Category Archives: Humanitarian Issues

I’m Sorry I’m a Christian

This caught my eye today. Be warned, there are a couple f-bombs.

Joy

Kid being rescued from the rubble of Haiti. Makes me laugh and cry. Thank you, Father!

My Heart Is Torn For Haiti

I just heard about what happened yesterday in Haiti. From what I have read, this disaster will be felt for years. Tens of thousands of people were physically crushed and the rest maybe even more so psychologically. It seems as though everything in the capital was destroyed. Schools, government buildings, houses, shops, everything, in a matter of seconds. My mind can’t comprehend the trauma this would create in a community. No matter how many pictures I see or what words I read, I will never be able to understand. I want to be there. Not because I want to experience pain or be a hero (I wouldn’t even know how to help people in a feasible way). I want to be there because they are humans, they are suffering, and they are crying out for help. It is in times like these that God moves more visibly to my eyes.

So what can we do? Nothing seems like enough. Can we actually help or are we helpless to aid? We can be a part of the healing process. We can do little things. And for followers of the one who fed thousands with a handful, that is an encouraging thing. We can send a $10 donation to Red Cross’ relief effort by texting HAITI to 90999. And we can ask God to multiply our gift. We can ask God to comfort those stuck in this mess. And perhaps most importantly, we can keep this issue on our hearts. Like I said earlier, this issue is not going to fade quickly. It will fester and when it does, somewhere down the road, we can be ready to help. One example of this is adoption. This earthquake has created multitudes of new orphans. This is one of many problems that will arise. For now, talk to God, donate money, do what you can do to help your neighbors from Haiti.

Saying Goodbye to Mexico (For Now)

I’m back from another amazing trip  to a foreign country. This time it was Mexico and despite it’s extremely close proximity, it was my first time there. Going into a trip like this, I try not to have many expectations. I try to be prepared to engage in a new culture but that is about it. I just ride the wave that God’s pushing.

We went to Rocky Point and let me tell you it is kind of a sad place. It’s a city saturated with awesome ideas that were never able to come to fruition. It is riddled with skyrises that have done nothing but rust for the last couple of years. Apparently, when the American economy stepped in sinking sand, we all stopped traveling down to the rocky point that was fantastically popular only a few months before. Because of that, all of the people, who came up from other parts of Mexico to get an easy job in construction, brought their poverty with them.

With that as a backdrop, God did some really great things on this trip. The reason we went was to build a house for a family but the purpose of the trip was far more expansive. Originally, we were to build a single house for a certain family but because another church group was there at the same time as us, we constructed a double-wide home for another family. The two-and-a-half days of construction were filled with hard work, futbol (and football) with the kids, and an incredible cross-cultural fellowship with our Mexican neighbors. It was an amazing experience to work alongside dozens of Mexicans who deeply care for their neighbors as Jesus commanded. There was a very distinct sense of hope and joy and an incredible ability to communicate silently through that. The construction ended with a dedication and expression of gratitude that was awe-inspiring and tear-jerking.

God is doing some crazy things through our facilitating organization, One Mission. They are empowering the people to be able to provide for their needs by using their tools and working alongside them. Plus, they enable Americans to be a part of it, thus knitting the two cultures together. The Body of Christ as it should be. An amazing thing.

Once we were done with the house, we were able to visit a family for whom another New Valley group had built a house about a month ago. The family had added on to the house, converting it from a single to a double. They had completely furnished it and considered themselves wonderfully blessed. They new they had so much and have committed their lives to giving. “To whom much is given, much shall be required.” Seeing this, I had two thoughts. 1: It’s really cool to see what has happened because a group was able to come down and build this family a house. They have capitalized so well. 2: If he knows much is required of him because he was given a house that’s not even as big as my parents bedroom, then how much more is required of me?

The last morning, we had a debrief time on the beach in which we all shared highs and lows. The lows were admittedly trivial and sometimes humorous. Among the highs were building alongside the Mexicans, playing with the kids, seeing the other house, communicating through the language barrier, and experiencing the beauty that can only be found in simple places.

I am so thankful that I was allowed to go on this trip. As is His way, our Father accomplished mind-blowing things while we were there. And He hasn’t stopped since we left. He continues to work yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Going to Mexico

Wednesday, I’m headed to Rocky Point, Mexico with a friend from school and his church (New Valley). We will be building a house alongside a local community for a family of four. The trip is facilitated by OneMission, an organization that sets up three to five day trips for churches and other groups.

