Late at night in Mumbai, India, one can hear sounds like that of the midday central market: cars with bad mufflers and blaring horns, music from open doorways, and people talking in too loud voices. Bob and some companions make their way across the street, through a small gathering on the sidewalk, into a doorway, and up two flights of stairs through a dark, narrow hallway with paint peeling off the walls. Bob knocks. The door opens, and he enters a dimly lit room. There are no windows. A fan moves the air, billowing the curtains that separate the cubicles. Several men stand around.
Bob asks one of them, "You in charge here? These are your girls?"
Once it is clear who is "in charge," Bob tells the translator to "explain to him what our deal is. Tell him movies and pictures."
The proprietor brings five or six young girls into the room from behind the curtains and tells them where to stand while Bob looks them over. Some are wearing long dresses with the native saris; some wear short, tight skirts. Their thick black hair flows freely to one side. They cross their hands in front of them, standing awkwardly, tight-lipped and straight-faced (though a few giggle and seem to enjoy the attention). Bob asks, "This one is how old?"
The proprietor answers, "Thirteen."
"This one in the white?"
"How old are you?" Bob says to one of the girls.
"She is saying sixteen," the translator says.
"How old is this one? And this one in the orange?"
And on it goes. Bob finally says, "How much for one night—night to morning?"
"Four thousand for one night. One girl."
"How much for three hours, to take pictures?"
"Two thousand five hundred."
"That seems to be the standard price," says Bob. "Any more girls?"
He finally concludes the transaction: "I'm interested in this one and that one. Definitely these two we might be interested in." The girls not chosen by Bob are shooed away and retreat behind the curtains.
"You finished? Okay, no problem," the proprietor says. He gives Bob his card for when his customer returns in a day or two for the girls he has chosen.
It hadn't occurred to that pimp that when Bob Mosier, director of investigation with the International Justice Mission (IJM), was asking questions about the girls, he was gathering hard evidence he would later use to secure their release.
Going into dark, messy places to document what bad people do to helpless people is part of what the team at IJM does. Since its first year of operation (April 1997, though on-the-ground case work did not commence until January 1998), the IJM has facilitated the release of over 700 defenseless people—including children forced into bond slavery, young girls abducted into prostitution, and individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned.
These practical results have won the IJM the rousing affirmation of well-known human-rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Says Amnesty's legislative director, Stephen Rickard: "The IJM has credibility as a bona fide human-rights organization," and, he adds, "because of its origins and orientation, it has credibility with evangelicals"—a constituency that, heretofore, has been sluggish about human-rights issues, according to Rickard.
The IJM's intimate connection with the missionary community overseas—who alert them to abuses and facilitate their contacts—has won the IJM the enthusiastic support of evangelicals who are beginning to see allaying human-rights abuses as part of their missiological mandate.
While the numbers of people helped are not huge, for the rescued it is the difference between reclaiming a life lost and living out their days and nights in hell. And there are still plenty of helpless people who need rescuing, who have no recourse against the "dark Nietzchean world of self-will," as IJM founder and president Gary Haugen puts it. "We need not feel overwhelmed or out of place in such a dark world of injustice," he writes in his recently published book Good News About Injustice (InterVarsity). "This is precisely the world into which Jesus intended his followers to go."
The Rwanda investigation
Gary Haugen, 36, is a home-grown, all-around good guy whose hero is Abe Lincoln. He is the product of an affluent suburb in northern California. He worked hard in school and grew up attending Sunday school and Wednesday prayer meetings in his family's Conservative Baptist congregation (their pastor was a graduate of Bob Jones University).
But more recently there was a time when he sat in church and was overcome with "horrible calculations about what it would take, and how long it would take, to murder the entire congregation with machetes."
These tormenting thoughts overtook him during the period after he had returned from Rwanda where he had been sent, on loan to the United Nations from the U.S. Department of Justice, to investigate the "genocidal hysteria" of the Hutus against the Tutsis in 1994. Over 500,000 people were hacked to death by machetes in that orgy of killing—mostly women and children, many huddling in churches. Haugen counted bodies and interviewed witnesses.
Gary Haugen left Rwanda a changed person. Shortly thereafter he incorporated the International Justice Mission and resolved to use his legal skills and investigative expertise to bring light where darkness held sway.
