Thoughts on Freedom

a post from Julie


It's been a heavy week, hasn't it? The headlines coming at me off Facebook have been devastating and leave an undercurrent of fear, depression, and anxiety. I could turn them off, but I also feel obligated to know so that I can empathize with our brothers and sisters around the world who are living in that reality. 

The Fourth of July just came and went with its usual spangled exultations of joy and gratefulness and independence. We sure are lucky to live here. But for the small circumstance of birth, we could have been residents of any other nation... 

A couple things we wanted to remind ourselves of in light of the recent headlines and our mission here at bonJOY to fight for freedom in our own little way:

1. Freedom is an enormous blessing. Truly. And we may never realize how much until it's taken away from us. I honestly can't imagine going through life under some of the oppressions so many bear.

2. Most of us simply can't grasp the true cost of freedom (I can't). Last week, International Justice Mission (our current Give-Back Partner and an organization leading the way in the fight for justice) lost a team member in Kenya. Willie Kimani, an IJM lawyer, along with his client, Josephat Mwenda, and their driver, Joseph Muiruri, were murdered... by police officers. Willie was working on a case to free his client from police oppression. He is a hero for his life spent courageously seeking justice, and our prayers go to his family, friends, and those who would take up the fight after him. Here in America, the people who fought for our original independence may be long gone, but their legacy lives on as we draw resolve to continue to fight against oppression and injustice here in our backyards and abroad. It's in our bloodlines not to ignore it. 

3. Let's remember the heroes who put it all on the line for freedom and call out their courage. In another headline from last week, Preemptive Love Coalition was delivering 100,000 pounds of food and water to those fleeing Fallujah when their trucks got stuck in an active ISIS zone. Through the hundred-degree night, half the team dug themselves into the sand to avoid detection by the 80 ISIS vehicles, while the other half trekked toward the checkpoint in Baghdad where they were kept out at gunpoint, then escaped a bombing. Miraculously (thanks to the prayers of warriors the world over who were following the story), no one was killed. (Read the full account.)

Lord help us. 

In times like these, Esther & I feel overwhelmingly grateful for a project like bonJOY that gives us a way to respond to injustices like these. Here are a few things we wanted to pass along that you can do, too: 

  • Sign the petition to get justice for Willie, IJM's murdered lawyer. UPDATE 7/5/16: Three suspects have been arrested.
  • Research some organizations doing life-changing work for the people most affected by the current tragedies. Here are a few with great updates: Preemptive Love CoalitionMOAS (rescuing boats of immigrants in the Mediterranean), International Justice Mission... just to name a few. 
  • Donate directly to the organizations we've talked about or others who are out there fighting for freedom the world over.
  • Share these stories with your family over the dinner and let it inspire a conversation about freedom and gratefulness and foster an international perspective.
  • Send the organizations you're following notes of encouragement, either over social media or something handwritten.
  • Learn about local organizations who are fighting injustice and ally with them in action.

With renewed gratefulness,