“Where your passion meets the world’s great need, is where you’ll find your calling.” After hearing this quote in the early months of my freshman year, my mind and heart began yearning to meet my so-called “calling.” I began brain storming about some of my own passions: the great outdoors, healthy living, yoga, and the perfect combination of sweet and salty. While these are all completely valid interests, something tells me the world’s great need is not for another granola guru. So I began searching deeper: I love talking to people. I love listening to people. I love helping people. And most importantly, I love loving people, specifically those typically regarded as unlovable and unworthy. Once I had these truly heart-felt passions internalized, I began seeking for opportunities to execute them. Trying to find where and how my passion would meet the needs of the world, I figuratively knocked on a few doors, yet none of them fully opened for me. However, just recently it was like Someone opened up this door and welcomed me with a warm invitation.
This Christmas break, I attended what my friend called a “Christian revolutionary movement,” but more popularly known as PASSION. Passion is held in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia Dome. This year the total number of attendees reached nearly 45,000 plus the hundreds of thousands of viewers who streamed the conference live from the website. The central focus of the four-day spiritual conference was FREEDOM, specifically the freedom that is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Videos were shown of men and women who cannot even imagine what freedom tastes like. My heart was struck by the sickening reality of the grossly over-populated slave trade that is still in full swing today. There are more slaves today than any other time in history; more than the entire African Slave Trade—a shuttering surprise to me. More than 27 million men, women, and children are currently slaves to forced labor, trade, and sex. (Keep in mind the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to abolish slavery in its entirety). That means more than 27 million people are treated like property and carry no voice in this situation. Passion’s passion for putting an end to slavery has deeply resonated in my heart: so much that I think I may have found my calling—loving the loveless, speaking up for those who feel voiceless, and delivering hope to the hopeless, all in the victorious name of Jesus Christ.
Not by coincidence, I attended by first Cru (Campus Crusades) meeting the Thursday after returning back to UAB from Christmas break, and unbeknownst to me, Jasmine Crenshaw, the President of International Justice Mission, was speaking and recruiting members to join her leadership team. I learned about International Justice Mission at Passion; it’s an organization whose sole purpose is to advocate, raise awareness, and fund the resources to end human trafficking. Just recently an IJM campus chapter has been made official at UAB, filled with like-minded students who are dedicated and adamant about raising awareness of slavery and advocating the slaves right to freedom and justice. International Justice Mission has a Christian foundation, but is certainly not limited to such beliefs. The overall mission is to use our hands, raise our voices, and lift up our prayers for those who live their lives in the miserable darkness of slavery.
It doesn’t matter if and where you go to school, what religion you believe in, what your life history looks like, or where you plan on going in life; however, it’s absolutely vital to understand your hands are truly needed somewhere and your voice is just waiting to be heard. You have something special to give, whether you believe it or not, and for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world, it’s better to say something than to say nothing at all. All together, in unity and harmony, we will proclaim and demand what we have all said for years, “FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!”
IJM @ UAB Campus Chapter
Volunteer Involvement Coordinator