Where I left my heart...

It occurred to me today that I don’t talk about Africa anymore.

I think that’s mostly due to the fact that I got so fed up with people bringing back pitiful stories of how the people were so desolate andhopeless, and as Americans it is our responsibility to feel sorry for them. My criticism of those ‘testimonies’ influenced my desire to share MY experience there, when it should have sparked an even stronger desire to speak of the people, the land, and the heart. I owe it to Joseph, Esther, Prossy, the Wolof people, Terah, Deborah, Barbara, Simon, Rose, Peace, Faith, Maureen, the hospital patients, the prisoners, and the churches. These precious people deserve to have their story told, and as I have the means to tell it, it is my responsibility to open my mouth. With me keeping silent, for my selfish, foolish reasons, I am discrediting who they are, and what God has done in me and shown me through them.
Father, forgive me.

Joseph-the most beautiful baby boy I have ever laid eyes on. When all the other children came rushing forward to mob us upon every arrival, this sweet one was left peeking around the doorway, too timid to assume any of my team would want to love on him. It was this bashful demeanor that drew me to him instantly. It just took one glance for me to fall in love with this boy, and after throwing my arms around him he grabbed my hand and didn’t let go for the next week and a half. As we explored the orphanage grounds, something about Joseph caught my attention: content and good natured as he was, he rarely ever had a smile on his dear little face. This troubled me, and I wondered what was going on behind the scenes to inflict such a somber personality in this innocent child. The true testament of the joy of the Lord played out as on one of the last days of our trip, I witnessed Joseph doubled over in sweet, untainted laughter as I discovered his most ticklish spot. Tears of joy rushed down his face until they met what I will always remember to be one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen: the most striking and gigantic smile a boy that size could muster.


God IS love.

Sometimes I wonder just how much I truly love God. Yes, I am immensely grateful for who he is and what he has done for me. Yes, I am aware that he created my very being, knows my every thought, and has perfectly ordained every minute of my future. Yes, I realize that he is the Mighty King and Ruler over all, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent...
But do I love him?
This leads me to reflect on who I know that I love: I love my family, my friends, each person I have met on the street, the people of Africa, children, and the elderly. This morning it hit me: what I love about those people is God in them. I love having intimacy and understanding with my family, which comes from a God who knows my very core and gave me a family I could relate to. I love having fun and fellowship with my friends, which comes from a God who loves to see me laugh and knows exactly when I need encouragement. I love restoring value and worth to the people I serve on the streets, which comes from a God who has instilled a burning passion within me to love the unloved. I love the pure and unpolluted joy of the African people, which comes from a God who is the source of a supernatural joy that outlasts any situation. I love the uninhibited curiosity and innocent heart of a child, which comes from a God who is pure of heart and untainted by the world. I love the wisdom and sincerity of the elderly, which comes from a God who is the Father of time, the Alpha and Omega.
1 John 4:7-8 Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because
God is love.


guilty as charged

Our fingers are stained crimson from thousands of lives lost. Babies taken before they were given the chance to live, genocides wiping out staggering numbers of innocent men, women, and children who were people just like us, close friends pulling that fatal trigger after convincing themselves that no one cares, the list continues... But how are we the ones caught red-handed? We have a powerful tool at our disposal that is tragically under-utilized: a voice. We must speak out against the dark powers of this world-letting the overwhelming love of God flow through our very mouths, shedding light on the darkest secrets of mankind. We must use our voices to speak on behalf of those who have been told that their words have no value, of those who have a voice but have given up or forgotten how to use it. "With great power comes great responsibility." We have been given the power to proclaim victory over the schemes of the devil, to pour truth into the lives of the deceived, and to coat every cruel and vicious word with the redeeming love of Christ. With that power comes a pressing responsibility: Speak up. The ends of the earth should be echoing with our cries against injustice, our pleas for peace and our declarations of Truth. Esther 4:14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"