Last weekend, I got to fulfill something on my bucket list by attending International Justice Mission’s Global Prayer Gathering (GPG) in Washington, D.C. I was there at the invitation of a non-profit for which I do some contract work.
The GPG is an international gathering of all of IJM’s field directors in various places around the world. Over the course of the two day conference, I and over 1500 other attendants had the privilege of hearing about the work of IJM.
After each field director shared an update, he or she also shared a list of prayer requests. It became a running joke that the teams in the fields are starting to ask for bolder prayer requests because all of the prayer requests from the year prior seem to be answered in some way. And after the prayer requests were shared, we paused
A silent room of over 1500 people.
Thus was the ebb and flow of the GPG.
In Ghana, there is a man made lake called Lake Volta. It is the largest man made lake in the world.
On this enormous lake, it is estimated that 5 to 10,000 boys are slaves. Children as young as 4.
5 to 10,000 boys have been trafficked (tricked, lied to, coerced, threatened) to cast off large fishing nets and to pull up those nets. And if something is stuck, a boy will have to go under the water to find a way to free the caught net, often to the child’s peril.
The slave master fishermen beat the boys ruthlessly.
They are not given any water, so they drink the water of the lake which makes them very sick.
They are never given medical attention, so they wear the cruelty of their masters.
One such boy on Lake Volta is named Gideon. He is older than some and had spent many years under the viscious thumb of his slave master.
As IJM investigators came upon Gideon, and unlike some of the boys who were too scared to interact with a stranger, Gideon grabbed the arm of an investigator and said,
“Please come back for me. Look at my scars. My master is very cruel. Look at the scars of this very young boy with me. Please come back for me. Do not leave us here.”
Gideon’s story, shared in its completion for the first time at the GPG, will never leave me.
I listened to the IJM field director from Ghana share, teary-eyed, about their relentless pursuit of Gideon – just ONE boy out of thousands still on Lake Volta…
the response to Gideon’s plea..
“Please Come Back For Me…”
As over a thousand people prayed at the GPG 2014 for the rescue of Gideon,
those prayers were answered.
God delights in responding to our prayers.
His response may not look like we intended it to look, so we therefore pray in faith.
We need to pray more boldly.
And God’s heart is represented in IJM’s Ghana team in His relentless pursuit of each ONE of us.
While at the GPG, I bought an IJM mug.
I know – who needs another mug, right?
However, this mug has become my prayer mug.
And I sit with it every morning and I pray, boldly, and in faith, for those enslaved.
For the Gideons.
For all of those whose prayer is::
Please Come Back For Me.
**If you would like to join me in supporting the work of IJM in Ghana on Lake Volta, please go here **