Twenty-eight students, faculty, and staff attended the Global Prayer Gathering, sponsored by International Justice Mission (IJM) in Washington, D.C., recently.
The Bryan delegation to the Global Prayer GatheringBen Norquist, director of faith and mission, said the gathering was a time of learning about the work of IJM and praying for enslaved persons around the world. “We prayed a lot, worshipped a lot, and listened a lot as IJM staff talked about their work and struggles in the field,” he said.
A highlight for the Bryan delegation was meeting with Stepheny Petitte, a Bryan graduate in the Class of 2010 who is an IJM staff member who works in England. “Stepheny was in the class the first year we went. Now she is an employee of IJM and was able to give back to students who are in the place she was six years ago,” Mr. Norquist said.
IJM operates in more than a dozen countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. Its mission is “to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law,” according to its website.” Prayer is a very important part of the ministry, Mr. Norquist said. “Much of the justice community is very action-oriented, and tends to neglect the spiritual disciplines. But that has been a priority of Gary Haugen, president and founder of IJM. The Global Prayer Gathering is an expression of IJM’s commitment to prayer as a pillar of justice.”
Among students attending were those who plan to complete Acts Project internships this summer, and students planning to participate in a human trafficking study trip to Cambodia in May.
The value of the Global Prayer Gathering was different for the two groups, Mr. Norquist said. “The Acts Project interns are already oriented toward the Great Commission. They got to see some other things the church is prioritizing around the world. I think students planning to go to Cambodia had a different experience. Those students seem to have a desire for taking care of and advocating for the least of these. The Global Prayer Gathering took them to the wellspring, to God and His purpose in the world. In the end, it is not us who does the work, but God who saves people to be part of His spiritual family and brings perpetrators to justice.”
The 2013 gathering was the sixth that a Bryan delegation has attended.