Fulfill the Great Commission, Part 2—BIG UPDATE WITHIN!
“When a street kid goes missing nobody does anything about it at all.” This truth weighed on James and his wife, Shannon, after moving to India as missionaries. They thought they were going to fulfill the great commission in orphanages, and they did, but God was leading them to a bigger picture. They were told about the homeless and parentless children who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which left 224,898 dead or missing. Many of the street kids who gathered together for protection and community were whisked away by supposed relief busses—but were taken as slaves.
“They were gone. And nobody knew what happened… except people who work in this field of anti-trafficking. So our hearts just started going out to them. Then we ran into two kids who were about to be trafficked. Their mom was dying of aids, and begged the orphanage director, ‘If you don’t take my sons, my husband is going to sell them. He already has a contract with the transvestite community.'” This was when the problem hit too close to home. James and Shannon Doherty had to do something to protect these two boys and save them from slavery.
Empowerment. Freedom. Dignity.
“Poverty is the number one cause of this. The drive comes from pornography, and the supply comes from impoverished ones.” This is why the Doherty’s founded Dignata (Dignata.org) which restores dignity, frees trafficked women and children, and protects them from going back into slavery. It began as an initiative to help the impoverished have a source of income by teaching a marketable skill like jewelry-making.
Dignata helps people get out of bondage and pays them a living wage (enough for a home, food, medical attention, and transportation) and then sells the jewelry they make to support the program continuing. As people join with Dignata for assistance, they are shown the love of Christ and have an opportunity to follow in His ways. James and Shannon Doherty, and people like them, are the ones Jesus spoke of when He said this:
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
—Matthew 25:37-40 NASB
The word spread about Dignata and they were asked to take the program to Riga, Latvia and the red-light district in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Before long they couldn’t handle the demand themselves and God gave them a vision—to train up a generation of missionaries.
The Normal Christian Life
James and Shannon might be a great example, but they’re normal people (not to mention, with three cute little-ones at their heels). What made this ordinary family do something extraordinary was submitting their hearts to the Holy Spirit, and following Him wherever He said to go. When I visited their school in Montana, James told me he’s employed by God. I think that’s the key to being extraordinary. Most people don’t consider themselves able to make a difference in the world, but…
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.
—1 Corinithians 12:36-40 NLT
We’re all called to fulfill the great commission, and Jesus said the harvest is plentiful. But He also said the workers are few (Luke 10:2). Dignata’s Justice and Transformation School is James and Shannon’s response. God’s using them to send people out into those ripe fields. Not only to recreate what they’ve done with the fight against human trafficking (although you can do that) but to follow God on the adventure He bids you come.
Have you thought about going on a missions trip, or been impassioned to share the good news? Would you prayerfully consider applying to Dignata’s school, being an intern, or supporting them with a short-term mission on their beautiful campus in Montana? Even if you’re not called to step out in that way, you can also show support by donating, buying survivor-made jewelry, or simply liking and sharing this post and their posts on Facebook.
How You and I Can Fulfill the Great Commission
Like James and Shannon did, put yourself in a position for God to use you, expect Him to bring something to your attention, and have the courage to act on it. If you do that, wherever you are, God will use you in amazing ways to fulfill His purposes. I understand wanting to stay comfortable (and some are called to stay right here), but our King deserves to be glorified in all the earth, so we should “go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).”
God directed Trinna and me to attend Dignata’s school shortly after telling us to take the Gospel into a foreign land. So we’re picking up our family and following Him away from home and job, into new territory. Our family’s going to be employed by God. That’s why we need people like you as ministry partners for prayer and financial support. Any offering you give (whether intercession, encouragement, or donation) is unto the Lord and sows into the heavenly kingdom.