You read about people in slavery. And it touches you.
You learn more, watch a few You Tube videos and even pass them on so others can see. Then you meet people who do something about it. And you’re inspired.
You get invited on a trip to see the work firsthand. You go, and you realize, "I can DO something, I mean, I can make a difference." And there’s no turning back. Because now you know that you’re not off the hook. All of a sudden, you can’t pretend, or just sit at home and feel bad for people in slavery and pray when you feel like it and that’s it. You may even give some money now and then and feel good for a moment, but once God stirs your heart and you know that it is time to rise up and do something, you can’t go back.
That’s what happened to me.
I like travelling. I like seeing new places, new faces, and having new experiences. I feel alive. So now I want to go to places where I get inspired. Where God is at work. So I got to go to Guatemala.
A pinning ceremony. A room full of people, adults mostly, and 13 kids in the front. The kids are the guests of honour. They are the heroes, the heroines. They got abused and hurt and discarded, but they are there-- because someone cared and someone took action. A group of people came around them, and they listened, they loved, they found the ones that hurt them and brought them to justice. And now the kids are in that room full of people. Girls and boys, with sweet, innocent faces, and some are so very young and you just couldn't imagine...
The director gives a fine speech and the kids feel special and that is what we want. We want them to feel special and loved and important because that is what they are. They are brave, they showed grit and courage because they had to tell their story again and sometimes again because those who want to help need to hear it. The kids are terrified and hurt all over again but they did it and they are brave, so very courageous and we are so proud of them.
I get to put a pin on a special girl that says, "You Are A Heroine". And others put pins on the other kids and over and over we get to say, "You Are A Hero", "You Are A Heroine". Because that is what they are. Brave. Heroes. At the end we don’t have many words, but we clap and rejoice and embrace, and we see God’s blessing. The tears flow freely along with our smiles. Our hearts are full and we know the long and hard work for those kids is not in vain.
And as we leave, we understand that we have seen not only a glimpse of God’s glory and His healing hand, but also His justice. And we are in awe.
That’s what happened in Guatemala City. And it is happening in many places all over the world.
Join us in pursuing justice for the poor and the vulnerable.
You are not off the hook. No one is.
My name is Annette Mancuso and I live with my husband and 2 fantastic teenagers in Calgary, AB. We were introduced to IJM about four years ago and never looked back. I prayed for years to become passionate about ‘something’ and social justice was God’s answer to that prayer. My field visits to Uganda, Rwanda and Guatemala have been inspiring and have fuelled my passion for the poor and vulnerable.