A message from our founder
“She could have been me.”
Those words echoed through my 14 year-old mind as I sat there in a comfy church pew, listening to a woman tell a story about another 14 year-old girl in India.
She had a family. Just like me.
She went to school. Just like me.
She had dreams for her future. Just like me.
But those dreams were all shattered when she was taken, sold into slavery, and raped. Over and over again.
Months later, she was rescued and taken in by a ministry that helped her heal and get back on her feet again – but she would never be the same. Her childhood innocence had been stolen. Her family wanted nothing to do with her. Because she had contracted AIDS, she could never get married and have children of her own.
The only thing she ever wanted in life, was ripped from her. And that was the very same thing I wanted, and knew that one day I could still have.
But like a bullet to the heart, the realization hit me that she could have been me.
Something came alive in me that day. A compassion. A passion. A call.
And I didn’t even know it.
But sure enough, two years later I found myself in India – the country with the most slaves in the world – approximately 14 million. I felt helpless. I was surrounded by so much evil and brokenness. But God used that trip to further awaken me to what He was preparing me for.
Two more years passed, I graduated high school, and continued to be more and more involved in raising awareness in my community about the issue of slavery. In March 2013, I spoke at a fundraising event that I helped organize. That night, God confirmed in my heart that He was calling me to commit my life to this cause. I didn’t know what that looked like, or how little 5’ 3”, 105 lb me could actually make a difference. But I knew I could not sit back and do nothing. I had to do something. Something of lasting impact. Something far bigger than myself. Something only God could do.
I prayed about it for 6 months. I thought through all the different ways I could get involved. But I didn’t feel like God was calling me to any of them. Then like a knock at my door, the thought came to me – I could start a non-profit.
Hahaha. HA. Yeah. Sure.
Where did I come up with that idea?
Ohhhhh… I didn’t. God did.
…Where did You come up with that idea, God? I mean… really??
I don’t even know how to change my own flat tire, let alone start and run a non-profit.
Good one, God… but I think you got the wrong girl for that assignment. Try the next house down.
Two weeks later: knock, knock, knock.
Start a non-profit.
*Face palm. I’m willing, God, just not capable! But okay, I’ll think about it.
So I called my pastor, and told him my idea… excuse me, God’s idea.
My pastor said, “I think it’s a great idea, and I think you should do it.”
Knock, knock, knock, knock.
Okay God, I’m listening. So what is it that You want me to do, again?
Three months later, on December 17, 2013, Just1 was started. And I was still asking that very same question to God: so what is it that You want me to do? The truth is, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew why I was doing it – but I didn’t know how, or when, or what. You know – all the important stuff. Or at least what I thought was important. But I quickly learned that what God thought was important was very different. He wasn’t concerned with the how, when, or what. All He needed was my willing heart and hands. I had given Him that a long time ago, but started to look to my own abilities and capabilities. He said that didn’t matter. Even though I am not capable, HE is capable. Even though I am not able, HE is able.
So without all the answers and the step-by-step plans laid out – I said yes.
That yes has taken me on quite an amazing journey, and it is still just beginning. Just1 is becoming a beautiful organization of life, color, hope, and redemption. It is not happening over night. But rarely do God-sized dreams ever happen over night. I know now that God is more concerned about the journey rather than the destination. He is more concerned about the one that we impact along the way rather than the millions we hope to impact one day. It’s not that He doesn’t want us to reach the millions – because He does. But He is a here and now kind of God. Who can we bring freedom and hope to right NOW? Who can we love right NOW?
To that one, freedom will mean everything.
So it’s for the one, that I raise my voice. It’s for the one, that I take a stand. And it’s for the one, that I fight.
I’m asking you to join me. Fight for the one – because just one is worth fighting for.
Together, we can end slavery one life at a time.
For the one,