On Wednesday April 20th, 2016, I had the immense honor of traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in the Global Prayer Gathering, a two day conference on April 22nd and 23rd. This yearly conference highlights the accomplishments of the International Justice Mission, a Christian organization fighting on the front lines for the end of human trafficking.
As an active member of an IJM chapter on my college campus, I happily agreed to take the 14 hour trek to Washington D.C. for the weekend. Plus, let’s be real, anything to get out of a day of classes. (Shoutout to the ladies who drove all of us there, you rock!) The trip itself began by listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and was uneventful other than a weird time at Steak and Shake. It was still delicious and we got free fries. 10/10
Thursday evening, we arrived at our hotel in College Park, Maryland and spent our evening exploring the college campus. It’s odd how, as a college student, being on a college campus is a rather comforting feeling because even if it’s not your own campus, you still feel a sense of peace and belonging in the environment. The beautiful campus was lined in trees and filled with picturesque buildings and gorgeous people. Yes, all of those students were extremely well dressed and I’m pretty sure there was a formal event that night, but I would like to believe that they would attend class looking that classy. We wandered campus discussing life and trying to find the arts building and figuring out if there was a chapter of my sorority. (There is!) And, after we’d had our fill of the campus and dinner, we headed home to prepare for the early morning ahead of us.
We left early Friday morning to take the metro into the conference area. Like very early. Like I can’t function at that hour early. Alas, we made it safe a sound and were ready to learn. We checked in, very eager, and eventually made our way to the large conference room filled with chairs surrounding a stage occupied by a band. Each large group session opened and closed in worship songs and meaningful prayer. This intimate prayer several times a day was such an inspiration to my own prayer-life and I am so grateful for that.
We gathered together to learn about all of the work being done on large scales where the founder/CEO and other representatives from IJM worldwide would share their experiences in all fields of work with IJM and human trafficking. These large group sessions provided a lot on insight, hope, and inspiration. In addition to these, we were also given very official name badges that displayed when we needed to go to our assigned prayer rooms.
These prayer rooms contained a representative from the designated country. They told us stories of the country and what has been happening there. They also gave us a list of specific prayer requests for that area. I personally learned so much about the areas and how much is actually happening that we don’t hear about. I had so many wonderful encounters in those prayer rooms, praying with others and feeling the love of God for me and the hearts for justice that surrounded me.
I was so deeply touched by this experience and it’s uniqueness is something that could never be recreated, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn about faith and justice. For more information, you can read this book by the founder of IJM or learn more on their website.