We have been in Romania now for almost four months. In that time much has been accomplished in the fight against human trafficking. Last week the Global President of IJM, along with the regional president and Vice-President visited the IJM Romania office for two days. In those two days we were able to share with them everything we have accomplished so far.
At the end of our time sharing and presenting on our work, the Global President sat back in his chair and commended us on all we had done. It felt good to be commended for the hard work of the past four months, it has been an incredibly busy and chaotic four months. But then, after commending us, he pointed to the map of Romania on the wall— he shook his head and said, “This is not the map that should be hanging on the wall. The map that should be hanging is the map of all of Europe. If what you are telling me is true, then this is not a Romania problem, this is a Europe problem and I think this office needs to go for the whole thing, the whole continent, not just Romania.”
He was right. What the research and data tells us is that it is a supply and demand issue. The majority of the supply for sex trafficking is women in poorer countries like Romania, and the demand sits in western countries like Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK. To only focus on Romania would actually be a challenge, because the problem is transnational at its core.
It got me thinking though about spheres of influence. If what the president said was true, and I believe it was, I think it is also true of our lives. We all have spheres of influence in our lives. You do not need to move to Africa or Eastern Europe to have an impactful sphere of influence. But, we must occassionally look at our spheres of influence and consider if we are dreaming big enough.
How big is the map you hang on the wall of your sphere of influence? How big is the vision that you have in your head of your mission field? As Christians we all live in a mission field of our choosing-- whether it is our work place, our home, our neighborhood or our community. How large we make our mission field is up to us. We often get to a point in our own personal spheres of influence, where we are complacent in wanting to expand it. Are we doing the best we can to love and encourage others towards Christ? Are we really doing the best we can to pursue God and live in faithful reliance on Him?
I want to encourage you, (just as I am internally challenging myself)-- get a bigger map, push yourself out of the comfort zone of your current sphere and journey into a bigger one. I’m not talking about journeying to a third world country, I’m talking about taking a step of faith within your neighborhood, within your work place, within you sphere of influence and expanding it.
This side of heaven I intend to surround myself with people who remind me to push myself out of my comfort zone, to expand my sphere of influence for the glory of God. What that looks like right now will be very different from what that looks like in three months or three years or three decades, and that’s okay. I am living each day in faithful trust and reliance on God to sustain me. We, as an office in Romania, are faithfully trusting in God to sustain the work we are doing. We cannot do it alone, and thank goodness we do not have to. Praise God that we are not alone, no matter the size of our sphere of influence.
After a long visa run (meaning I was having trouble with visa issues in Romania so I had to leave the country for a while and work from the IJM UK office) I am finally back in Bucharest with all my people! Working remotely for almost a month had its challenges, and I am happy to be back in the same office as my co-workers on a daily basis. I arrived back about two weeks ago and we hit the ground running, so I am just finally coming up for air to say hello and thank you for the continued prayers.
I want to finish my year with IJM strong. I need your help, prayers, and encouragement in this. There is so much to look forward to once I am home, but I need to keep my focus right here for right now. I only have about five weeks left and in those five weeks there is a lot to be accomplished-- I really desire to continue to do my job well in these next five weeks. Prayers are appreciated, for me and also for the Romania team.
Days left in the field: 34
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