Atlee Community Church in Mechanicsville recently held a three day Global Leadership Summit in the month of August. Over 350 people attended the event coming from 55 different churches. Speakers such as Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church and Pranitha Timothy, Director of Aftercare for International Justice Mission in Chennai, India were among the guest speakers invited. Richmond Justice Initiative Founder and Director, Sara Pomeroy was asked to speak as well during both morning services the Sunday of the event. The title of her message was – A Divine Interruption.
The service opened with the song by Chris Tomlin, We Raise Our White Flag…”The war is over, Love has come, Your love has won….This freedom song is marching on…” As the music played and the congregation sang – a video was televised showing some of the faces of victims of human trafficking. A Channel 12 interview of Sara discussing the issue of modern day slavery then followed as the music ended. Senior Pastor Jeff Boggess, of Atlee Community Church, made welcoming remarks and then introduced Sara as the speaker for the morning. This was to be a different presentation than Sara was use to delivering. This morning she would be delivering a sermon as opposed to her usual Power Point presentation. Sara opened by explaining how she first became interested in the issue of human trafficking – by watching a Podcast several years ago on an unrelated topic. Yet statistics on human trafficking were provided during that Podcast, and as Sara heard the horrific statistics and the issue was discussed, she felt God stirring in her heart to DO something. She experienced a “Divine Interruption”. Sara spoke from Acts 9:3-6 using the example of Paul’s first encounter with God on the road to Damascus. Paul, himself, on that walk was “divinely interrupted” – something that is completely unexpected and life transforming.
Sara explained to those who believed that slavery was an issue faced only in other countries far, far away – that slavery is occurring in all 50 states here in the U.S. – including Virginia. That slavery was not only occurring in Virginia, but that we are actually one of the worst states in the country with regard to human trafficking. Virginia was considered, until recently, to be one of the Dirty Dozen states.
Sara went on to share the devastating statistics of human trafficking stating that human trafficking is now in position to become the number one form of organized crime. “We need to be the generation of people that says, ‘this is not okay’ – then does something about it.” And that “who God calls – He equips”.
Sara stated that she never dreamed of becoming involved in an issue such as slavery, or that she would be in her current position as Founder and Director of a faith based, grass roots, human rights organization created for the purpose of ending this great evil. Nor has she ever been educated in any area to stop trafficking, not even a degree in social work. But it was a passion, a calling instilled in her heart from God that said, “You must respond to what you just heard.” “We are all equipped not by vocation, but by an encounter with God.”
Sara then began to research the subject to educate herself further on the issue. She found that most of the stories of cases of human trafficking came from the United States rather than from countries abroad. She encouraged the congregation to respond to that same divine interruption – that every single person could play a part in putting an end to slavery. “Church – we are the solution. There is no Plan B here. The church is anointed and equipped” to end this injustice.
Once Sara was called, once she became educated on this issue, she then began to look for the next steps. As Paul was given specific instructions after his encounter with God, Sara too found her Ananias. Her foundation for starting Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI) was from God telling her three things: 1) Sara, this is My hand – these are My people; 2) This will be done by no earthly effort but by My hand; and 3) I will give you your instructions on your knees in a place of prayer. She called the members of the congregation to pray for the victims of human trafficking and for the work of RJI.
Finally, what RJI is currently involved in was discussed. We are continuing to start other Justice Initiatives throughout the state, and the Prevention Project will soon begin in September at Hermitage High School. But there is still much more to do and that we will not stop until slavery is abolished. God hates injustice and He wants it to stop. “Do not be afraid or fear what God is calling you to do that in the natural does not fit into your comfort zone.” – Christina Nyczepir
Click here to watch video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ybyg1VpF0Yo