As I am sure many of you can relate, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. On one hand I hate how much ‘people time’ it steals but on the other it's great for reminding me of birthdays and events in the past.
This week I had a photo pop up on my Facebook feed of me in chains (which is the photo on the cover of this article). I couldn’t believe that it had been five years since I had worn chains.
That probably sounds a little strange to you. Let me explain this journey. At the end of 2013, I was visiting my old church in Auckland and there was a quest speaker that Sunday. She was talking about a girl in New Zealand who had not worn shoes for a whole year to raise awareness and money for children in developing countries that didn’t have shoes.
There was something about the boldness of what she was doing that really inspired me. At that time in my life, my heart was really breaking for those who were effected by human trafficking.
During worship after the sermon, I remember very clearly asking God to give me an idea like that. I wanted to do something to bring awareness to human trafficking.
The thought popped into my head to wear chains around my wrists. Over the next few weeks I really pondered how this would work. So I decided to wear chains around my wrists every weekend for a year.
I started a Facebook page called ‘Barry in chains’ and as a young 21 year old man, I was determined to make a difference even if it was small.
I went to a Salvation Army Camp at the end of January. I had an awesome opportunity to share with the youth there about what I was doing. At that camp I had 5 different people that wanted to be involved. They helped me to post information on Facebook, spread awareness and plan events.
There were many external and internal aspects which impacted my life during that year and the years that followed. Here are some of those things.
What an amazing experience I had as a 21 year old getting to speak at a number of youth groups and churches. I also got invited to parliament to have a chat with the Justice Minister at the time. This was such a great experience being able to talk through what we were and were’nt doing as a nation in regards to human trafficking.
What really shocked me was that I had a number of people from New Zealand and around the world message me something along the lines of ‘I came across your Facebook page and have been reading what you’ve posted.’
They would then explain they had no idea the impact of human trafficking. What really encouraged me was that a lot of people told me they had decided to make small changes like buying fair trade bananas, chocolate and coffee.
Around January of 2014 I wrote this Spoken Word:
That year changed my life and I don’t make this statement lightly. God expanded my view of the world. I realised that I had a voice and I had the opportunity to create change.
At the end of 2015 the Facebook page was renamed to ‘Fighting For Freedom’ and I was stoked about this. I loved the name. I wanted to change the name because this campaign had started with me wanting to make a difference but it then changed to a team of amazing people wanting to make a difference.
Half way through 2015, the year became one of the hardest years up to that point in terms of my calling. It had started to die down.
Looking back I think this had a lot to do with the fact that in 2015 I didn’t have chains around my wrists every weekend to remind me of why I was doing what I was doing.
I didn’t feel like I had any purpose anymore. I had an amazing year, but what next? This was the conversation that continuously went around in my head.
God took me on a journey where he opened my eyes to see how people were and still are enslaved in many different ways - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I believe this led me to have a heart for the inner healing ministry I am a part of now, called Sozo.
Barry Kirby is a disciple of Jesus Christ, living in relationship with Father God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Barry works and worships with the Salvation Army based in Wellington, New Zealand.