Moving From Awareness To Action-The Mercy Project

wordpress tmpwordpress tmp2>Guest Blog- Written by Tonia Baird CEO of The Mercy Project

Have you ever looked at where you are in life and thought, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think this is where I’d be or what I’d be doing.”? I think that is exactly what each of the six co-founders of The Mercy Project ATL has thought at least once over the past year. The thing is, we know exactly how we got here and why we’re doing what we’re doing.

It all began in a small group, about two years ago, where we started out reading and discussing a book called, The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us?, by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. Through his book, the DVD sessions, and God’s Word, we learned about the injustices of poverty and slavery throughout the world, how we ignore Jesus’ command to help the poor and needy, and that fighting these injustices is what He has called each of us to do. We continued on by learning more about modern-day slavery by reading books about forced labor and sex trafficking, attending education/awareness events, and getting involved with other local organizations.

We knew, after learning all that we did, that we had to Do Something. The cofounders, Casey Carroll, Marsha James, Elizabeth Kier, Jessica Smith, Amy Syck, and I started meeting regularly to pray and talk about what God was calling us to do with everything we had learned over the past several months. We started reading more about the issue of human trafficking in the U.S. and overseas. We studied God’s Word and what it says over and over again about what we, as followers of Christ, are to do about the injustices in the world. A couple verses kept coming back to us:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
That is how we found our name, The Mercy Project ATL, and we developed the following mission statement, “The Mercy Project seeks to open the hearts and minds of our community to the growing problem of modern-day slavery both here in metro Atlanta and worldwide. We seek to unify Christians and pursue true worship of God as talked about in Isaiah 58:6-7 by freeing the chains of those unjustly enslaved. We strive to accomplish this with educational outreach, anti-slavery partnerships, financial contributions, and direct service to victims. We are dedicated to ending one of the greatest human tragedies of our time.”

The Mercy Project ATL is now spreading awareness through quarterly meetings where guest speakers from other organizations talk about the issue of modern-day slavery and how people can help. We are leading monthly poster campaigns where we gather a group of volunteers and go to areas where there are known instances of sex trafficking and talk to business owners, managers, and employees about the issue, and hang up posters that provide more information and provide a hotline number that victims can call to be rescued. We organize quarterly networking luncheons for local organizations to get together, share what they are currently working on, and to encourage one another.

Our main goal is to unite Christians in the fight to end modern-day slavery. To do that, we are helping to facilitate Freedom Events at Atlanta area churches. The pastors are speaking to their congregations about the injustice of modern-day slavery happening in Atlanta and around the world and teaching them what God’s Word says we are to do about it. We don’t want anyone leaving and thinking, “now what do I do?”. We have partnered with several other organizations so that we can provide opportunities for the congregation to get involved right away. We believe these events are critical in building long-term relationships with the churches and motivating Christians to get involved in the fight to end slavery once and for all.

The Mercy Project ATL is also working with Impact Ministries to raise funds for both organizations by holding a raffle for a 2013 Kia Optima or $20,000 cash! This is an exciting opportunity for us as it will help us to expand our reach in Georgia and in other areas of the world. Raffle tickets will be available online at for $20 each starting August 1st. You can also purchase tickets from any one of The Mercy Project ATL members. The drawing is planned for October, but there’s only 7500 tickets available, so once they’re sold, we’ll go ahead and pick the winner.
If you would like learn more about The Mercy Project ATL or our Freedom events:
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