Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I dream - Emotional Reflections on Africa

I dream of living a life that makes God smile. I dream of living a life that makes life easier for others. I dream of discovering where God is working and jumping in head first to join him (and for those of you know me, know that I can't dive!... but for God - I dream of being fearless - jumping first and fearing never).

I just returned from my 8th trip to Africa in the past 3 years. Since going on the first exploration trip in July 2004, my heart has seen many horrible things. I've held the hands of women clinging to life as they watch their children watching them die. I've held dying babies. I've watched people knowingly consume water unsafe to drink because there is no other option. I've felt the hands of people ravaged by HIV and TB, pleading with me to care for their families without knowing who I am.

In the same way, my heart has experienced beautiful things. I've watched a room full of 20 pregnant women since Jesus Loves Me. I've seen a nurse save the life of a new born baby. I've watched a man sacrifice everything he has so his kids can live another day, trusting that God will intervene on their behalf as the man dies from hunger. I've enjoyed many sunrises and have seen many galaxies under the African sky.

Here's the thing. Every time I come back, I feel like I beg you all to join me in the work of Forgotten Voices. You have responded in a way that humbles me and brings me to tears... I can't thank you enough. THANK YOU!

I am so moved by your generosity. Not a day goes by in Africa when I don't stop for a second and soak up the reality that together we are equipping local leaders in Africa to do what God has called them to do ... to meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities. You all are doing that! I'm just the fortunate one that gets to go and make sure the work is continuing and that we are doing all we can to equip these communities to do what they believe God wants them to do.

Thank you. Part of why I go is to come back and dream with you about what's next for our ministry to the churches in Africa, working hard everyday.

So - here's my dream after this most recent trip to Africa. I had this dream over and over while I was there: both as I saw what I saw while awake and as I rested on a vast assortment of beds across Zambia & Zimbabwe at night.

I dream of the church people in America responding like God calls us to respond. To answer the needs of the poor, without delay. To give out of love, not guilt. To genuinely look ourselves in the mirror and know we are doing all we can for our God. To be a church that makes God rejoice and giggle.

Sounds great, right? But how???? One of the ways we can do that is to take action and search our own hearts...and listen to what God is asking us to do for Him, our world, and our families.

One of the crazy things I kept hearing on this trip is that pastors consider themselves rich. They are asking the same questions we are asking: "Am I doing enough? Can I do more?" That blows me away! But it makes sense. Then, when I'd visit with patients the churches were caring for, the people receiving would be asking how they can help their neighbors who have less than them! Amazing!

It affirms that God's calling on our life is not just for us alone, but it is for us.

I ran into a friend of mine yesterday. She was pouring out her heart to me about a book study she is in that is exploring the idea of Jesus returning tonight. After the conversation went on and on, one of the women stopped and said, "Why don't we just act like we know he's coming tonight? Let's not just treat this like an exercise in thought, but in action. What would we do differently if God was coming tonight? How would we live differently? What would we do?"

I hope to write more Tuesday afternoon as I think about this for my life and share with you.

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