I have spent the last week or so learning about, and interviewing, a woman who has totally inspired me. I suddenly realised it has been quite a long time since somebody has been an inspiration to me, and I like the resulting determination and fresh vision I have gained from the experience! 😉
So let me tell you about the woman who has inspired me. Julia Immonen seems like just an ordinary woman – but with extraordinary passion and, yes, determination. She certainly makes things happen. Since learning the horrifying truths of human trafficking, she set up her own charity Sports Against Trafficking in order to use sport in a positive way to raise awareness on this important issue. And the last 18 months have been spent making the idea of a Row For Freedom crew a reality. As part of that all-female rowing crew (only 1 of which had any previous rowing equipment – can you believe that?!) what has she just gone and done? Only broken 2 world records by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean! What an incredible feat of endurance, determination and grit for the whole team. Totally inspirational (especially as I really don’t have a sporty bone in my body so cannot comprehend doing such a thing!). I had the privilege of talking to Julia when they were still on the ocean. What impressed me was the attitude the whole team had towards what they suffered – and suffer they did. So much of their machinery broke down, and they all had terrible sea sickness to start with then grappled with sores and crippling cramp. But when they found things difficult they just remembered the victims of trafficking and found the strength to keep going.
I was also inspired by something else Julia told me. She said that being on that ocean stripped her of everything, and she was able to see what her faith was really made of. And now, with so many great ideas and plans for future campaigns etc, she told me that she doesn’t want to do anything but that which God has called her to do. What a great plumb line that we can often forget amongst the busy-ness of life. Am I doing only what God has told me to do, or have I filled up my time with so much stuff that God’s voice can’t be heard over the din of activity?
If you want to find out more about Row For Freedom’s world record crossing please take a look at my article for the Evangelical Alliance here. And watch this space – I am planning on writing about their achievements, and the issue of human trafficking, a whole lot more!