1 October 2017
Orphaned and vulnerable, Kumar was just 7 years old when he became the slave of a corrupt brick kiln owner.
On Sunday 24 September, Kumar's story was broadcast around the world. Thousands of people in over 2,700 churches across 16 countries “met” Kumar, and through his story, encountered the dark reality of modern-day slavery.
Among them were almost 50 Australian churches, representing every state and the ACT. What began in the United States in 2016 has, just one year later, come as far as Argentina, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Ghana, India, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, the Philippines, Togo and the United Kingdom.
In Australia, churches from a range of denominations dedicated all or part of their Sunday services to ending slavery.
“We’re doing Freedom Sunday because it’s just too easy for us to lose sight of the 40 million people who have no voice to speak for them, and tragically, no sense of hope that their lives will ever be any different,” explained Dave Groenenboom, Senior Pastor at Gateway Community Church in Perth. “We must see their faces. We must hear their voices. We must act for their freedom because we are God’s plan to bring them justice.”
While learning about slavery is important, the focus is firmly on freedom.
Kumar’s story does not end in the brick kiln. Through prayer and the hard work of IJM and local authorities, Kumar, along with 15 others, was rescued from the brick kiln and restored through an aftercare program and mentoring. He is now a young man at university, studying to become a social worker.
Today, Kumar is free.
Yet today, over 40 million children, women and men like him are not.
Kumar is a face of slavery, and a face of freedom. He is a voice of slavery, and a voice of freedom. Freedom Sunday emphasises, through stories like his, the hope that our generation can, in fact, end slavery. Freedom Sunday affirms that it is right for the Church to be at the forefront of that fight.
“Taking time to focus on the biblical call for the freedom which justice demands – a freedom and justice that are deep in the heart of God – will strengthen both our understanding of and commitment to loving the Lord our God and loving our neighbour in these profoundly important ways,” said Andrew Katay, Senior Minister at Christ Church Inner West (CCIW) Anglican Community in Sydney.
Churches around Australia and around the world are answering the biblical call for freedom. The movement is growing. Will your church be part of Freedom Sunday next year?
— Mark Dando (@MarkDando) September 24, 2017
Kicking off #FreedomSunday with Jacob Sarkodee from @ijmaus to stand against modern slavery; 40… https://t.co/hq4f9iZaZM
— CCIW (@cciw) September 23, 2017
— Jacob Sarkodee (@Sarkodee) September 23, 2017
And a few views from Freedom Sunday abroad ...
#FreedomSunday @WamaithaKimani quoting @garyhaugen's Locust Effect, says poverty in poor communities make them more susceptible to violence. pic.twitter.com/VpiRoCSJ1U
— IJM Kenya (@IJMKenya) September 24, 2017
— Chris & AJ Steinke (@casteinke2) September 24, 2017
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.Find out more
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