Enjoy this new feature, sponsored by the HOPE61 Facebook page.
Since February 2011 Allison Gilmore has been called names. The most recent one being: “Office Manager.” Although Allison has only been a part of One Mission Society(OMS) for a little over a year, the rest of HOPE61 staff considers her essential. Interns, who spent only two months working with Allison, agreed.
Kayla Jo Parks, one of the four HOPE61 interns this summer, said Allison “wears joy on her face…[and] keeps all the loose ends tied together!”
Making contacts with churches, coordinating appointments, and managing HOPE61 finances are typical responsibilities for an office manager, but Allison’s work goes beyond. She also wrote the HOPE61 children’s curriculum that made its premier this summer, taught by the interns in three Greenwood-area churches. Until recently Allison was sole maintainer of the department Facebook page and monthly prayer letters.
Allison spent seven years as a teacher but at the start of her eighth year she realized it was time for something new. Allison considered a multitude of ways to be a part of missions, “from child sponsorship to anti-human trafficking.” Then a cousin filled her in on OMS and HOPE61.
Allison sees anti-trafficking as missionary work, stating that Christianity means showing love to the hurting. As a HOPE61 homeland missionary Allison sees herself as a part of ensuring full restoration to the trafficked and abused. Restoration, she adds, “Which is only complete in Christ.” Working in the HOPE61 office, Allison said she realizes her own views have shifted. “Before, I saw it [justice] as strictly law enforcement, upholding peace…Now I see it as God wanting justice for all mankind, not wanting to see hurt happen to His people.” She added that followers of Jesus are an avenue for creating and upholding justice.
Human trafficking first came into Allison’s view via Christian singer Natalie Grant, who advocates for anti-trafficking work. Allison and her husband work with teenagers at their church; something that let the reality of trafficking’s horror soak in.
“I think about my nieces and nephews and cousins and girls that I work with.” She said.
Imagining the young people she knows having their own innocence torn away was a driving force to work in anti-trafficking. Allison voiced her concern for all young people to have the chance to see love the right way, the way God spoke it into being. As human beings created with the dignity of God’s own image (Genesis 1:26-27), victims of trafficking – from sex trafficking to labor slavery to child soldiers – deserve that chance, too.
HOPE61 also stands firm in that belief. Allison sees the ministry as unique from other anti-trafficking groups because of the focus on prevention, awareness, and ending the demand for trafficking. HOPE61 works with Christians to provide the Biblical motivation for justice. The “61” in the name HOPE61 stands for Isaiah 61, a chapter Jesus Christ used to begin his ministry in Nazareth. Allison stated this scripture, particularly verses one through three, as especially speaking to her heart on justice and dignity.
Most missionaries in justice ministries would admit the issues sometimes grow overwhelming. In those times, Allison finds herself returning to the greatness of God and knowing “that even as one person [I] can make a difference.”
In her continued work with HOPE61 Allison looks forward to taking a greater hand in planning events. She also plans to create more awareness in the area where she lives, particularly among the people she is already connected with. In emphasizing awareness, Allison and the rest of HOPE61 also realize the value of the awareness of freedom.
Allison said, “Freedom, to me, is no longer being held captive to sin; the right to say what you believe, the right to choose who and where you want to worship…[and] a right relationship with Christ.”
What does freedom mean to you?
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