Haugen's office, outside of Washington, D.C., has no curtains and is sparsely decorated. The bookshelves house far fewer books than one would expect in a lawyer's office. His diplomas from Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School hang on the wall behind his desk; on another wall hangs the seal from the Department of Justice, and elsewhere, a document inscribed "To Gary" from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lincoln grace his bookshelf (family photos are on the desk). Under King's photo is written: "Freedom has always been an expensive thing."
Gary's admission interview at Harvard did not go well until the admissions officer learned he could bench-press 300 pounds. He ended up playing football at Harvard—and rugby—and he did "the recreational boxing thing." But he loved the academic life and thrived intellectually while his family and friends back home shuddered at what might become of him at "godless Harvard."
His faith, however, "was powerfully invigorated" by the challenges there. It was at Harvard that Haugen was first exposed to the social implications of the gospel. "I had gone to church my entire life, but I don't think I ever heard a sermon on the parable of the sheep and the goats [Matt. 25], and that there would be a dividing of the kingdom between those who had cared for 'the least' among us and those who hadn't. It presented some challenges about a gospel that is faith based and not works based. But either that is a passage that Jesus said—and needs to be exegeted in relation to the rest of the concepts in the Gospels and Epistles—or it's not. But it is an example of a major teaching of Christ that I never heard explained."
He graduated in 1985. Before pursuing his dream to become a lawyer (inspired by Lincoln), he took three years to gain experience in Christian service overseas and ended up in South Africa, moving into a black township two days before martial law was declared. He worked with Michael Cassidy and Bishop Desmond Tutu with the National Initiative for Reconciliation.
"In South Africa," he says, "white South Africans were devout believers; black South Africans were devout believers. And yet South Africa was known as the moral ogre of the universe. So for me it was this incredible experiment to see what is the relevant application of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this context."
He traveled for a year with Bishop Tutu and Cassidy, watching them try to live out their Christian witness in the context of injustice. They spent time trying to get black ministers out of jail and trying to stop police from shooting and torturing the kids in the township. "People were dying. It was brutal."
It was also in South Africa that Haugen confronted, on a spiritual level, the implications for taking up the cause of those who suffer at the hands of abusive power: "In South Africa I was making some decisions to accept a level of risk. If I wasn't willing to stand in solidarity with black South Africans who were suffering horrific abuse and brutality, then I wasn't really manifesting faith in the God that I said I believed—either faith that he would protect me, or the faith that if he wasn't going to protect me, that what I did would nevertheless be worthwhile and have been the work of a loving God who would someday wipe away every tear."
After two years in South Africa (198586), he spent a year in Australia as a visiting fellow in politics at the University of Adelaide. He returned to begin law school in 1989 at the University of Chicago, where he became involved with the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights. He next went to the Philippines to investigate human-rights violations and explore why Corazon Aquino couldn't control her police force and military, and this experience later led him to the U.S. Department of Justice where he served in the civil-rights division as a trial lawyer. It was while he was at Justice that he was tapped to work on the United Nations genocide investigation in Rwanda.
"My task was to deploy teams of international investigators, lawyers, criminologists, and forensic experts to mass graves and massacre sites. We would go and execute investigative protocol, bulldoze all these bodies or go into churches where there were piles of bodies knee high, count the bodies, and gather the testimony of the survivors.
"This is where you encounter the utter poverty of words. I walked away from that mute.
"Ordinary people have the capacity, with surprising ease, to become mass murderers," he says. "The people who did the hacking in Rwanda were average people. They had delivered themselves over to the power of evil that can make killing exhilarating and empowering.
"I grew up in a very comfortable, happy suburban home," he says. "I was not stressing about issues of injustice in the Bible—this language seemed melodramatic to me. But around the world, where a million children are forced into prostitution every year, where there are 15 million children forced into child labor, and where 500,000 to 800,000 people are hacked to death in about six weeks, the fall of man is not being managed. For that girl who is going to be raped for the seventh time tonight in a brothel in India, the language of the Bible is not melodramatic."
The first customer
Sumita, from India, was 11 when her mother died. Her father could not care for her and so intended to marry her off right away. She did not want to get married, so at the age of 12 she ran away and took a train to Mumbai (formerly Bombay). She was found by a man who offered to help her find work and a place to live. He had a winning way, so she went with him. He took her to a brothel where he was paid $750 dollars for her. She was told she would have to service customers in order to pay back the money and then was quickly subjected to physical and emotional abuse for three days. Then she faced her first customer.
