The gap between the way things are run in this world and my ignorance is growing paper thin.
When I was asked to go on my first Compassion blog trip in 2011 I couldn’t say yes fast enough. My heart fell out with the exclamation. I couldn’t have known life as I knew it would fall out from me too.
Just two months prior I had gotten married so it kind of worked for me to be distracted by the newness of marriage while walking the depravity of the world. The trick of poverty is it can be so quiet when we are in our comfortable. But when you step into its reality it is the loudest thing you’ve ever heard.
You close your hands over your ears to stifle the sound only to realize it’s not ringing in your head – it’s rattling in your soul.
I found that poverty either didn’t want me to know about it at all or it wanted me to only be able to hear its hard ugly so it could disable me from action.
Don’t know me. Or know only me.
When I left the Philippines I felt like I had just left some overdone magic house at a carnival. I could not grasp what I just saw. Or what poverty even was. It was confusing. It had tricks. It was too big for me to hold.
When I left I could almost see poverty wave with a smirk on its face and wish me farewell, “Goodbye, you don’t belong here. Please never come back. Besides, what could you really do?”
I could not wait to crawl into my bed. In my free country. With access to my, well…everything.
And I did go home. I fell into my new husband’s arms. I started to cook.
I found God had such a different response from the one I heard from poverty. It sounded more like, “Thank you for going. Thank you for seeing. Now, what are you going to do?”
Trips kept coming up. And each time the yes came out a little more delayed a little more tame. First it was, “YES!!! YES! YES! YES!!!!” and then, “Yes!”
“Ok. Right. …yes?”
With every yes I saw that God was refining me. I was being awakened to the harsh reality of a world teeming in sin. I had a visceral understanding of why Jesus came to heal the broken.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” -Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)
This was no longer just some verse to be memorized so I could recite it at conferences and in churches.
Justice was no longer just some word printed in pretty script on a popular t-shirt. I desired it in my gut.
You cannot say yes to something without actively saying no to something else. And I was saying no to ignorance.
Yesterday I got on a plane to Kenya. I’m still on a plane to Kenya. I’m not going alone. I’m bringing some amazing people who want to use the influence God has given them to shine a light into the darkest corners of the earth. Sophie Hudson, Jamie Ivey, and Shaun Groves.
They want to use their influence to tell the stories of children living in desperate poverty. They actively said yes to this trip. Actively said yes to seeing what God is doing in Kenya. And in doing so, actively said no to ignorance.
Poverty, I initially came to you scared and confused and too privileged. But this time I come assured of the Light that lives in me. And the darkness cannot survive the light.
Friends, I want to humbly ask if you will say yes with us too? Will you follow our trip? Will you come and see what the Lord is doing in Kenya? Will you give the children we meet the honor and respect of reading their stories?
The bloggers and I promise to engage, to see each child as a divine appointment from God. To not sleep until we have told a story every day – and told it well.
I pray that the Holy Spirit awakens you to the “yes” God has for you. Maybe it is to share these stories? To pray for the children in Kenya? To make the decision to sponsor a child?
Our God has chosen to work in us and through us to bring justice to the captives. To heal the broken. There is no quick solution to this – we are actively and consciously storming the gates of injustice and hopelessness.
We need all hands on deck.