 It’s gonna be really cool to provide this family with a home but it will be an even greater experience due to the mindset we are going in with. We are very purposefully not going in as the privileged giving aid to the less privileged. We are going in to build community by serving people who aren’t all that different than us. We’re not gonna work our butts off with power tools as they stand by and watch. We’re gonna learn from them, work alongside them,  and use their tools. Hopefully, along the way, we can create friendships and bonds that will be more powerful than anything else we build.

Like all the trips that I’ve gone on, it is a mystery as to what God will do during our time there. I’m willing to bet though that whatever it is it will be extremely meaningful and deeply entrenched in compassion. I am very excited to learn another culture, meet new friends, and gain a greater realization of my Father’s love for me. If you would, please ask God to constantly remind us why we are there (to serve as Jesus served and to shair love unconditionally).

Nate

Because I did not write about my trip to Morocco in a timely manner and because it is becoming increasingly hard to find time to write, I will, whenever possible, jot down a quick story or two. Our two weeks of adventure were filled with so many great stories. But what good are they if they are forgotten. I want/need to tell these stories because they are so meaningful to me.

The first story I’d like to tell is that of Nate.

We spent three days working at a Physical Rehab Center in the city of Nador. We painted a large wall, opposite the main building, white in order that future teams can make a mural for the children to look at. Working on the wall was a blast and an awesome way to serve like Jesus. It was hard and long and tiring and hot and sometimes gross and dirty but it was so worth it. It was the correlation between salvation and love. We didn’t do it because we wanted to check a box. We didn’t do it because we felt like we were better than these people. We didn’t do it out of religious obligation (although in one sense I think it could be considered the purest form of religion). We served because Jesus came to serve. We loved because Jesus first loved us. It was quite amazing to be a part of something so profound and yet so simple.

wall

So what does all that have to do with Nate?

On the morning of the first day, while we were working, a black man walked by the building. You may not think that significant, especially since we were in Africa, but in that part of the continent there really aren’t many black people. The guy stopped by, interested in what a bunch of white guys were doing painting a wall in the middle of Arab/Berber Morocco. Steve, the guy who coordinated our trip and has lived in the area for about 25 years (also one of the most vibrant followers of Jesus I’ve ever met), started talking with him and asking him questions about his life. We gathered around and took it all in. His name was Nate. He was a refugee from Nigeria, staying in a camp called Gurugu up in the mountains with other refugees from many other war-torn, poverty-stricken countries. They are all trying to get into Europe in order to make a new life for themselves as well as their families. Steve asked him if he was a Muslim and he said “No, Jesus is my King”. Steve then asked if we could pray for him and he said yes wholeheartedly. Steve prayed and we all agreed with the words being lifted up. It was an incredible moment. Once it was over, we gave him some water and he went on his way. We thought that was it and that we’d never see the guy again. On the third day, he came back. He wanted us to pray for him again so we did. Only this time people were watching. The staff from the center (some of whom are followers of Jesus, most of whom are not) was out their along with some others. We had another great time talking with our King and then he was gone again. When we looked around and noticed the other people around us, we saw tears in some of their eyes. It was awkward beauty at its finest. Later, during our trip, Steve informed us that one of the women that worked at the center was saying how amazing it was that we could go to our God without horrible guilt and shame. It sure is amazing. Not enough can be said about that. It was so crazy how God used Nate in such a seemingly random way that could have such huge repercussions in the long run. Father, please keep nurturing the discussions that have come from and will keep coming from this amazing encounter. I don’t know where Nate is now. Maybe he’s with his King. If the refugees are caught crossing the border, they are either sent to no-man’s land or killed. If he is still alive, Father please keep doing crazy things through his life. Thank you so much for Nate!!!

What KIVU Is All About

I apologize for not having anything up yet for the Morocco trip. I’ve been working on a video and my editing stuff has stopped working on two different computers. I hope to have stuff up before the end of the week. In the mean time, check out this promo video for Kivu. Kanakuk Colorado, the summer camp I’ve attended for the past five or so years is branching out under the new name Camp Kivu. I’m way stoked about the move. Kanakuk has been an awesome experience in my life and a major player in my walk with my Father. However, the change will allow for some super excited new things to happen. The video is really good and explains the vision perfectly.