She fought him off, which displeased him, and he complained to the brothel keeper who responded by beating her. The customers kept coming, and she finally reached the point where she realized there was no point in struggling. "You feel like a bird with broken wings," she said. "You don't fly anymore."
Kanmani, also from India, was 10 years old when a World Vision (WV) worker introduced her to Gary Haugen. In a moment of economic crisis, her family needed 50 dollars. The only place the poor in India can secure such a sum is from a money lender. Her family received the money, but with the provision that they pay it back in a lump sum. To earn money to pay back the loan, Kanmani went to work for the money lender, closing the ends of cigarettes with a knife. She worked from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. six days a week, sitting on the floor trying to meet her quota of 2,000 cigarettes a day. (If she didn't meet her quota, her overseer struck her on the head.)
At the end of each week she collected her wages: 75 cents. If she were able to save every cent of it, it would take a year to pay off the family's debt. The problem was, Kanmani's family desperately needed that 75 cents, so they used it for living expenses. Never able to accrue enough money to pay back the loan in a lump sum, she seemed destined to work forever cutting the ends of cigarettes. When the IJM people met her, she had been doing it for five years. She was five when sold into bond slavery.
Pallavi, age 9, was "bonded" for a 25-dollar loan needed to pay her father's medical bill; Jayanthi, 13, was bonded for eight years trying to pay back a 50-dollar debt; Mubeena, 8, was working 14 hours a day to pay back a 35-dollar loan; 9-year-old Jubeena was working 12 hours a day to pay off a 25-dollar debt.
"All this goes on," says Haugen, "despite the fact that such practices have been illegal under Indian law since the 1930s."
The perpetrators of these crimes assume that the plight of these people would be lost in their obscurity. The victims are poor—social "nobodies"—for whom the shakers and movers of the world have little concern. What the system does not bank on, however, is the network of Christian workers who see what is going on and whose consciences compel them to act.
In the cases of Sumita, locked away in a windowless brothel, Kanmani, crouched over a reed basket cutting cigarettes, and hundreds of others, World Vision workers already on location doing ministry in another context alerted the IJM of these abuses. "Indian laws make child bonded labor illegal," says Don Patterson, vice president of donor and field relations with WV, "but that is not consistent with cultural practices." Because of its child-sponsorship program and its "community-engagement approach," WV is "well-positioned," he says, to know what's going on. They have, in the past, gotten kids out of bonded labor by paying off the debt. But, says Patterson, "for Gary's team to come in and address the legal process is, in one sense, appropriate. There is a mutual enthusiasm for the collaboration," he says. "The IJM serves a unique niche [and] has the capacity that WV does not have." Conversely, he adds, once the law is brought to bear and the IJM team goes home, WV steps in and provides the community support and aftercare that IJM cannot offer.
"I used to work for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights," says Haugen, "and if I wanted to know very quickly some basic information about the human-rights story, I could frequently go to the missionaries or relief-and-development workers who had been in those areas for a long time. They knew a great deal but felt like there was absolutely nothing they could actually do about it themselves."
Ministry workers working with street children in the Philip pines found out that some of the girls in their program had been abducted into a brothel that was being run by the local police. These missionaries, says Haugen, "were obviously called to share the love of Christ with these children, but along came a category of problem that they were not prepared to deal with. They didn't feel prepared to become full-time justice crusaders, and intervention with authorities may mean they could get kicked out of the country. They felt tremendous frustration.
"When we send missionaries overseas to preach the gospel, or do relief, or translate the Scriptures, we're sending them into a context of brutal injustice over and over again."
One overseas worker recounts: "In one of the refugee camps where I served, the army decided to tie some refugees to a literal cross for minor misdemeanors within the camp. When I confronted this actually being done, my heart cried out, and I wanted to rush to their defense and confront the army. But I knew that I would doubtless be expelled from the country and never allowed back. Given my long-term ministries in the camps, I had to walk away and cry out to God to calm me and bring justice where I could not."
"The sense of hopelessness is overwhelming," says Haugen. "Some of us, however, don't see it as hopeless."
The IJM has established protocol for Christian ministries that want to report abuses and solicit their help. Haugen will frequently meet with the missionaries on the field and assess the viability of the IJM to take on a problem. Once the decision is made, the team goes to work.
