This story was a collaborative effort between International Justice Mission and The Rees-Jones Foundation, and was originally published by IJM in October of 2020.
When Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones sat in their church gym more than a decade ago listening to IJM Founder and CEO, Gary Haugen, speak on the work of IJM, they had no idea how passionate they would become about this cause.
“We knew absolutely nothing about IJM or modern-day slavery,” says Jan. “Gary showed a video of police rescuing young girls and he described and showed the horrors of these young girls being sold into sex slavery.” Trevor leaned over and whispered to Jan, “We need to help.”
From that day since, Jan and Trevor have been intentional in their commitment to support the mission of IJM.
When they learned more about IJM’s plan to abolish slavery by structurally transforming the systems that perpetuate it–the judiciary, the police, and all the agencies involved in law enforcement—Trevor recalls, “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding! This is impossible.’ But we know nothing’s impossible with the Lord. Jesus tells us, ‘What you do to the least of these, you do to me.’ To the extent that we could help relieve the suffering of victims with or without structural change, we were going to do that.”
Jan and Trevor had a unique opportunity of seeing IJM’s work in India. “You go into dark places and see dark things. But your passion grows when you realize you can participate with IJM and do something about the injustice,” says Jan.
“The people we’re trying to defeat are the worst of humanity,” says Trevor. “I have never witnessed anything as egregious and harmful to other human beings as the slavery happening in India.”
After returning to the U.S., Jan and Trevor were both convicted by the realities they had seen, and deeply committed to being a part of the solution. “While we are involved in a philanthropic relationship that provides financial support, without the men and women who join IJM–the work they do, trusting in the Lord and praying their way through it–without those efforts, nothing happens,” says Trevor. “There’s no doubt in my mind that IJM is using every dollar to its maximum potential in getting work done.”
Jan agrees: “We can see the progress IJM is making. Their mission has gone from proving that justice for the poor is possible to making justice for the poor unstoppable. We want to be part of ending slavery….”
“Most people are looking for a cause greater than themselves; something to make life worthwhile,” says Trevor. “How would you like to play even just a small role, which we would consider us playing, in abolishing slavery? I can’t think of a greater cause. You’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that’s as qualified and finer at their work than IJM.”
All of us at IJM are profoundly grateful for the Rees-Jones family and how they use their resources to help others – inspiring us to go and do likewise.
View the PDF version here: IJM Defending the Oppressed 2020 Sep