By: Abby Fritzgerald, SFM Leader in Indianapolis
What does it take to start a Set Free ministry in a new community? It might look a lot like the process of transplanting tree. In the last 15 months my husband Aaron and I have gone through a time of transition by following God’s leading to uproot our lives from Decatur, Illinois to Indianapolis, Indiana. We said painful good-byes to our families and our local Set Free team that I led for 5 ½ years. These people represented roots that had grown deep into our lives for many years.
The most critical part of moving a tree is making sure it has good soil and healthy resources to survive in the new environment. For us that meant considering where we would find our new support system within this new community. We found encouragement from several co-workers and friends that lived near us. Yet it took several months to find a church family to help us with our spiritual care and growth as well. We were thankful to have conversations with Pastor Jen Finley at John Wesley FMC who encouraged us in our passion for Set Free work. Discovering the right place to dig down your roots is an important part of transitioning to a new community.
Once a tree is established in good soil, it takes time for the roots to grow down and its trunk and branches to grow up towards the sun. One year after our move, I followed God’s leading to start an online book study on the new Set Free book. This provided an opportunity to consider future Set Free work here in the Indianapolis area. This group continues to meet monthly to learn how the issue of human trafficking is impacting this community. This process requires networking with social service agencies, participating in local events, and reading local news articles. I have found that connecting with others who share similar passions is life-giving, and those relationships can take years to develop.
Starting over in a new community requires good soil to grow healthy roots, so that we can continue to thrive. There is a lot to learn when you move to a new area, and it is important to set realistic expectations of yourself and your future team. Thankfully, we serve a patient and compassionate God who is faithful to guide us. The process has not been easy, but it has been worth it.