Overwhelmed: For a People Group

BELOW IS A BLOG THAT I WROTE ABOUT 4 MONTHS BEFORE THE IDEA FOR 72 MILES FOR FREEDOM WAS FULLY DEVELOPED AND INSPIRED! Thank you Passion Conference for inspiration and for the vision to raise awareness and money for Freedom again in January 2013.

Jan. 16, 2012

I sat down to write about the overwhelming idea of trying to help defeat the darkness of modern-day slavery; but, because my blog is out of date my spirit had more to say than most would like to read in one sitting.  Therefore, the following post has now become part 2 of 2 parts.  Read Part 1 Here.

Part 2: Overwhelmed for a people group

The people group I am referring to today are the modern-day slaves.  It is estimated that there are more slaves today than in any other time in history.  An overwhelming number estimated at 27 million!  Months ago I heard that my church was going to bring the cause to the thousands of college students that would be attending the Passion 2012 conference.  Pastor Louie Giglio has told us many times that years ago Passion Conferences decided that they would not have a large conference without putting a cause for global missions in front of the students.  In January 2011 the conference raised money and awareness for 6 causes that covered freedom from slavery, to providing Bibles in the jungles, to providing surgeries for kids in Africa.  However, in 2012 the Do Something Now campaign wanted to focus all its efforts on freedom from slavery.  The goal was for the students to provide $1 million during the four day conference.  At the end of the week Passion had a celebration of freedom by having all 42,000 of the students light a candle in prayer for the 27 million that are forced to work in slavery.  I was able to attend this celebration and was very moved to see the white flags of surrender above my head with a giant hand representing freedom.

As we waited for over an hour for all the people to file into the International Plaza many songs of being the Light of the world were being sung.  Such as the new song to be released in march 2012 with the words, “We’ll be a city on a hill shining brightly…”  Then at midnight the moment we had been waiting for came.  The giant freedom hand was lite up and thousands began cheering and chanting “freedom, freedom.”  Video link below from CNN.

In that moment  I felt that I could really “do something now” about slavery.  We had thousands of eager students and millions of dollars raised on behalf of freedom in Jesus name.  By the end of the conference the students had raised 2.5 million dollars!  Plus another $500,000 was donated from one anonymous donor to put the giving at 3 million!  Already, the first $1 million has been sent to the various agencies to prevent, rescue, and restore modern-day slaves.  At the conference Christine Caine said it is only in the name of Jesus that freedom truly comes to people.

So today on this Martin Luther King Day I sit here in my comfortable home on my computer that according to some may have been built by slaves and I write about the overwhelming idea of trying to help defeat the darkness of modern-day slavery.  Where do you begin when you are overwhelmed with the knowledge of the abuse that is taking place around the world?  When I talk with my co-workers they just look at me like all of us at the conference are wasting our time and efforts to stop slavery for 27 million people.  The number is so large that many say why bother? As I have said in part 1 of this post, my eyes, ears, and mind cannot fathom where to begin.  So I begin where I had to begin when I was “Personally Overwhelmed” with finances and direction.  I begin with

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”                      1 Corinthians 2:9

Excerpt from Part 1: Personally Overwhelmed

My eyes, ears and mind were perplexed at what just happened, but I had a promise from God that superseded my thoughts and it started with “However” or “Nevertheless.”   My eyes could not see the paycheck… all I saw was the newspaper… “however”    My ears could not hear the good news… all I heard was silence… “however”  My mind was definitely about to shut down and panic… “however, nevertheless, in spite of all of that, yet, notwithstanding, at any rate… GOD HAS PREPARED!”    And let me tell you this today.  God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you!!!

After we have tried to imagine what kind of abuse 27 million slaves have endured today, after we have tried to figure out a plan to bring an end to the injustice, after we have tried to calculate how much money it will cost we must get back to God’s promise of “However, Nevertheless.”  We must wave our white flag of surrender to God and say, “we give up, our eyes cannot see it, our ears cannot hear it, and our minds cannot conceive how to bring freedom to millions.”  Only God can prepare us to fight for freedom in Jesus name!

Let me ask you this.  If you are a follower of Christ could you have imagined that the God of the universe would be willing to rescue you from the darkness you were in?  Salvation is a miracle! Salvation is a rescue! Salvation is freedom!  If the miracle of salvation can come to you by the grace of God, why does it seem impossible to see 27 million slaves freed?

This reminds me of a time when I was serving full-time with AmeriCorps at a large homeless shelter in Atlanta.  When our team first walked up to the shelter all we could see was a mass of hundreds of men who were homeless, dirty, and many times hopeless.  How in the world could we help all of them?

Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, just feed one.”

And one of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
We have to focus on the ones that God has given us today!  One at a time, step by step we can make a change for freedom.  I hope you feel overwhelmed with the number of 27,000,000 that I keep referring to because it is in being overwhelmed that we realize that only God can free the captive.  The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!”  Some of you reading this may have a chance to free a freight container full of slaves in a sting operation.  Some of you may reach out to politicians, co-workers, corporations etc.  But, many of us will have the chance to prevent or free one slave in Jesus name!
Seriously, don’t worry about the millions today.  Worry about the one.  Is there one thing you can do today or this week to spread freedom?  Is it giving money to organizations  or is it going on a missions trip that you can serve in?  Or is it educating your children and family about modern-day slavery?
When our team first arrived at the shelter we were overwhelmed by the hundreds we saw that were homeless.  The shelter had over 400 beds at the time and some cold nights there were up to 1,000 sleeping there.  We were there not in the name of Jesus, but just in the name of justice and as a government organization.  Because we were a government organization my boss had to keep track of how many homeless people we served each week.  A team of 13 people serving in 5 or 6 different agencies across Georgia for 10 months.  Over the 10 months we had learned to focus on the ONE who was in front of us to the best of our ability.  Our final week of the 10 months of service came and our director read out the numbers of the ONE’S we were able to serve.  None of us could believe it.  Because we had collectively served thousands!!  We got to see people one by one come out of homelessness and into a furnished home or a job or reconnected with families.  Our team was inspired from that day forward to focus on the one and not the millions!
I am not sure how you the reader will respond to this information.  You may want to learn more about modern-day slavery.  Or you may become so overwhelmed about what to do that you choose to do nothing now.  I pray that you will surrender your thoughts and ask God to speak life into your heart and to overwhelm you with his love for ONE.  One person, one organization, one nation, one mission, and most importantly with the One Savior.
Many have said it and I will say it again, “We can’t do everything, but we can do something.”

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