Serving Survivors for Jesus

By Hannah Emert

I still remember the first morning I went to adult Sunday school, I was still in high school.  I felt very grown-up. The speaker spoke about International Justice Mission and the work they do to restore the lives of human trafficking victims.  After the presentation, we were asked what we as a church could do for these survivors.  Then we split into small groups to brainstorm. My mother, several others and I had an idea.  We wanted to give gift baskets with soaps, jewelry, books, and other luxury gifts as a pure and refreshing gesture to a person that has always had to give in order to get.

Looking back, now, fills me with such joy, because the Lord knew our idea would blossom into a non-profit organization that exists today. Even before we sat down in our little circle, the Lord knew we would reach out to local homes which are rehabilitating human trafficking survivors, invite their residents to a dinner, and pamper them like the daughters of the King. The Lord knew that just treating them to dinner wouldn’t be enough for our church members.  He gave them the crazy ambition to create Grounds for Restoration, a small coffee company donating 100% of its profits to the restoration and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims. This is the organization where I am currently carrying out my internship, needed for college credits.  And so far, I am blessed.

Getting to witness the inner workings of GFR first-hand has made me better understand its soul motivation: to shine the light of Jesus into a part of society overlooked for its ugliness. Working along side the members of a faith-based non-profit has shown me that we aren’t doing this because we’re highly motivated do-gooders, or because we think we’re good enough. We are not.  We respond because God loved us first, the wretched sinners that we are, and he died for us all on the cross, saving us from our own sin.

That’s why we must spread the good news of Jesus, especially to a person who has been told they’re nothing more than the property of another human being. God is the only one who has the authority to be our master.  And instead of making us slaves to him, he picks us up, puts us on his lap and calls us his children. That’s why we wish to show these survivors the truth: they are free under Christ and that (Romans 8:39) “no power of hell and no scheme of man, could ever pluck (them) from his hands.” I thank God I got to see this company grow from the grass roots up.  Through GFR God has shown me that I may not be good enough, but he is, and through him we can do all things.