Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 25, 2021

Releasing the Oppressed

According to Ben Franklin, death and taxes are regarded as the two inescapable certainties in this life. And indeed they are. Debt, however, is a close third. Most people in the world know what it means to be in debt.

Debt is preventable but often unavoidable. Many enter into debt because they lack the discipline to delay gratification. However, others incur debt because they are out of options or find themselves backed into a corner by unexpected hardships.

On September 17, 1955, the late country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded a song entitled “Sixteen Tons” — a single that sold more than one million copies in the month after its release. The song lamented the misery of being in debt and instantly resonated with people all over the country.

My favorite lyric sums up the frustration of trying to get out of debt:

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ‘cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.

A few weeks ago one of our missions partners asked me to pray for some Christian families in a South Asian country who are living as indentured servants. These families are now into a second generation of servitude, trying to pay off debt incurred by the previous generation because of unexpected emergencies.

Each of the families make a combined income of less than five dollars a day and have spent a lifetime working for the lender, trying to pay off their debt. The children of these families are unable to attend school because they must also work to help their respective families pay off their debt.

The reality is that there is little hope that any of these families will ever know what it means to be free of debt. In the words made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford, the result of their efforts is that they are “another day older and deeper in debt.”

I asked our partner to provide me with profiles of these families and the amount owed by each. To my surprise, the amounts were modest by our standards — anywhere from one to two thousand US dollars, but an insurmountable amount for these debtors.

After discussion and prayer, our missions ministry set aside funds to get these families out of debt — step one. The next step is to help these families to secure self-sustaining employment so that they do not have to go into debt again. One of the ways we are doing this is by buying farm animals that can help these families to support themselves by selling milk and meat.

This month we liberated the first family. The father is now 65 years-old. As a child he worked with his father to try to pay off their family’s debt. After his father died, the debt fell to him and he has spent his lifetime trying to pay it off. We paid the final thousand dollars plus that he owed and set him and his family on a new course to financial freedom.

This week we will provide him with farm animals. His son and daughter were able to find jobs paying a higher wage than they were getting by working for the lender. Together, this family will now make enough and set aside enough to live debt free.

When Jesus started His ministry, He went to the synagogue in the village of Nazareth, His boyhood home, and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. Isaiah’s prophetic words looked to the time when one would come in “the Spirit of the Lord … anointed to preach good news to the poor … freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

We are grateful for the opportunity to be the hands of Jesus by releasing the oppressed family in South Asia and those to follow. This is just one small way we are making a difference in the lives of families and empowering homes around the globe.

I am grateful for the people of Kingsland whose generosity makes it possible for us to move in the direction of people in need and make a difference.


Responses

  1. Best news I’ve heard today! This makes me happy.

  2. Beautiful!

  3. Love this!

  4. What an amazing story of servitude passed down generationally. But what an even greater story told through the people of Kingsland as the family’s debts were covered. Kind of how Jesus covered our debts- for eternity…

  5. Awesome work. Thank you for their freedom and new life!!

  6. WOW! What an amazing blessing! Thank You Kingsland, Thank You O, Thank You Lord!!!


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