Recipe for rescue
"Whenever someone is abusing their power they do that with two elements: coercion and deception," says Haugen. Some one uses physical force to take away someone's life, liberty, dignity, or property and then they lie about it and cover it up. "In the case of Sumita, you had a young girl who, by deception, was led into a building that she didn't know was a brothel, and she was physically held and beaten in a locked, windowless room for three days," he says. So to help Sumita, one first overcomes the deception by bringing "the light of truth into the darkness to expose the evil deeds that are taking place"; and second, to overturn the coercion, one brings to bear the weight of law.
Negating deception. The IJM negates deception by investigation and documentation. "We use trained investigators for whom infiltration of underworld settings is their professional expertise. They infiltrate the brothels and document the presence of these girls."
One such professional is Bob Mosier, who leads the investigative team. A former police officer from Virginia, Mosier's only international experience before he went to Bosnia (one of 200 police officers sent in as part of the Dayton Peace Agreement) had been a vacation in the Bahamas. After he re turned from Bosnia he joined the IJM in January 1998 as one of their seven full-time employees, and he has since found himself in brothels in India and Thailand and in jails in Haiti.
A loving husband and father and dedicated Christian, Mosier sees it as part of his vocation to go "into the heart of darkness" to rescue young girls from brothels. "Let me tell it like it is: It's evil. Every obstacle imaginable comes into play—the language barrier, the temptations, the ability to determine whether the girls are forced or not, whether or not they are children—there are no birth records in this country, and nobody [in these situations] has identification.
"You have to remember that any man they've come in contact with has lied, cheated, and stolen from them. So when you tell them, 'I'm here to help you,' they're thinking, 'yeah, right.' "
There is a three-month window, Mosier says, during which girls can be rescued from prostitution with any hope of rebuilding their lives. "Initially, they don't want to be part of it. Then, after two or three months, they begin to think that there is no hope." They are locked up with a "big brawny brothel keeper" guarding the gate; they fear being beaten or killed if they try to escape; they are told they can't trust the police to help them. "They are afraid to approach anyone who is symbolic of hope. They resign themselves and become part of it."
Overturning coercion. After the hard evidence has been painstakingly gathered by Mosier's team, Haugen compiles a report and presents it to the appropriate local authorities. With the aid of the expatriate Christian community—whether ministry workers, business people, or government employees who open doors for him—he will often meet with senior-level government officials, members of the military or parliament in these countries.
In many cases, the laws against such practices are already on the books and need only to be brought to bear. (Such laws are frequently not enforced, rendering them meaningless.) The IJM verifies in the report both the nature of the abuse and a given country's laws about it and then leaves it to the local officials to do the right thing. If these officials are part of the problem, the IJM raises the stakes by introducing international entities who can apply pressure—like American congressmen or an ambassador. Congressmen Tony Hall (D-Ohio) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) both serve on IJM's advisory board and lend their support in such instances; and former President Jimmy Carter has also taken an active role in the case of a wrongly imprisoned Haitian lawyer.
This multifaceted approach sets the IJM apart from other human-rights organizations. Says Holly Burkhalter, director of advocacy for Physicians for Human Rights (and formerly, for 14 years, the spokesperson for Human Rights Watch): "Gary has a thousand sets of eyes and ears on the field that give him the capacity to go in with an enormous network of local contacts, which is crucial for making change happen. [Then] he employs real—real—interesting talent. With the talent he has on his staff [citing investigators like Bob Mosier who then compile official reports], they go about human-rights monitoring in a way no other group does."
Human Rights Watch compiles reports and offers "sophisticated recommendations," she says; however, they lack the grassroots, on-the-ground networking on the local level that has been the IJM's strong suit. Amnesty International has a strong grassroots constituency, she says, but they are not well networked with the Christian community—either in the U.S. for support, or on the ground overseas for information and contacts. Haugen's interplay between the Christian missionary community overseas; evangelical churches in the U.S. who love their missionaries and have a heart for suffering people; the legal and investigative team from the IJM who help these missionaries and suffering people; and the local authorities who make their own laws viable has set apart the IJM, says Burkhalter, as "absolutely fill[ing] a gaping hole in the human-rights movement."
