28 September, 2016
By Jordan Bolst
In October last year I was part of a group of students from Avondale College that attended the Voices for Justice conference held in Canberra. I had never heard of Voices for Justice before and I was not sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised about the whole weekend.
The weekend was filled with worship, prayer and workshops to educate people about the issues affecting the world’s poorest people. Each member who attended the conference was split into groups and assigned a ‘mentor’ who would help them process everything throughout the weekend until the final day where we went into Parliament House and talked with politicians.
As a follower of Christ I believe we have a responsibility to be the voice for those that can’t be heard. I am reminded of Micah 6:8 where it says: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
The aim of Voices for Justice was to prepare people to walk into Parliament House and to engage with politicians on a whole range of topics. The entire weekend was filled with worship and prayer, as well as a range of workshops. One of the workshops I attended was about advocacy events and being able to organise and plan advocacy events. I enjoyed being around a group of people that had the same ideas as me when it came to advocacy and raising awareness for the world’s poorest people.
As an attendee of this conference I was able to meet and network with people from other churches and charity organisations. Coming from an International Development degree, I found this to be quite useful.
Something I really enjoyed about the conference was playing a simulation game related to living in poverty and the struggles that people in poverty face everyday. All the people that were at the conference were split into groups that represented various roles in a poor village in rural Philippines. We had to go fishing, sell it at the market, buy food for our family and juggle our finances. They finished the game off by simulating a typhoon. This really impacted me to see the type of destruction that can even be caused in a simulation. This game felt quite real, and it really made it relevant the kind of the struggle that these people face.
On the final day of the conference I was able to head into Parliament House and talk with politicians about the importance of increasing the foreign aid budget.
I would strongly recommend attending Voices for Justice because it is a wonderful way to connect with and meet other Christians who have the same passion: to see God’s justice for the world.
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Jordan Bolst is an intern at ADRA Australia. Click here to sign up for Voices for Justice this year.