Modern day abolitionist in Austin

  • by Blair Pippin
Photo courtesy John Nehme.

From an early age, John Nehme knew that the Lord was leading him to serve people on the margins of society.

Growing up, his mother instilled in him that to love Jesus meant caring for those in need as she regularly took him to serve in local community centers.

When he went to college at Vanderbilt, John became a leader in Cru.

It was during these crucial years that he grew in his relationship with Jesus and learned how to communicate his faith clearly to people who did not share the same views he held.

It was also during his college years that he was first exposed to the harsh reality of human trafficking, otherwise known as modern day slavery, in our world today.

After graduation, he considered the Lord’s leading on his life. He had a passion to serve people but should he do it overseas or in America?

After much prayer, the Lord led him to serve as the outreach director for Trade in Hope, a documentary film about the reality of human trafficking in America. Based in Austin, John went to work by first mobilizing his own community.

John formed Allies Against Slavery in order to collaborate with the people of his community in order to make Austin a slave-free city.

Each year, they hold a week-long campaign called Free Austin to raise awareness of the issue.

During the first year, a trafficking victim was watching television when a press conference came on as a part of the campaign. After listening to the speaker she realized, “That’s happening to me!” She called for help and was rescued from the slavery she was living in and began a path to healing and wholeness.

Through his work, John interacts with people from many different spiritual, political, and cultural backgrounds. He has taken what he learned in Cru and applied it to these relationships and has often gotten to share that the reason why he stands up for the oppressed is because of his love for Jesus.

He believes that everyone is made in God’s image and deserves to be treated that way.

Jesus said he came to set the captives free and John is doing just that.