By Bethany Gump. Bethany is an intern for Gospel Justice Initiative who is in her senior year at The University of Akron in Ohio. She plans to attend law school after graduation.
Several years ago, I entered a school building as the only Gump in that school. My three older siblings had graduated and gone to college. I wondered how I would occupy my time and so decided to join Public Forum Debate. During that year of learning how to legally argue to a judge, my father forcefully retired and had his pension and healthcare stripped away. As a young student, I did not understand the full implications of this travesty, but I watched as my dad, and the thousands of others who share his story, hired lawyers in order to restore justice. Knowing I had an interest in the legal field, my dad brought me with him to Federal Court hearings and allowed me to read over products of those decisions.
Two years later, I began my college career at The University of Akron and therefore began walking by beggars on a daily basis. I related these beggars to those I had met in Burkina Faso, Africa realizing that what they needed went far beyond a federal reserve note (money). They needed their hope restored. And if my dad could utilize the justice system we’re blessed to have in America, why couldn’t they?
While many think of justice as condemnation, justice is actually the restoring of something back to its fair and rightful place. While in Africa, Psalms 82:3 became a verse that I found myself meditating on and distracted by and I didn’t understand why. But during that trip, it hit me – it was a calling, a commandment. To defend the weak and the fatherless, to uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed. And to do so with my aptitude for law. In 2011, my fire was officially ignited to serve the poor and weak and to act as their shield to defend them. (Fun fact: Esquire comes from the Latin word for shield.)
Four years later, I find myself writing this blog sitting as an intern at headquarters of Gospel Justice Initiative in Elgin, IL. I’m not sure where God will take me after I graduate, but I do know God has given me an unshakable passion to serve His children in a legal capacity. So if I may, I have two challenges that I constantly ask myself and would like to share: (1) What God given passion do you have and what are you doing about it? (2) Will I be like Abraham, Jonah, or Bruce Strom and follow Jesus no matter what the cost?
The work here at Administer Justice and Gospel Justice Initiative is changing the lives of its workers and its clients daily, all through the Holy Spirit. During my 48-hour stay here, I spoke to an attorney who is fighting to reduce the penalty the IRS is inflicting on her due to the lies of her ex-husband. Bruce Strom and the rest of the team at GJI have goals to increase the amount of Justice Centers from 13 to 30 in the next year, with a final goal of 1000. A Justice Center needs translators, prayer warriors, hospitality workers, bakers, paralegals, and lawyers. My passion may be for the law, but what is your passion? I promise you that by pursing your God given passion, life only gets better.