This Christmas, we invite you to consider supporting the work of the International Justice Mission (IJM). Some of our neighbours put on a Christmas Tour in 2019 that raised one hundred thousand dollars as a few thousand people walked through their decorated homes in Mount Lehman. It’s happening again this year, and we (Steve and Evy) have been invited to participate. So, our home will be part of the tour, and Evy has chosen to decorate around the theme of childlike wonder. Why this theme?
When we were first invited to participate, I (Evy) felt very stressed about making our home look fancy enough to be showcased in a Christmas light tour. One of our neighbours encouraged me to “do what’s fun for you.” But for me, fun and decorating for Christmas didn’t belong in the same sentence, especially if people were coming to see my decor. Then, I began reflecting upon my own experience at our spring MARK Centre retreat with Paul Young and Jamie and Donna Winship. At this retreat, we focused on listening to our true identity. As the youngest of five, I sometimes felt like I had to prove I was not just a little girl. At this retreat, however, I was invited to be myself – a little girl living in the expansive kingdom to which we all belong.
Considering that identity, I decided to invite people into childlike wonder as they walk through our house. Then, our friend Alaine offered to help by creating an area filled with teddy bears. At the same time, I (Steve) was reading a book called Terrify No More by the founder of IJM, Gary Haugen. Little did Alaine or Evy know, but one of the fantastic covert operations IJM created to set children free from sexual slavery was called The Teddy Bear Project. When this project successfully rescued five to ten-year-old girls from the horrors of being sexually enslaved in a brothel, one of the first things they received when they arrived at a safe new home was…teddy bears! Watching the girls playing as they entered into childlike wonder was very touching for IJM staff members.
I (Evy) have had so much fun crafting and making bi-weekly visits to the Christmas section at the MCC thrift store. I feel as though I have received permission to play. So, this Christmas, as people walk through our neighbourhood in Mount Lehman – and in our house through Teddy Bear Land, Snowman Forest and Christmas Mountain – we will celebrate how IJM enables children worldwide to be rescued and experience childlike wonder again.
Suppose you come to Mount Lehman this Christmas. In that case, this is what you will be supporting – an organization that is working with police forces and governments around the world to oppose human trafficking and see women, girls and boys rescued and restored. Hope to see you there!
with wonder & gratitude,
Steve & Evy Klassen