Jessi Tidmore has lived in North Texas for more than twenty-four years. She attended the University of North Texas where she met her husband, Austin. They have been married for seven years and have three daughters: Hailey and Hannah (twins) and London. Their family is actively involved at The Village Church where they serve as home group leaders. Their group seeks to live in authentic Christian community and serves together in refugee outreach ministry. Jessi is the Student Coordinator for the IJM Dallas Volunteer Leadership Team and feels called to utilize that role to mobilize the church in Dallas-Fort Worth to effectively join in the fight to end slavery.
I first learned of IJM in 2016 at my local church during Freedom Sunday. I was captivated by the three-minute video overview and knew in that moment that I could dedicate my life to the mission of the organization. This was not the first anti-trafficking organization I had encountered. It also was not the first “good organization doing amazing things” that was shared with me either. I must confess that I passed on many great opportunities to serve the least of these both globally and locally. This was simply a providential moment, one that for many reasons I should have missed, but didn’t. At the time I had a thirteen-month-old daughter and two-year-old twin girls. We were touch and go at church at the time due to illness, nap schedules, and the general drowning sensation of having three children under three. But God . . .
He had an appointment set for me to learn about IJM as He had prepared my heart to hear and act that day. Over the coming months I learned what I could about IJM and found a friend to start a local advocacy group with. We were then invited to join the Dallas Volunteer Leadership Team in December 2016. Through this work, I have used my current network to create opportunities to share about the problem of slavery and the mission of IJM. Primarily I use the persistent character God has bestowed me, along with communication and coordinating skills. If you knew me, you would know that I have a mousy voice and a fear of speaking, not just in front of large crowds but in general. Yet God has emboldened me to use my small voice for His glory, speaking passionately on behalf of those who are enslaved, voiceless, and without hope. I now raise my voice to my elected officials, audiences, teachers, students, and really anyone who will listen. I do so because I believe that justice for the poor is unstoppable, and I recognize that to end slavery all forces of good must rally together to strategically fight it.
It is my prayer that God would prepare your heart to both hear and act. It is not enough to just hear. God’s desire is for justice—for wholeness in kind with His holiness—and His children are the agents of His justice. We should not take the words of Matthew 25:31–46 lightly. Jesus is favorable toward those who show justice and act kindly toward the oppressed. In stark contrast, His wrath is evident toward those who prey upon the weak, and even more jarring, toward those who stand idly by and do nothing.
As one chased down by Jesus and given the hope of abundant life, the calling of proclaiming the kingdom of God is sobering, but it is also purposeful and lifegiving. We have been given the opportunity to usher others from darkness into light, the kingdom of heaven to be experienced, even if in part, in the brokenness of this current age. This task is worth giving our whole selves. This is worth personal sacrifice, letting go of comfort and “me time.”
Would you stand beside me and use your time, talents, and voice to bring freedom and restoration to even the least of these?
To find out how you can join Jessi in using your voice and volunteering for IJM in your community, visit www.ijm.org/get-involved/volunteer/.