"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)Yesterday, I shared a short reflection on why Jesus came. He came at Christmas to die, so that we may have life and have it to the full. In coming to die, we are offered a life of laying ourselves down for Him, just as He taught us with his life.
This year, that's what I'm learning about Christmas. At Forgotten Voices, as I reflected yesterday, we deal with death a lot and it can be incredibly overwhelming for me to process. Then, I think about our partners in Africa and the sacrifices they make by doing this day after day. How does a man like Pastor Fibion wake up knowing he'll likely encounter death several times today? How does Pastor James rise to care for children in his own house, knowing that more will come?
Over and over, our friends and partners in Africa teach us a lesson they have learned from considering the birth of Jesus -- He came to die. They consider this often in their day to day lives, offering themselves up for others to bring redemption in death.
|Under this tree, the visit of Forgotten Voices was birthed. In the death of this woman, we saw redemption in partnering with local churches to meet the needs of children left behind.|
|Prudence, age 3, died in Jan 2006.|
|Working with pastors to decide what would happen to the kids.|
Through the death of so many people that we know at Forgotten Voices, our partners have continually shown us that God wants to redeem death through the example of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection. In the midst of our pain, God wants us to just come as we are and offer ourselves to Him. I don't think I would've committed so fully to helping develop Forgotten Voices until I saw such an extreme case of death and result. By partnering with the church, we've seen thousands of kids restored to life after losing their parents. We've watched hope win, when death and darkness appeared more logical.
Ryan and Peterson, visiting Peterson's mom and sister's grave site in 2007.
|Ryan and Peterson, learning to use a camera in 2006.|
As we celebrate our King's arrival tomorrow, may you be encouraged by the work God has allowed you to join. May you find peace in coming, as you are, before Him in worship. May the darkness of our world be enveloped by the promises of our God to redeem of all of this. May you know, without a doubt, that this baby came for you and me. This Christmas, despite the pain we see around us, we have redemption and hope because Christ is born so that we may live fully.
President, Forgotten Voices International