Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What a guy like me writes about on Halloween...

Hi Friends,

Sorry I haven’t updated you guys in a while. It’s been a real adjustment being back this side. I don’t think I’ll be shaking off my 3 months in Africa any time soon. Africa is one of those kinesthetic places. It must touched, felt, and experienced. In other words…yes I’m going back. Most of you probably already knew that, but just in case. I’ll head back in February for another stay. You’re always welcome for a visit!

So what am I doing in the mean time you ask? Well, I just came back from spending a week in Minnesota and Wisconsin, speaking and sharing on behalf of Ten Thousand Homes. I have the privilege of spending a good amount of time sharing about Ten Thousand Homes and what God is doing in Africa, His heart for the orphan, and His desire to see the Church engage the largest pandemic the world has ever seen. Just in case you were wondering, there are 13 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa right now! 15 million by 2010. I wonder what grief God must feel when He sees such suffering?
I wonder many times, “how in the world will we reach these orphans?” The need is incredible! Overwhelming! But then I think of this sweeping pandemic and then I think of how much love God possesses. He isn’t short on love, only short on the people who are willing to give it away.

When I read Scripture I see 2 laws - as Jesus put it: Love God, Love your neighbour. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37), Jesus redefines who our neighbour is. You know the story. A complete stranger cares for another. Two people who are complete strangers, have seemingly nothing in common, and are typically avoided by each other – even hated (for those who’re familiar with the history of the figures Jesus uses). I know Africa seems so far away, maybe all we know is what we see in the news or on tv. But Africa is a real place, with real people, who really hurt! Well, you get the point, right?
Jesus has a great way of ending stories...“Go and do likewise.” Love your neighbour as yourself.

Personally, I’m compelled – would go so far as mandated - to respond the orphan crisis. Not only because it’s the right thing to do (which it is), not only because I must back my claim to be someone who values what God values (like the 2100 times the poor are mentioned in the Bible), but rather because of the deep, intrinsic value of God’s people and His inexhaustible, baffling, even reckless love! To quote Jeremy, “God is looking for the slightest excuse to be a father to the fatherless.”

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Home For Now

Hi Friends,
Well I’m home now. Just a few days ago, a plane landed at JFK and I was on it. It’s definitely a mix of emotions. New Haven and South Africa have a special place in my heart. Being in Africa has really made America feel like more of an idea than a place. As stark as the difference may feel, I have to remind myself of how similar the two are. Both filled with people who want to belong, be fathered, and have hope for tomorrow.

For now I wanted to update all of you on how things are with “Z”. For those of you who might remember, I stayed with her and her brother for a few days. (Please refer to August blog.) They are orphans who live in Masoyi on their own. No parents, no real safety, very little to call their own.
As of last week, we were able to purchase land for them to have their own home. Their current living situation has put them in a vulnerable situation and they are easily taken advantage of – mostly for the little money they have. This has happened more than once.
Here’s a picture of the land that will very soon have “Z’s” home on it. It doesn’t look like much now, but soon it will be a safe place for “Z” and her daughter and younger brother.
Z is just one of many. Our dream is make sure that many more just like her are recipients of hope, Christ, as well as a home. I will keep you updated on how things are going for “Z”, her daughter, and her younger brother.

I leave Africa with the assurance that this is just the beginning of something very profound. Africa is a significant piece of the dream in my heart. As my friend Ken said to me once, “Living your dream isn’t easy.” Being part of pioneering something in Africa on behalf of the orphan and widow is a profound privilege. My time in Africa has been challenging and fulfilling all at once.

So for now, I head to America with the mission of telling “their story”. Plans are already in the works to head back in February, perhaps even sooner. Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. Please feel free to call or email. I’d love to grab coffee or a meal.

Your Friend,
Dave Henry