What a beautiful inspiration of God this book is. So many scriptures to back up defending the oppressed, so many examples of stories and experiences that Mr. Haugen encounters while working for International Justice Mission. This is very encouraging for those who have a heart for helping others out of oppression! Very well done! I enjoyed reading it!!!! I know a couple who worked for IJM in India for 3 years and saw many people freed from brick kilns and more. Such a beautiful organization and this is one of my all time favorite books.
This is the first book I have read about social injustice. It is interesting and convicting at the same time. The writing is interesting. The true stories told by the author captured my attention and helped me to understand both the enormity of the issue and also that we can all participate in the fight against abuse and oppression. It is convicting because even though I have heard and read the Bible passages about helping the poor, the weak, the fatherless, and the oppressed, I never seriously considered my response to this issue. I have always assumed that I could do nothing except to give of my financial resources. Now, I see that there is more that I can do.
I like the author's mixture of stories and scripture. I like his down-to-earth practicality and his ability to break down this issue into manageable concepts. He takes it from an overwhelming topic to one that can addressed. I appreciate his wisdom, his immersion into world injustice, and his response to the injustice that he has observed.
If you are involved at all in cross-cultural missions in any way, you really must read this book. Haugen was sent to Rwanda in 1994 as the director of the UN genocide investigation in Rwanda. After Haugen returned from there, his life was never the same again. His suburban lifestyle had been shaken up for good after he found himself, "standing in the middle of several thousand corpses in a muddy mass grave in a tiny African country called Rwanda?" (p. 21)
Instead of becoming bitter and pessimistic about the horrible conditions in the world and the terrible injustices, He started The International Justice Mission.
This is not an agenda-driven, politically correct organization that is concerned only with the injustices done to one class of people. Their work helps anyone they are able to help. They work through the legal systems, defending cases in the courts of the countries where their clients live. These are not your stereotypical attourneys, but are men and women who fight for justice on a case by case basis.
Their only agenda is justice for the oppressed while showing Christlike compassion.
Here are some quotes to give you the idea of what this man and his mission are about.
From chapter 1 - The Rage in Rwanda - A Suburban Christian Confronts Genocide
ASCENSION: COMING BACK FROM A HELL ON EARTH
Here Haugen compares some of his experiences in thrid world situations to Christ's ascention from the earth, full of sinfulness, to Heaven.
"I have treveled from the slippery mud and corpses of mass graves in Rwanda to my usual seat at the right hand of my neighbor on our dependably boring and climate-controlled bus ride to my office in Washington, D.C. I remember reclining on a comfortable living-room couch, among friends and family in California, talking about soaring real estate values in Oragne county when only days before I had been exhuming the remains of a woman raped and butchered by soldiers in the Philippines. Similarly, I recall watching from my train window as a low summer sun cast a Norman Rockwell glow across Little League fields in Connecticut when only days before I had been in a country where boys of a similar age but of a different color were being beaten like animals by the South African police."
He says that he felt the urge to make an announcement to his fellow commuters about what was happening in Rwanda. This urge, "came not from a desire to shock them but from a desire to somehow affirm for myself the human reality and relevance of my own experience. Could it really be true, and could it really have anything to do with me...?" (p. 23)
I have never been in such extreme situations as the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide, but I can relate to this kind of "ascencion" from the mission field back to the US. It is surreal, and no one can really know what you are talking about. It's not just that you understand that it really has nothing to do with them. It is also that you are not sure it had anything to do with you, and if it did, what do you do about it?
What Haugen did about it was found The Internation Justice Mission.
Haugen is truly spiritual, deeply thoughtful, and firmly Biblical in what he does.
Please read it. It is well written and fairly easy to read, even though it will challenge you.
One more quote:
"For the little Filipino girl abducted into prostitution, for the Pakistani boy chained to a weaving loom, for the Latin American widow pushed off her land and even for the African father rotting in his prison cell without a charge or a trial, we share Christ's saving love on the cross and the servant love of our hands. As it was in days of old, 'it will be a sign and awitness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them." (Isaiah 19:20).
"Here I am, Lord. Send me!'"
God will show us what it has to do with you and me if we make ourselves available to Him.