I’ve always loved fireworks. The big twinkling white weeping willow ones. They are my favorite every year. I also love a big smoke bomb, a sparkler and a good old fire cracker. I don’t even mind when my neighbors are shooting them starting in June! It reminds me of my grandparents and life on their farm; of family and warm summer evenings. Of wild uncles whose capacity for thrill and danger were bigger than anyone’s I’ve ever met. Fireworks also remind me of the freedoms that I enjoy having been born in America. It’s beautiful. It’s dangerous, and it’s awe inducing.
The Fourth of July is a time of reflection and appreciation of our freedom in this country. For me, it’s also a time where I consider what it would be like if I wasn’t born in the United States. If I was a girl, born in India, I could have been sold into a brothel and forced into prostitution. Or a boy, born in Ghana and held in slavery and forced to work on boats. It’s never easy to consider the “what if’s” or the “why me.” In fact, it’s so much easier to turn away from these kind of thoughts and just focus on the fireworks, food and fun.
But Jesus compels me not to. He reminds me that because he loves ALL of us, those of who can do something to change the world, should indeed, change the world. I truly believe that there could come a day when those girls in India and those boys in Ghana get to see a firework and be reminded that they are indeed free and that Jesus loves them.
Some of the best ways to do this, from our homes in Minnesota is to partner with others who are close to this type of work/mission. I choose to pray for and financially support International Justice Mission and their work across the world. IJM is also one of Crossroads Missions Partners. On a local level, one of my friends volunteers with Breaking Free which works with victims and survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution. You can also purchase items or host a party through organizations like Global Avenue Ministries helps support women at risk by providing sustainable income for them. There are so many ways to get involved!
If you’re looking for a place to start or want to learn more, I’d encourage you to pick up the book“The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence” by Gary Haugen or watch the movie Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. (These are both recommendations for adults.)
My prayer this weekend is that we all celebrate and enjoy our freedom. And that those who are not free encounter Jesus and rescue soon.
Let’s go change the world!
Director of Missions and Care
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13