Jono Hirt | Week 2

working the Freedom Store at the Freedom Summit

Blog Week 2:

My predictions of week two being even busier (good busy) was pretty spot on.  The week started a day late due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.  Shane (who likes to be known as Shane) and I went for a bike ride along the coast into “downtown” Half Moon Bay, which ended up being a little longer than we predicted but the weather was next to perfect so it was all good.  The Northern Californian coast is a beautiful backdrop to what’s panning out to be a formational experience.

This week consisted of a few meetings, a little more training and some worthwhile and interesting work.  There are quiet a few hours in the day and I’ve had to use quiet a few of them this week.  Most of my week was taken up with Academy related projects – its has been a bit of a balancing act, I’m finding myself being very deliberate with my time – I think I have some work to do on becoming more organized.  I’m happy with the work I’m producing and the way things are going, there’s definitely room for improvement, I’m really excited about where I’m going to be at by the end of this 6 months.

It hasn’t all been hard work mind you.  There has been a huge amount of laughter, good conversations and strengthening of relationships.  Shane and David, my fellow Fellows are easy to get along with which has made the experience thus far all the more awesome.

On Thursday and Friday Not For Sale had their beginning of the year staff summit which was a fantastic opportunity to not only to meet all the staff from around California and the country but also to be apart of the visioning and rev-up for the up coming year, which is set to be an amazing one to say the least.  It’s a really exciting time to be at NFS!

During the summit all the staff and fellows were asked to say something about themselves to the group.  It was great to hear what everyone had to say, to listen to a little bit of everyone’s story.  When it was my turn I told the group about how I got here, in particular I spoke about “taking steps”.  As I said, I remember very clearly at the School of Discipleship in Australian last year when David Batstone and Brant Christopher took part on a leg of the Stop Paying For Slavery Tour.  In one of his sessions, David Spoke about taking the first step – that once you take that first step, the second step and the third is a lot easier – you just have to take that FIRST STEP.

On Saturday morning David spoke in the plenary session at the Freedom Summit to about 1700 abolitionists.  During part of that impassioned speech David quoted a Ghanaian aphorism, which states that we don’t mind stumbling along the way because at least we’re still making progress – taking forward steps.  I really like that notion.

I’ve had a few stumbles along the way, and maybe I’ve even taken a  backward step or two but I do feel like where I am right now is where I’m supposed to be.  And I most definitely do see this Fellowship with Not For Sale as the next step in my journey.

Friday night and Saturday we took part in the Freedom Summit, which is a annual conference about the Bay Area response to Human Trafficking.  Condoleezza Rice spoke on the opening night, and though she was clearly a veteran at presenting to a large group of people, I didn’t find her all that profound or inspiring .  I don’t know what I expected, because after all she is a politician at heart, but I left wanting a little more.  I think part of a good speech or talk is making yourself a little vulnerable or at least taking a mild risk towards exhibiting a touch of emotion; that she did not do.

The rest of that night and all day Saturday we manned (and “womanned”) the Not For Sale table, which was part Freedom Store (selling items made by slavery survivors to help give them a sustainable income) and part NFS info desk – which attracted a wide spectrum of people interested in who we are and what we do.  I had some great conversations with many amazing Bay Area modern-day abolitionists and some rather lengthy chats with some “really interesting folk”.  To say the least it was a good experience.

I wanted to end by thanking, from the very bottom of my heart, every one of my family and friends that helped me get here – whether it be by supporting me financially or through prayer or reassurance.  I really couldn’t and wouldn’t be here without all of you, and for that I am so grateful.  You are all with me in spirit, on my shoulders – however you want to put it.

I’m looking forward to the coming week, the ball is well and truly rolling, momentum is building for what is going to be an amazing year – I’m really lucky and thankful that I’m here to be a part of it!!

2 responses to “Jono Hirt | Week 2

  1. CORRECTION: I meant to write, Shane (who likes to be known as Shaun)..

  2. I liked it the first way too… Sounds like you’re having an amazing time! THe jealousy lingers…

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