“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28: 19-20
Some respond to this call by serving unreached people groups in China, India, Thailand, Africa and the Philippines, as part of the world-wide movement to translate the Word of God into native languages. When no Bible translation is available for certain dialects, such as in the remote jungles of Thailand, missionaries improvise, devising puppet shows, dance and plays to act out the Gospel in ways that transcended language barriers.
In the highly-populated cities of the world, there are other barriers to overcome. Forces of darkness keep people oppressed and wounded. The poor and vulnerable are held captive, literally, victims of human slavery and sex-trafficking. Jesus fulfilled the prophesy in Isaiah 61:1, “to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Christ-followers and other humanitarians continue this mandate, fighting injustice around the world.
Here in San Francisco, however, we see through the lense of the Western values we hold. Among agencies and care organizations, influential circles of generous givers, Christians and otherwise, there are underlying biases, an unspoken assumption that folks choose their life circumstances. They made their beds. They chose to be addicted, unemployed, homeless. Pan-handlers and scammers surround us. You hear stories about a homeless person that was offered and refused a place to live because they preferred living on the street. Our perspective, informed by economics and work ethic, rests on the subconscious belief that performance and functionality determine human value.
We are positively motivated to give by stories of transformation – the addict that is now a PHD, leading a NGO that helps other addicts; the former sex worker who got sober, got a place to live and now helps others stay clean. The girl from a broken, mentally ill family that finally got a job and can now support herself. These are the success stories we are looking for.
What about those who are too wounded to make big, positive transitions? Are they worth investing in, with so little measurable indications of success? From what we can discern about the heart of God, His admonitions about caring for the widow and orphan, the answer is “yes.”
When going into all the world, we start right here. In the heart of San Francisco, living hidden in plain sight, there are marginalized women that are essentially unreached. Because Justice Matters is a mission called to these.
What translation do we use to reach someone who has been traumatized? How do we preach the Gospel to those who have experienced Rape, Domestic Violence, Prostitution, Addiction, Mental Illness, Homelessness, often all of the above? Our translation of the Gospel is enacted through hospitality, compassion, and friendship. By consistently demonstrating the unconditional love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. By sharing the hope that transforms, we are preaching the Gospel one cup of coffee at a time. Through persistent intersession and life-giving community, we are pushing back the forces of darkness and setting captives free. Right here in our own city.
Join us. You don’t have to be a missionary, a social worker or travel to far away countries. You can join us as a volunteer, an intercessor, a donor, or an advocate. Your engagement is an integral part of God’s transformative work. The love of God is a free gift. Receive it. Share it.