Friday, August 26, 2011

What ever it takes..... are we ready?

It was like stepping back in time or onto the set of an old western movie. Dry season ensured that everything had a layer of fine dust covering it. Small half-clothed children sat playing by the side of the road, their cheeks and eyes a little darker as the tears they had been crying washed the dust away, at least for now.

A number of men are slouched in plastic chairs, their glazed eyes giving away the truth of their alcohol addiction.

Colorfully clothed women sat at the side of the road behind their stalls with piles of ripe tomatoes, hoping to sell enough to buy corn meal for the family. Others carried heavy loads on their heads as they make their way from one task to the next. Most women had a baby cleverly strapped to their back with only the head peeking out.

I was taking it all in. I had seen scenes like this before so there was no novelty factor or overwhelming feeling.  Then my driver said, "Andrew, every girl in this village will be raped at some point in their life."

How do you cope with that statement? You are not reading it in a book or hearing a report from a returning missionary. You are watching the faces of the young girls who will suffer this horrendous act, seeing the eyes of the women who have already experienced it many times and now suffer both emotionally and physically from STD's and even HIV/AID's. You are now glaring into the faces of the drunkards who most likely are the perpetrators, as they often exercise what they see as their right as a man.

The sad reality is that this is just a small snapshot of the situation our world is in. Whether it is the risk that women and children face from multiple issues linked to impoverished communities, or the plight of the unreached who have yet to hear of Jesus for the first time, we have still so much to do if we are to complete what Jesus asked us to do.

How did this experience impact me? One big way was that I realized that tomorrow for so many is too late. Too late because they will not be alive tomorrow. Too late because they will be sold today. Too late because their dignity and future will be ripped from them today. Now I was feeling overwhelmed. We needed to stop this now. But we will need more people, more prayer, more money. Our recent totals have shown me that we can't provide more of any of them. If we are to provide for them we will need to change how we do what we do, and do it soon because one or two extra people or a few thousand more dollars will not suffice. I was filled with the fear that we will not be able to change quickly enough.

Then I shone the light on my own life and realized how I allow my preferences, my comfort, the way I want to do things, to drive what gets done rather than, "What is it going to take to see these lives and communities transformed today?" I was rebuked inside. How much have I held back progress by my lack of willingness to change? 

I want to challenge us as a team -- we need to be very careful that we are not doing anything that causes the advancement of the hope of the gospel to be hindered. There is just too much at stake. It could be a lack of urgency, a process or system we have become comfortable with and don't want to change, or a rut we have gotten into that has caused us to lose focus or momentum.

Paul said, "I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the master has given me of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

We entered into a strategic planning process to ask the question, "What will it take to see more people, prayer and money raised up?" Although we are still working this through and do not know what those changes will be, I can assure you that there will be changes. These changes are not to satisfy some crazy desire to do things differently but are driven from a deep desire of the leadership team, and many others on the team, to find a way to meet the incredible need for resources, in order to see lives and communities, like the one I just experienced, transformed by the love of Christ.

So let's be prepared to change. To change whatever it takes. Let's do it for the sake of the gospel. Let's be ready to see our personal preferences as worth nothing if only the gospel can go out.

No comments:

Post a Comment