Slavery in America: A Conversation with International Justice Mission

In honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, this is a repost of an interview held with International Justice MIssion staff member Lauren Johnson in early 2010. IJM currently is one of the world leaders in combatting slavery today. 


Last month I visited the International Justice Mission headquarters, not far from the Pentagon and just outside our nation’s capitol.  It was a beautiful day. The air was crisp and cool and the ground layered with the remnants of the recent snow storm.

Inside IJM headquarters - aka HQ -, you’ll find a quant, but inspirational photo gallery. The walls are lined with telling photographs of beautiful people who are part of IJM’s work abroad. Each face on each photo tells a different story of survival, of redemption and of justice at work.

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Made for Another World

Another mass shooting has occurred, unleashing unspeakable grief on the victims’ families, profound sadness for the rest of us, confusion and anger for our nation. Frustration, too. Why does this keep happening? There’s a quick answer, at least for Christians, though it’s not very emotionally satisfying: broken humanity, immersed in wickedness, does bad stuff. C.S. Lewis, in his classic book The Problem of Pain, makes this point when he writes,

When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men. It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.
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Jesus met me at Starbucks this morning

Originally posted 3 years ago, here is a Christmas season repeat of hope, justice, Jesus and latte's. 


I broke routine this morning. I interrupted my morning commute to work with a pit stop at Starbucks and a book in hand. It’s been a very long time since I have sat and read over a latte and to my surprise, Jesus was there.  


I ordered a sinful Caramel Brulee Latte and took a seat along the perimeter so that I could watch the subtle rain drops collide with the ground outside. I opened my book in hand, Just Courage by Gary Haugen and reached for my latte. But before I could take in my first sip of that delightful little beverage, I was met by Jesus who had appeared somehow on my Christmas themed cup.

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Giving Christmas Away

I cannot believe this Friday is Black Friday! Can you? This is an old post from a couple years ago that I thought I'd share again. I added a new option for gifts below and am wondering what you might add to the list.

Black Friday has begun and the flood gates of Christmas shopping are open. Last Christmas, I remember my husband and I walking through Target looking for “the perfect gifts” for our family members. We walked in, looked around for a bit and walked out empty handed.  Every year it seems like a struggle to find gifts that fit for the people we care about. Companies compete with one another by conveying messages of all of the things that our friends and family NEED this season. Commercials bombard our homes with elves busy at Sears, singing BestBuy employees and Old Navy manikins wearing the latest Christmas sweaters.

Before you get cut off in parking lots this Black Friday or wander the isles of Target in search of the perfect gift, I thought I’d offer some suggestions on ways to give, yet in a more less traditional way.

We all want to give. We were created with that desire. We were made by the hands that designed the very nature of giving. When we understand this awesome truth it becomes inevitable that we give. Who better to explain this than singing vegetables wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.

If you’ve had enough with crowded parking lots and lines, consider this Christmas season the gift of hope, freedom, food, a new start or empowerment. Giving breeds giving. Here are a few places where you can do just that.

Heifer International – Gifts of animals for breeding, farming, food purposes
IJM – Purchase a freedom package for individuals upon their rescue from slavery
Gospel for Asia – Gifts for outreach, missionaries, compassion gifts and much more
Samaritan’s Purse – Gifts for children around the world

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A Story of Forgiveness

Earlier this week I read an article on CNN's belief blog that threw me into a stewing pot of thoughts. At the core is one simple word that seems so complex to live out, even in the shallowest of circumstances.


Celebrity Portrait Photographer Jeremy Cowart set out on a mission with filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson (As We Forgive) to produce a photo series project called "Voices of Reconciliation." Cowart and Hinson went to Rwanda. They wanted to give Rwandans the opportunity to make their own statements to the world about the 1994 mass killings and uprooting that took place in their backyards.

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America and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

It’s no secret that journalism thrives on nasty bacteria more than life-giving oxygen. But this week’s relentless coverage of Very Bad People is making me want to wash my hands every five minutes. 

Kim Kardashian’s faux-marriage reminds me that, at least in Celebrity-America, marriage equals marketing. Justin Bieber and Herman Cain, whom I would never place in the same sentence at any other time in history, both face sordid charges of power-groping. Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson’s unprincipled physician and convict-of-the-week) showed us all that the Hippocratic Oath means about as much as Kardashian’s Oath.  And finally, the entire Penn State football program appears ready to implode over horrific charges of a pedophilia cover-up.

Just when I’m about to take up drinking, I realize that these are only the national stories. My hometown (and yours) has little celebrity symbolism but all of the same stories: the trivialization of marriage, the misuse of power, the abuse of innocent children. The two-dimensional news stories have real people behind them--people whose sins infect the entire world. 

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Ray of Hope: Suhana's Story

The International Justice Mission has released a new short film in which, Suhana, a young human trafficking victim in India, has transformed into a survivor of the slave trade; not once, but twice. This is her miracle:


Why now? Why hope? Why colors? Why art?

I just returned from an inspiring afternoon with a few hundred people, interacting around the topics of the gospel and social justice, and I wanted to take a moment and share why I'm so passionate about this topic, and hence the book I've just written.  My hope and prayer is that this new book finds its way into many hands because I believe that millions are floundering in their faith, or on the sidelines, or simply having the wrong conversations because they've not yet truly grasped the significance of the incredible life to which we're called in Christ.

The book, as many of you already know, is called The Colors of Hope.  You can read a free chapter here.  You can join a Facebook discussion here.  But before you do any of that, I thought answering a few questions would be a helpful:

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Learning to Hope

I am cautious with my heart, not by nature but through experience. Yet Trust has been a recurring call in my journey with Christ – trust, and pain, and hope.

The first call I heard from the Lord was: Trust Me to make you whole. I had accepted Christ as my Savior, but I was anything but whole. I didn’t know how healing could happen; I could not imagine any world in which I did not carry this pain with me. Persistently and gently, though, the Lord called to me: Trust Me to heal you. Like the woman who reached out to touch merely the hem of Jesus’ robe, I hardly dared ask for His attention – and He turned and gave me the fullness of His healing grace. Even now, I am staggered by the power and grace with which Christ worked in the dark places of my heart.

The second time I heard that call was in the context of writing my book and – even more so – doing publicity interviews this past summer.

I am a Human Being

There is a lot of crap in the world today, no doubt about it. Sin is everywhere and people are hurting. There is no denying it. Tonight I gave a presentation on Human Trafficking to some cool local college students. As they discovered, this issue is dark. The only hope I see in it all, is the light of Christ which reveals itself in those who know Christ on the personal level. As Moses' face radiated after seeing God, so do Christ's followers radiate light where there is darkness. This video is what light looks like when shone over the dark. I am a human being. I am loved. I am a work of art. I am precious. I am created with purpose. I am no different than any other person God has created. Here is a man who gets what it means to be a created human being and live with purpose. It's awesome really what one person can do. This guy could be you. 

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