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Set the Stage

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I know–finally–a blog!  I am posting this email that I wrote July 15, 2011 to set the stage for this blog.  Sorry for the faux entry.  I promise that thoughts, stories, and updates will be forthcoming now that I have broken the proverbial blog ice.  So, check back and let me know you’re out there!

July 15, 2011
Hello friends and family,

I am sorry for the delay in updates! My desire is to communicate well and have each of you along side me–and for me to be involved with you, too!

I have submitted my notice at my job so the news is now public. I have been offered the position of Structural Transformation Fellow in the Ugandan field office of International Justice Mission. International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, perpetrator prosecution, and the promotion of functioning public justice systems.

I attended IJM’s June training week in Washington DC and soaked in the theology, background, mission and work of IJM–it was like a dream! I met three others who will be in my Ugandan team, plus my Africa support staff stationed in DC. It is truly a remarkable, respectable and professional organization, created to respond to God’s heart to seek justice and care for the oppressed.

I will be spending August and September in the DC area researching court administration procedures in rural Virginia courts. I will be driving out to DC in two weeks. For this upcoming two months of research, please pray that I would be like a sponge to soak up as much information as I can! There is a LOT to learn and understand and I pray that God would prepare the way so I would be effective and faithful in joining the mission of making public justice work for Ugandans. Pray for me to be drawn to my Rescue, Jesus, who delights to then set us free to rescue others.

IJM’s case work in Uganda revolves around illegal property seizure in which widows lose their property and livelihood through violence, intimidation, fraud. My team will work to identify administrative and procedural improvements to make this young public justice system work better for the poor. It is estimated that 30% of widows and orphans in SubSaharan Africa have been victimized following the death of a husband or spouse. I will be working with a team to consider– How can the system be changed to prevent this from happening??

This is an unpaid position. If you feel led, I would be humbled and thankful for you to join me in funding this 14-month mission of my basic living expenses and airfare. You may make a contribution through IJM’s website. Select my name in the drop down menu and any money you donate on my behalf will be transferred to my account–and it is a tax write off for you! Also, check to see if your company is a partner–matching dollar for dollar.

Thank you for your encouragement and support. There is much more I can say–if you want to know more of my story or about IJM and their casework or the exciting and quantifiable results of what happens when authorities enforce the laws of their land or the theology and mission–please ask. I plan on to blog–it is on my to-do list! PLEASE keep in touch–I can’t stand thinking about growing apart from any of you over the next year.

Seek justice. Correct oppression. Bring justice to the fatherless. Plead the widow’s case. –Isaiah 1:17

Love,
Natalie

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