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Breaking the Yoke

By: Tennille Shin

This past weekend I watched the two-part documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide on PBS.com.

The documentary grew out of the overwhelming response to the book of the same name by authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky is an account of inspiring and courageous individuals who confront global oppression head-on. It focuses on gender-based violence, specifically against women, that is seen on a worldwide front. The documentary is both heart-breaking as you see the depth and expanse of gender-based violence, and inspiring as you meet women who have not only overcome but dedicated their lives to making a difference for other young girls and women.

Watching this documentary was a call to action. We must do more as Christians in our communities and worldwide to “break the yoke” of injustice and oppression (Isaiah 58:6). Yet, there was one overwhelming aspect of this documentary that left me wanting.  Yes, there must be a clarion call to rescue girls from sex slavery, female genital mutilation, lower education standards, abuse, and violence, among many other social ills. But it cannot stop with the breaking of the physical yoke only. There must also be the breaking of the spiritual bondage that seeks to encircle us all. There must be an everlasting hope, not just a temporal hope, shown to these women and girls. This is true “welfare ministry,” as Ellen White calls it.

This reminds me of what Team Revolution is about. As our handbook says, “The purpose of The Team is to assist Bonders in (1) promoting the teachings of scripture regarding human health and the practical application of loving our neighbor, (2) providing opportunities for members to apply and advance the Christian message of scripture in the community, (3) raising awareness and support for local and global humanitarian causes and missions. (Emphasis mine.) Revolution Missions continues this by stating the desire and focus to “[raise] awareness of neglected areas in ministry.” Certainly, gender-based violence is one of them.

While Revolution Missions will choose one international partnership and a handful of local missions for our athletes to participate in, don’t let your call to welfare ministry stop there. Ask yourself, What can I do in my own community with my own personal time and resources to break the physical and spiritual yoke of the oppressed and needy? Make Isaiah 58:6 your personal mission statement and let’s change the world.