On Saturday morning I head back in time to a still-ancient world to gain glimpses of the future; these Hearts of Courage are the Why. I will lead a small band of international brothers and sisters on month-long journey who want to meet the Why and find their role in the What to do for them.
I admit, sometimes when I lead a team I worry about them long before they set foot on the ground. I remember my first few times into the war zone…how unprepared I was to see naked, malnourished orphans and to be overwhelmed by the disease-ridden smell of death that rose from them. How powerless I felt to make any lasting impact no matter what I did in that moment with that one child; there were always hundreds more—always more hopeful, more expectant—waiting in tow behind the one I was able to help.
During those early days, so many of you gathered around me—from thousands of miles away—in spirit and prayer, through emails and letters, along with financial support and constant encouragement to just keep taking the right next step, just keep going. I look back and see that while I was the one who kept going to the war zone, I know in my heart of hearts it was God in YOU who kept me going even through personal and ministry losses, through hard times, hard and fast closed doors, and new beginnings.
Because you NEVER EVER give up, today we have 2,000 fulltime Sudanese and South Sudanese—a veritable troupe de force of love—carrying their own weight to transform their nations of Sudan and South Sudan from within. Peace and rumors of Peace abound. We have orphans who we plucked from the bush 13 years ago, who today have graduated from our high school and are on their way to college. We have certified high school teachers in a land where just a few short years ago barely literate men and women were doing the best they could to teach children under a tree, shouting lesson plans to them all from one sole and ancient textbook. Today, we have young people stepping into clergy, NGO, medical, and virtually all aspects of leadership that are plunging headlong towards that internal, indigenous, sustainable peace from within!
I am not painting a rose-colored picture. Battles still rage, from within and without. Massacres still happen. War carries on. Rape camps still exist, but word from courageous young women like Dorcas are changing even that. Yet, above the roar, a silent breeze is blowing…and it is gaining a gale force—one rescued, educated, healed, and loved child at a time. We still have a long way to go and there are many, many ways you can help.
Here are the Make Way Partners’ top Four Far-Fetched Dreams for this year:
Sometimes, small groups—Sunday School classes, offices, or book clubs—take on a project to see it through. Some individuals or family foundations have the ability to fund an entire project on their own. Other times, a person just opens the door by asking the pastor to give me the pulpit one Sunday and then we see what God does in the hearts of all those who hear!