Justice rolls down
Headlines in India's national newspaper The Hindu (April 24, 1998) read: "Identity cards for 474 freed bonded labour." The IJM had been investigating 14 cases of bonded children. Their investigation exposed a larger syndicate, and in the spring of 1998 the Indian District Magistrate, P.W.C. Davidar, with documentation from the IJM, secured the release of an additional 460 children.
As a result, Davidar was promoted to oversee a much larger region in India and is presently working (with the help of documentation from IJM) on 72 more cases of bonded laborers. "Very rarely do you have someone who comes from a foreign country going into the realm of social injustice without protection," Davidar says. "The risk is great, and they [IJM] are walking into territory that is quite controlled. But they are very bold about it."
After the girls had been released and reassimilated into their communities, Gary Haugen walked into the village where some lived and met them on the path walking home from school. "Their parents proudly showed off the magistrate's certificate extinguishing their debts, and Kanmani and others showed me how they had learned to write their names."
That same year a dozen girls, including Sumita, were rescued from brothels and placed in temporary rescue homes. "[We] appreciate the concern of Gary Haugen when he spent time with the sisters in the red-light area and had food cooked by these sisters," says Anson Thomas, a mission worker with Sports Mission who serves in India. "IJM has the vision for rescuing these sisters [who are] in bondage and darkness. It is a very big risk for them, as even the authorities do not sometimes help."
Sometimes, however, even hard evidence is not sufficient to overturn injustice. In the case of Osner Fevry, a Christian lawyer who had been wrongly imprisoned in Haiti, the IJM had sent two investigative teams to Haiti; proved beyond a doubt that his detention was illegal and unconstitutional; intervened with the U.S. ambassador and unofficials in Haiti; mobilized appeals from U.S. congressmen; and secured a personal appeal from President Carter to Haiti's president. "We felt we had done everything we could," writes Haugen in a quarterly report. "And yet, eight months later Mr. Fevry languished in jail."
So the IJM staff gathered for a special time of prayer on Fevry's behalf. "And 'while they were yet praying' (as the book of Acts says about the release of the apostle Peter from jail)," says Haugen, "we heard—not a knock on the door—but the ring of the telephone. Indeed, it was Mr. Fevry's wife calling to tell us that her husband had just called from the prison to say he had been released."
Big brother is watching
As effective as American legal and political muscle is, the question remains: Is "sending in the Americans" the best approach? Anti-American sentiment is on the increase in some countries, and many nationals resent Americans throwing their weight around to influence internal matters. Another complication arises when locals make the "American connection" between the lawyers who intervene and the mission workers who inform, jeopardizing their witness in the community. An argument could be made that national lawyers and investigators might more effectively undertake this effort, both from the standpoint of knowing the language, the people in power, and "the ropes."
Countering these arguments, former U.S. Ambassador Clyde Taylor, who serves on IJM's board, says: "The world is linked by regional international treaties on human rights. Even though a country may say, 'You are interfering in our internal affairs,' they've already ceded to the international community the oversight of what's going on in their country because they have agreed to meet certain norms of civil liberties. Very often they are not even aware of what they have signed, but you've got a starting point."
Haugen concedes that the fear of repercussions for the local ministry workers is real. The last thing the IJM wants to do is to create more trouble for these workers. At the same time, the nature of IJM's work requires confrontation with people well known for their evil deeds. "To do the work of justice is hard and risky," he says. But so far, these fears have not panned out. Haugen has found that the law and the locals have supported these efforts. "There is power when the law is on your side," he says.
As for integrating an on-the-ground national presence, the IJM by the end of this year hopes to have established four satellite offices around the world in conjunction with local Christian ministries and churches. These headquarters can serve as the hub for IJM's activity. Teams from the U.S. can come in to serve as models and train nationals in investigative protocol; work with the local churches in facilitating support; provide technical support; and, if needed, bring in international political support. As these satellite offices grow and mature, Haugen envisions them also serving as a follow-up presence on the ground, upholding the legal victories and, he hopes, preventing further abuses.
Yet, it has been precisely the American legal expertise, according to India's Davidar, that inspired the local authorities in India to prosecute the money lenders: "Our people are emotionally charged and feel strongly about [bonded labor], but our techniques for garnering evidence are inadequate. They [IJM] have taught us rather than be emotional about social injustice we need to be professional. Solid material, even if the bureaucracy chooses not to look, can be explosive in the hands of the judges."
