Friday, September 24, 2010
When Forgotten Voices started as a ministry of West Shore Evangelical Free Church, we were trying to discern how our young adult ministry and church should play a role in what God was doing through His Church to address the AIDS crises in Zimbabwe. Amidst so much going on, what was our part? What was not our part?
Early on, we tried to make sure we were looking for what God was doing first and then try to join Him in that work instead of trying to create our own path, then pray that God supports that. If you are interested in this approach to discerning God's will, I thoroughly recommend checking out Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God (workbook). I'm going through this now (my 3rd time since high school). I go through it every 4-5 yrs to remind myself of how I was raised and explore what God is doing around me.
Well, from the very beginning, this search for God's work around us has helped me become aware of Game Changers in my life --- people I meet who are not just talking about it and not just doing stuff to change our world's greatest dilemmas. These are people who are shaping the conversation, attacking problems with laser focus (with action AND original thoughts), while remaining grounded in a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is GROWING and not becoming bitter at a world that hasn't quite "got" what these game changers are trying to teach us. People who just keep going because Christ loved us, so we get to love others.
Today and in recent days, I've been thinking about these "game changers" in my life --- in Africa and the USA. Because we couldn't do everything in Africa or even several things, we had to discern. Through this process, we found Obert and Fibion. We then found Pierre with Farming God's Way (now Foundations for Farming), then rediscovered James and The Rock Church....among others. Then, in Zambia, we discovered God's work through Remmy and Sarah. On and on...
Back in the USA, I've met a few people in my life who are definitely game changers. I want to share briefly about one person who I met with this week. Later this week, I'll try to share about another. As I listened and discerned what God was showing me, I learned that I need to share her story with the hopes that you may join me in praying for her so that her work may blossom. What she had to say was too important to keep to myself.
1) Heidi Burkey at Discover the Journey is a Game Changer. If you don't know DTJ, visit their website. Heidi is definitely a game changer. She is part of an incredible 5 person team doing work around the world, telling stories of hope and possible transformation. Stories that need to be told, yet the subject of the story has no voice to share to a larger audience. DTJ tries to find these stories, then give voice to the story teller through documentaries that are created as the story unfolds before their eyes when filming. Lots of people do documentaries. What makes her a GAME CHANGER is the way they are telling them, the way their ministry has grown to reach the halls of power at CNN, UN, JAM...all over. The impact their stories have had on high school students, adult groups who gathered to watch Rescued. Heidi and DTJ are game changers because the stories are not about them at all, nor is the credit they've received from telling them. Incredibly, despite having their ministry's story on CNN.com for a few days after their documentary on CNN appeared, they yielded little more than a few more hits to their website. Heidi and several of the 5 person team were/are doing 2-3 jobs to pay the bills. Friends were/are filling gas tanks and buying groceries to help them keep telling these stories...often unpaid missions around the world to find and tell stories of hope in the midst of hopelessness. When I sat with Heidi today for several hours listening to what God was teaching her, it was clear that the attention they have received from the CNN piece had not changed her ego one bit. She remained grounded in the belief that God's role for her was to share love where apathy seemed to triumph, internationally and in the USA. In doing so, she is not bitter when action doesn't follow. It's a struggle to not be frustrated, but in that nexus between what she hopes people find and what they immediately react too from the story... she sees God's patient love and grace for her and those suffering in the USA and in the stories she is privileged to share.
I've followed DTJ's work since around its founding. The founder, Jonathan, and Heidi are people I've prayed for over a long time. Now, I invite you to join me in those prayers. That God's work would continue to flow through them. That they would be receptive to demonstrating love to their subjects in the story and those receiving the story. That they would rejoice in the knowledge that God is going to redeem all of this some day, even when the hope in the Sudan or Haiti or NYC or DC or Angola or wherever they are seems just a spec of smolder in a dark cloud of pain.
Specifically for Heidi and her 4 teammates (including Jonathan), pray for financial support so they can lose their part-time jobs to fulfill their mission full-time telling stories. Pray for Board members to emerge to help lead them into a new season of growth and maturity. Pray for some transition questions looming.
Join me in praying for Heidi and Discover the Journey. Certainly one of the highlights of my day today in California.
Do you know a Game Changer in your life?
Written by Ryan - ForgottenVoices.org at 9/24/2010 12:32:00 PM