Last day in the office…😳

Actually, there are still a few days to go: A few hours Saturday editing my final Gateway sermon, and then a Sunday farewell service, and with that my pastoral duties at Gateway conclude. It feels weird. It also feels right.

I’ve been working part time for International Justice Mission since April. The role sharing between Gateway Church and IJM has gone as well as expected, but knowing I would eventually move into full-time work with IJM, it also felt like a progressive letting go. So now, as I spend my last day in the Gateway pastor’s office, I am settled and peaceful.

fullsizeoutput_2caf

I walked in this morning and Salila was looking at me: she always does this. She’s been in my office for about the last ten years. Her photograph was a gift from Austin K Graff, one time IJM Church mobilisation and social media wizard. Salila would always remind me that while I was free to do my work, millions of others weren’t. While I relaxed with my coffee there were children with no memory of ever playing, and only ever of slaving from 4am to 10pm in a brick kiln’s hell. While I slept peacefully and soundly, there were people of the other side of the world putting themselves in dangerous, life threatening situations in order to rescue others out of slavery and brutality.

Salila’s smile is evidence that freedom comes as the law is upheld. Her personal transformation reminds me that God is always at work to rescue from the fall, to end our chaos, to calm our fears, and to make things right again.

Wrv8SSrSTXOgcPhACy4wgw

The greatest reminder of this glorious work of God is Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection. His defeat of evil is the sole means IJM and their partners can undo the wickedness of violence and slavery. His is a glorious work of freedom: and when the Son sets you free, wow, you are really free!

So from next week, my sole work focus will be to introduce the people of Jesus to the people of Salila. I’ll be carrying the good news of Jesus through the God’s good people at IJM, and in the name of Jesus inviting the church into this grand endeavour to bring freedom in Jesus’ name.

And yes, there will be more to say about that…

 

 

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,

Dave