Lauran Bethall, a missionary in Thailand with the American Baptist Churches, USA, runs the New Life Center—a haven for young hill-tribe women with a high risk of exploitation for prostitution—and affirms both the vigilance of American investigative expertise and the synergy between the IJM and the missionary community.
"Families come to us and tell us that their daughter has been tricked into prostitution," she says. "I don't have the staff or the time to deal with it. Bob [Mosier] provided all the evidence in a detailed notebook that was quite impressive to the police," she says. "The police were impressed that they were dealing with someone else in law enforcement."
At the same time, she adds, "Bob deals with issues that could endanger our work, but had he gone to local police himself, I'm not sure how far he would've gotten. You have to have the contacts. We provided the contacts with the Thai government, and then the place for the girls to go [once they were out].
"Somebody needs to be tracking down the pedophiles," she concludes. "I don't think there is anyone being intentional about getting cases prosecuted."
Our fair garden
Americans have an enormous passion for justice, says Haugen, because it is part of our heritage. "We have organized a society that is relatively free of the most brutal kinds of injustice. I know it takes place—I have encountered police who have raped little girls—but in terms of the assertiveness of rights, Americans won't tolerate much without taking people to court or throwing out the redcoats."
Yet a passion for "justice issues" has never been a strong suit for American evangelicals, due, in part, Haugen says, to the Cold War. In an essay titled "The International Justice Mission and Five Movements of Change," Haugen writes: "For many Christians, struggles for human rights were seen as 'slogans for the march of militant communism' and therefore they felt skeptical about taking up the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Consequently, the same struggle that led American Christians to oppose the tyranny of Brezhnev, Mao, Castro, Qaddafi, and the like also led most evangelical Christians to support the tyranny of Marcos, Pinochet, Botha, and the like."
"In our new era," Haugen says, "such impediments are being swept away."
The end of the Cold War has unleashed nationalistic militarism—"a new dark age" —that has allowed many countries to be come hotbeds of unrest and human-rights abuses (e.g., the Kosovo conflict), which has overturned this reticence and galvanized the faith community. "A new dark age" has already descended in places like Yugoslavia, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola, regions of India and Brazil, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Georgia, Kurdistan, Sri Lanka, and Haiti, "to name a few," says Haugen. "There will be, therefore, a tremendous need for intervention on behalf of those who fall victim to injustice and oppression."
"Gary, with all his contacts in mission organizations," says Holly Burkhalter, "is bringing these issues before the American evangelical community in a way that is immediately accessible. It's an easy reach for these people to make it their cause."
To integrate the work of justice into the ministry of the church and the mindset of individual Christians, he says, is no different from the church's approach to global evangelization. "You can either go, you can send, or you can pray," he says.
The IJM has had lawyers, investigators, administrators, and regular work-a-day people go overseas as volunteers. On a trip to India, for example, the presence of a corporate administrator helped with the logistics of a bonded-labor investigation, enabling the IJM to document the abuse of scores of children in a computerized report. In that same situation, a volunteer came along whose job was to play with the other children in the community who would otherwise huddle around the child being interviewed, making it impossible to tape what the child was saying.
Ben Minichino, a former marine and law enforcement officer who used to work on the security detail for the President, served as a volunteer in Haiti. "International investigations are nothing like those of the U.S.," he says. "Problems such as the language barrier, cultural differences, entire towns with no addresses, unsecured buildings, very crowded areas, corrupt police, and the fact that you really have no law enforcement powers outside the U.S. all add to the difficulty of your mission.
"The bottom line is, before you start your day, before you conduct a sensitive interview, you pray to God for his guidance, assistance, and grace to open the doors that you need for your case. The true miracle is, he does open those doors. He does allow you to help his people."
"God's first step in enabling the body of Christ to seek justice for the op pressed," says Haugen, "has been to break down the isolation of the vulnerable by deploying his witness into their communities. It's fair to say that within a stone's throw of just about every victim of oppression in the world there is a Christian worker whom God has placed in the community to share the love of Jesus."
The first "point of courage" for individual Americans, he says, is to "open their hearts afresh to a hurting world and to the character of God. It also might be to confront how far they may be from the things that cause God's heart to break.
"They will draw close to God and see him as a loving God who extends his com passion to those who have been victimized by injustice, and also to those who are far from being as compassionate as they might be. He is patient and loving and eager to move them forward."
For more information about the IJM, see their Web site: www.ijm.org.
Copyright © 1999 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
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