There are two kinds of freedom in this world. Freedom of your body, from harm and control by external forces. And freedom of your mind, from thoughts that plague your sense of worthiness, your disserving of peace, and your right to love and prosperity.
In Nepal, the “Haliya system” was responsible for the enslavement of indigenous people through bond slavery. Forced to work in homes and on farms, this community suffered oppression, abuse, and vulnerability of the highest order. When the government formally abolished slavery in 2008, it was a step in the right direction, but not the end. The newly liberated people desperately needed support and resources.
Around 20,000 people have been freed from their indentured lives, but rehabilitation and incorporation into society as independent citizens isn’t something that happens with the flip of a switch. Bonded laborers are impoverished, sometimes illiterate, and spiritually destitute after a lifetime of discrimination. They cannot be expected to seamlessly integrate back into society. It is in this effort that Mission ONE Partners in Nepal have sought to provide support. These local organizations through the Global Church help integrate gospel from a position of cultural understanding. As local citizens, the Mission ONE team members contextualize the teachings to fit the needs of the members.
Jamuna’s Story: Widow, Freed Bonded-Slave Finds Dignity in God’s Grace
When Jamuna was liberated from the bonds of slavery, she found herself faced with many new challenges. She’d lost her husband and had no one to care for her, but finding dignified work and the confidence to pursue a life that was truly her own did not come easily. Jamuna had to overcome the mental and spiritual hurdle of believing she was more than a servant.
Through the Mission ONE partners and patrons like you, Jamuna is learning that all are worthy in the eyes of God. She is discovering that Christ’s love is for everyone and that through His vision, a new destiny can be formed that is not determined by her previous circumstances.
According to a study on Modern Day Slavery Survivors, PTSD is almost always a factor in addressing the mental health concerns of newly liberated individuals such as Jamuna. It takes time and delicate understanding of the change in environment, both external and internal, to properly provide support. Money isn’t enough. Assurances aren’t enough. So it is with deep intention and careful introduction that the gospel is brought to those who may be entering life making their own choices for the first time as adults. Our partners in Nepal are having to consider not just the visible scars left behind by this sort of cruelty, but also the impact it has on a person’s self-worth. To become educated in God’s teachings is to become educated in your own heart. It is vital work to understand that you are not forsaken and that a higher power is available to take on pain and anger and suffering so as to liberate you further from thoughts of inadequacy and doubt.
At some point in our lives, I think any of us can think of a time where we felt less than, undeserving, and distant from God’s love. In these difficult times, many are questioning what they’ve done to earn such harsh outcomes. Whether you’ve suffered extreme human rights violations or you’re struggling with mental health issues and feelings of inadequacy, it’s important that we tend to our spiritual well-being with intention and patience.
In the same way, a muscle isn’t built over a day at the gym, your faith may take more than a single day at church. It’s an ongoing battle to claim your God-given value and believe that it’s true. There will be days where you falter. Days where you’re hurt. Days where you question your purpose. But you are here for a reason. Jamuna is here for a reason. God picked each and every one of you. Take divine joy in that reality and allow yourself to embrace your purpose. It may only be calling out at you with a whisper, desperate for acknowledgment in a crowded world of wants and demands. As you allow yourself to focus on what you’re being called to, the whisper will become a conversation, then the conversation will become a mighty roar.
We are abundantly grateful for the opportunity to witness Jamuna finding her gifts in the comfort of the Lord. We wish the same for everyone who has lost sight of their worthiness in this or any other hard time. We encourage you to keep trusting that there are no wasted humans and no boundaries for those who embrace their place in this world as chosen by the creator.
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3 Ways to Honor God on Your Next Mission Trip
We're sharing three things you should consider before you organize or participate in an international mission trip, seek to do work in the multicultural neighborhood in your own city, or embark on any cross-cultural partnership.