography

Rob Finestone photography

According to the Global Slavery Index there are an estimated 36 million slaves in the world today. Other estimates have the figure at nearly double that amount

Rob Finestone Photography

Rob Finestone Photography

We joined the IJM Australia Stand For Freedom effort for two reasons. One was that very few people are aware that slavery is still an issue in our world.

Matt and Tereza stopped by and signed the petition

Matt and Tereza stopped by and signed the petition

The other is that as people serious about the Gospel of Jesus we can’t just sit back and let that situation slide. Every Christian, every church, every community of Christ followers should be worried by the sheer prevalence of violence, human trafficking, and slavery that exists in our world. In many cases, these horrific incidences of slavery exist in contexts where the Christian church has a distinct presence.

Sarah and Shelly - total legends

Sarah and Shelly – total legends

It could be that standing in our safe and secure suburbia might not change the experience of many of those 36 million slaves.

But one thing is for sure: all the people we chatted with during the 24 hours, the nearly 100 people who signed the Locust Effect Petition, and even all those people who just drove past really slow and read the signage – all of them now know something more.

Monday morning crew at Cockburn Central

Monday morning crew at Cockburn Central

And somewhere down the track, maybe even on the Day of Days, when we all stand before the Christ who bought our freedom, none of us will be able to say that we didn’t know.

Jase & Jules - huge commitment from these two!

Jase & Jules – huge commitment from these two!

Way to go IJM Australia! Way to go Gateway Community Church #Stand4Freedom team!

Cockburn Central Town Centre - our home for 24 hours

Cockburn Central Town Centre – our home for 24 hours

Thanks for showing your support and your care for the people who, at least at present, have no chance of reading this blog.

Grace and peace,


Our Eyes Need To Be Opened

How many of us have made the connection between the various forms of violence and the seemingly intractable poverty of the developing world?

I didn’t have a clue     ….until I read The Locust Effect.

Michael Choi’s comment on my last post reminded me that like many people, I just did not think about the causes of poverty, or the forces that were actually keeping people poor in the developing world. And yet:

  • My family sponsors a number of children through Compassion Australia. This wonderful program creates connections between supporters like us and the kids we sponsor. Right now, there are a few letters on our kitchen bench we can respond to. But here’s the thing: I had never seriously pondered the situation of the communities these children live in (Haiti and India), or that predatory coercive violence could be so pervasive in communities like these. I just didn’t think about it

I just didn’t think about it …

  • Our church family, the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia, have special appeals for humanitarian aid. I had never considered that in several of these countries there are factors at work, evil things really, that are responsible for perpetuating poverty and oppression. What our church and others do is wonderful work, and I am not suggesting anything other. But what will all our aid and good will do if we do not address the plague that lies at the heart of many of these communities? Seriously, I had never considered that question. But hardly a day goes by now when it does settle uncomfortably somewhere in my consciousness
  • On my office desk, I have the smiling photograph of a young woman who was conned with the promise of a better life. The train she was placed on went to a different city than the one she thought she was travelling to. When she arrived, her traffickers snatched her away and threw her into a brothel. She is smiling now because IJM rescued her and then prosecuted those who so violently abused her. Even here, I knew the story, but I was not aware how pervasive violent acts like these were. I thought it was a near one off case. I was a universe away from reality. Fact: There are millions of young girls and women in similar situations every day all over the world. In the video below there is a story of yet another young girl: watch and consider the fear that must weigh on developing world communities.

There’s also an eye opening fact sheet to draw you into what ‘everyday’ means for the poor of the developing world. Read 5 Stunning Facts About Violence on The Locust Effect’s excellent website

We are not in their world. We don’t know. And most of the time, we don’t even know how to begin to know, or feel, or act. When the questions don’t occur to us, how will we ever want to seek answers?

So the global poor have no one to advocate for them because we’re so blindingly ignorant of their desperate plight.

This is why we need to know. This is why our eyes need to be opened.

So, watch the video. Read the facts.

Then consider:

  • How does this impact me? What does it get me thinking about?
  • What could I be doing differently in response?
  • Do you think church communities in more wealthy nations need to change they way they do overseas mission and aid in response to these issues?