“God’s heart for justice,” Baylor International Justice Mission to host World Day of Prayer event

The International Justice Mission Organization will host a virtual prayer session to continue their fight against modern day slavery around the world. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Christina Cannady | Reporter

The International Justice Mission organization at Baylor will host their third annual World Day of Prayer Wednesday. This year due to COVID-19 precautions, the multilingual prayer event will take place over Zoom at 7 p.m.

International Justice Mission is a group that advocates against human slavery and trafficking. Their mission is to protect people in poverty from violence around the world. Modern day slavery takes on many forms and is a prevalent issue that has not gone away.

Mexico City, Mexico junior Gabi Fernández explained that many people still believe slavery is a thing of the past.

“IJM is an organization that I fully support, and it means a lot to me that it spreads information about slavery today,” Fernández said.

At the event, Fernández will recite a prayer in Spanish. She said it is important that they have a prayer service hosted in multiple languages.

“Accustoming people to distinct languages in prayer is highly important, as it can breed tolerance not only within the Christian religion but all religions,” Fernández said. “We’re all perplexed when we hear something we do not understand, so praying next to someone and not necessarily understanding everything they’re saying teaches is to trust in our God but also grows respect for that person’s culture and background.”

Waco junior Layton Coker, membership chair of Baylor IJM, said he believes the organization provides a ray of hope for the future regarding modern slavery.

“IJM has opened my eyes to the sad truth about modern-day slavery and human trafficking, but IJM’s good work around the world fills me with hope for the future,” Coker said.

Since their founding in 1994, the Christian organization has rescued over 49,000 people from oppression and helped protect over 150 million people from violence.

“Through IJM, we pursue God’s heart for justice holistically: preforming rescue missions, prosecuting oppressors and providing aftercare for our warriors,” Bullard junior Katy Dulany, vice president of prayer for the organization, said. “The message of the Bible is one of caring for the oppressed, marginalized and vulnerable—IJM is a tangible way to represent Christ on this earth.”

As VP of prayer, Dulany is responsible for leading devotions during meetings and organizing the World Day of Prayer event. People of all backgrounds and cultures are invited to attend, and IJM membership is not necessary to attend the World Day of Prayer event.

“World Day of Prayer is a chance to recognize that God does not have a culture and God does not have a language. World Day of Prayer is a beautiful example of what Heaven will look like: people from every tribe, nation and tongue coming together to worship their Creator,” Dulany said.

A major method of activism that IJM encourages is advocacy. Advocacy takes on many forms such as petitions and meetings, and it is a step anyone can take towards fighting injustice.

“I think advocacy is coming alongside people and empowering them. We often speak of being a voice for the voiceless, but this is a flawed understanding of advocacy because no one is voiceless. Advocacy is not speaking on behalf or over others. Instead, it is working hard to create spaces for people’s voices to be heard,” Dulany said.

Coker said advocacy “could be as simple as telling your friends and family about the work that IJM does, or it could involve contacting your elected officials to advocate for particular policy objectives.”

“Advocacy is about listening. It isn’t about putting your own individual needs first but looking toward the group that needs it. It’s about being open-minded and willing to accept mistakes and adapt changes when necessary. It’s about speaking up for injustices that are committed, but never speaking over the voice of the victim. It’s about support,” Fernández said.