Recently when preparing to co-preach on a Freedom Sunday, I was asked, “How have you sustained this work the past twelve years?” In preparation to respond to this during our message, I spent time reflecting on this familiar passage. I’ve known the story for years, since I was a kid. Now, it speaks to me in a deeply profound way; a new way that only comes when God’s Spirit is moving…

In Exodus 14, we find the story of the Israelites, recently freed slaves from Egypt, camping out in the desert. Plague after plague had finally driven Pharoah to free his workforce and allow the Israelites to escape, so they could find their own land, and worship their God. But, right after freeing them, Pharoah changed his mind.

“We have let them get away, and they will no longer be our slaves!” (Exodus 14:5, CEB)

So Pharoah sends all his chariots and all his horses and pursues them relentlessly. He remembered what he’d known all along; the thing that kept him from releasing them sooner: How would they profit as a nation without exploiting the Israelites?

So these people, the Israelites, having been through years of trauma from their slavery in Egypt, were finally free, but it was a fresh, raw, new freedom that hadn’t even really begun to sink in yet. In this moment, they look to their past, back towards the place they were exploited for years, and see their former slaveholders agressively chasing them. With hundreds of the best chariots. With way more wealth and resources than they had. (They had basically nothing. They were camping, completely homeless in the desert…)

The scripture says they were terrified. Understandably so. The word vulnerable almost seems to be an understatement of their situation – following Moses in the desert into an unknown land with no food, no home, and no protection against their enemies. They were so afraid that they blamed Moses (who led them into their freedom) and accused him of bringing them into the desert to die.

It would have been better for us to stay slaves.

And what did Moses say in response to this, to these accusations and to them chosing slavery over the risk of true freedom?

“Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the Lord’s salvation…”

I think Moses knew this would be a difficult, near impossible journey. I am certain he knew that without God they would never find freedom – they would easily be captured again. They weren’t strong enough on their own to step completely away from their former life into what God was planning for them. Moses’ words to them in Exodus 14:14 is a constant reminder to me that God is the one who ultimately does the fighting. He is the one who leads us into true freedom from whatever it is that keeps us enslaved.

For those of us who are fighting human trafficking, we can work ourselves to exhaustion fighting this global issue. It never stops. Around the clock, people are treated horrifically. If we want to change that and be part of bringing freedom, it takes a level of energy and effort that is supernatural. I believe it only comes from God.

We can sometimes start to think that we are the ones leading the fight, or even that we’re alone in our fight. But God invites us to be still. In that stillness, he reminds us that he calls us by name and loves us with a radical love beyond our comprehension. He invites me to clear space in my life so he can speak and bring true freedom – for those enslaved, for me, for you.

It’s our 6th year inviting people – you! – to join us by giving your own money so we can continue this freedom fight.

When we come together and generously release our own financial resources, we share our freedom. We are part of what the Lord uses to fight for others. He is always doing something, and I believe this year, during #FreedomFund2019, he is inviting us back into the desert, to clear some space, because he’s doing something new….

Do you see it?

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I found this image online last week as I was looking for something to show my gratitude to the hundreds of people who are participating in Freedom Sunday this month.  Though it may not be Fresno, I felt it accurately reflects the love we have for our city and the people in it.

Thank you for partnering with us.

 

In sharing with churches about Human Trafficking in Fresno, I’m drawn to the incident in Luke 7 where Jesus is anointed by the woman. It’s such a beautiful display of love for her savior after realizing how much debt had been paid… a proclamation of freedom and an act of true love! (Read it here.) To know your debt has been paid is the most freeing experience of all! Nothing can hold you back anymore! Think of a time when you were forgiven, when your life was spared, when grace overcame and all you could do was say “Thank You Jesus”…

 

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She poured out her most valuable possession and risked being criticized by those around her because she had the FREEDOM that only Christ can bring to LOVE him more than anything…

Jesus says,  “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 

Oh to be the “sinful woman” at Jesus feet. To understand how much has been forgiven and how free I really am because of God’s great love for us… oh to have that repeated throughout our city streets and churches and brothels and night clubs in Fresno… in the hearts of men and women on the streets… among the trafficked and the saved…

 

May you know the freedom of forgiveness today and understand how much you are truly loved. 

–Kelly Mitchinson, CVJC Staff

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Come join Central Valley Justice Coalition in kicking off National Human Trafficking Awareness Month!

Monday, January 6, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Fresno First Baptist Church Parlor (1400 W. Saginaw Ave., Fresno 93704)

The evening includes a brief training for Freedom Sunday

Freedom Sunday is February 2, 2014! CVJC wants to equip you and your church (or place of worship) to join in this day of prayer, worship, and response on behalf of those who are trapped in modern day slavery. This 30 minute training includes resources and tools for sharing 5 minutes (or more) at your church about human trafficking in the Fresno area and how to partner with us to end it

Followed by a time of prayer

Prayer is central to all we do – God moves and acts when we gather together in his name! We want to begin 2014 (and National Human Trafficking Awareness Month) on our knees. We will be praying for God’s freedom and justice to flood our Valley, bringing transformation to the lives of all affected by human trafficking. The time will be guided with scripture, media and specific prayer points, held just across from the Parlor in the Memorial Chapel.

If you can’t attend Monday night, come for 

Freedom Sunday Training & Prayer    

Tuesday, January 7th, 12p-1pm (doors open for networking until 1:30p)

Fresno First Baptist Church Parlor.  Beverages provided, bring your own lunch          

Find Freedom Sunday resources on our website here

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“It is for freedom that Christ set us free!” Gal 5:1

February 2, 2014  churches across the Central Valley are uniting to proclaim freedom for all who enslaved in modern day slavery.

Join in standing against human trafficking and other forms of slavery and FOR the freedom found in Christ Jesus! Sign up here to let us know you are participating. See our new Freedom Sunday page for more info and resources.

Feb 2nd is around the corner and we want to equip YOU with tools and resources for your congregation. Please join us for Freedom Freedom Sunday Training!

When: Tues, Jan 7th, 12 – 1pm (doors open until 1:30)

JUST ADDED! Monday, Jan 6, 7pm. This evening includes brief training, and a larger focus on worship and prayer for 2014 (in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month).

Where: Fresno First Baptist Parlor (on southeast side of campus, close to Lansing Ave)

1400 E Saginaw Way

Fresno 93704

Click on the following link for a short video on Human Trafficking in Fresno: http://vimeo.com/66281458.

Don’t wait til after Christmas to bring this to the attention of your church leaders! 

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Freedom Sunday is February 17, 2013!

Sign up here for the Central Valley Coalition’s e-newsletters about upcoming opportunities

Freedom Sunday is an internationally recognized day when believers and communities unite through prayer and worship on behalf of over 30 million men, women and children who are enslaved today.

Created by Not for Sale, Freedom Sunday is a platform for churches to become more aware and active in ending modern day slavery. This year, some 5500 faith communities worldwide are  planning to participate!

Join the Justice Coalition partner churches this year by signing up HERE

Freedom Week Trainings are offered Wednesday, January 30th at 12:30pm (Fresno Pacific Chapel) and Tuesday, February 5th at 6pm at Fresno First Baptist. For more information email cvjusticecoalition@gmail.com

Check out existing resources  on our Church Resources and Prayer, Study, and Devotional Guides pages. CVJC has a  printable promotional postcard to get the word out.

View, download, and share the 2013 Freedom Sunday video from Not For Sale here!

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