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Last week we sent off checks totaling over $73,000 to International Justice Mission! I couldn’t have been more proud of this community or more grateful for the continued work of God through your faithfulness. I have been a fan of IJM for several years now, ever since a Summit partner introduced me to the organization and the writings of IJM’s founder, Gary Haugen. It has been a joy to increase our allocation of missions giving to support the fight for justice for those who are most vulnerable to abuse.

I have always had a very strong sense of justice and feel deeply the effects of injustice on others. I remember when I was 14, riding in the car with my mom (probably headed home from school), and we drove by a group of kids around my age who were circled around someone huddled in the snow. They were taking turns kicking and punching him. It was a jarring scene, and my response was instantaneous and unthinking. I jumped out of the car and hurled my lanky Puddleglum-esque, 135-pound frame toward the fray. (If you don’t know who Puddleglum is, then read the Chronicles of Narnia. I read them about once a year, and he is among my favorite characters.)

As I look back at that impulse, I realize that God has wired me to react very strongly toward injustice. It is a core motivation for me. I also realize that the worst injustices are not overcome simply by running wildly at the perpetrators without a plan for what to do when you get there. Those who would enslave others are committed to their work and careful in their planning. For someone to be freed from the clutches of injustice takes an even stronger commitment for an even longer period of time. It takes a willingness to know the pain of injustice so that those enslaved can know the joy of freedom.

For IJM, they do the tedious and unglamorous work of breaking through the strongholds of evil men and women so that children can be freed from sexual slavery, women can be granted their legal rights, and whole families can be freed from a lifetime of forced labor. They work for weeks and months to gather evidence and build a case so that the laws of that country can be enforced. They match the enemy’s commitment to evil with an even stronger commitment to good.

The good news is that evil is afraid of goodness, and darkness runs from light. When communities like Summit Church decide to take a stand against evil, those who perpetuate evil acts tremble in fear. I am proud to be a part of this church and to stand alongside you in the fight for justice.

In the coming year, there will be other means of involvement with IJM, including the commissioning and sending of our own staff member, Rene Vazquez, who will begin working with IJM in Guatemala. Rene has been in the process of engaging with IJM for almost a year and will be joining their staff mid-way through the year. Your prayers for him and his family will be much appreciated.