I'm in Montreal, Canada at the moment. So I thought I'd write about the place I live- New Haven. (I'll write more about my experience here later.) Since the first of the year, I’ve had a phrase repeat over and over in my head, “Belief equals action.” What we DO is really what we BELIEVE. Living in New Haven, the gap between the belief and action is certainly evident. Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the US, yet spends more on social services per capita than most nations.
I have been quite convicted about my role in the city I call home. This past Fall I started volunteering at a soup kitchen, distributing free clothes in a needy neighborhood, as well as visiting my new friend John Kennedy (yes, that really is his name). He’s suffers from minor seizures, learning disabilities, and probably a good deal of loneliness. Now he’s my friend. Honestly, he keeps my feet on the ground. John knows how to be a friend to people.(that's John and I in the picture)
No, it’s not as sexy as working in Africa (which is equally as valid). But, I can’t get it out of my head that Jesus loves the homeless and friendless here in New Haven just the same. Sure, maybe they’ve made mistakes, but so have you and I. Certainly God views the people of the world as equally valuable, not necessarily validating every idea or action, but certainly valuing their lives. After all, we are the crown of His Creation.
So my “word” of the day is: “Do our actions equal our belief statements?” Just something to ponder. I understand taking action is a big deal. Action is a scary thing. Believing costs so much because it demands action to be of value. It seems we often wait for all the right pieces to come together before we move, but perhaps God calls us to risk with what we have, rather than what we don’t have. We can have confidence that God will meet us if we move on His behalf toward to the world around us. His perfect love casts out fear. So when we make space for God in our lives, we make space for the hurting and forgotten.
Much Love & Your Friend,
Friday, March 02, 2007
Dear Family & Friends,
Welcome to 2007! My hope is that this year will bring many blessings & pleasant surprises for each one of you.
As most of you know, late last year I travelled back to Masoyi, South Africa to continue to pursue what I feel God has put in my heart concerning the AIDS & orphan crisis there and in the rest of southern Africa. It was an incredible time of revisiting a place where we have invested before. To see the progress and growth of Masoyi over the past 3 years, was incredible for me. From my first time there, seeing a dirt field transformed into full fledged care centers (which we built) – teaching, loving, and feeding hundred of kids every single day. Children, that would normally be extremely fortunate to have just one meal a day, much less have a safe environment in which to be cared for.
Perhaps even more meaningful for me was being able to walk thru the community and be recognized by many people, both young and old. This was very, very humbling for me to be recognized by these precious people - Royalty before God.
One particular experience I’d like to share is the story of 5 orphans who lost their home. Just a few days before I arrived, their home was burned to the ground. Tragically, the youngest brother was not able to escape the fire and died. When I landed the need was vary evident…we were compelled to do something tangible for these orphans! So we were able to raise the enough money to build them new home, pay for their school f ees, and furnish their new home. In addition we were able to connect them with local caregivers who will continue to nurture these beloved children.
The future feels hopeful. Last year was we gained a lot of momentum with our initiatives in Southern Africa. This year we hope to focus on India, in addition to our work in South Africa. This year is full of possibilities now we must see what will land. We hope to jump aboard what God is already doing rather than hope that God chooses to bless what we want to do.
Just as Jesus gave the mandate to go into all the world, we are also given the mandate to care for the orphan and the widow. Thank you very much for investing in all your various ways to see the Love of Christ given to those who go without some the basic necessities of life. It is my great honor and pleasure to have all of you stand behind me in this. THANK YOU!
-Wisdom for the way ahead
March 14: Storrs, CT – Speaking at University of Connecticut
March 27 – April 1: Montreal, Canada – Help facilitate Emergent Church Consortium
April 11: Storrs, CT – Speaking at University of Connecticut
April 16-17 NYC – Speaking at Missions\Discipleship School