Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Testimony of Weakness

It was 2 weeks ago to the day, the 5 of us Americans were sitting in a safe house in Nepal, designed to be a immediate refuge for girls who had been saved being trafficked into a life of sexual slavery in India. We had been traveling and working all day, it was hot, and we were tired. But here we were at yet another Safe House, to visit with another group of gathered miracles, and (speaking for myself) it was really hard to see what was happening right in front of us.

Until…

After we met the girls and visited for a bit, one of the women suggested that we have a fellowship, which is what they call a devotional time, or very basic church service. We were all sitting around in a circle singing and sharing, and at least one cranky American was ready to go to bed. And then it happened. In all my short term international trips there have only been a few times that I’ve seen the cultural barriers that are way too think and concrete come down due to an activity of the Holy Spirit, but this was one of them.

Maybe you could say it was because they sang some songs that we knew, or that the girls decided to pray the same LORD’s prayer, or maybe you could say that the Living God showed up, but whatever it was, suddenly we were more than just strangers sitting in a room together. We were the global, unstoppable, Hell-charging, Heaven bringing Church.

And then one of the girls started to tell their story.

She told about how she had been seduced by a man who had promised to love her forever, he had asked her to run away with him from her family, and then right when the eloping had been almost complete she had learned the devastating truth about the man who she had fallen in love with. Now we had been there for a few days and we knew that this wasn’t par for the course. Because of the Nepalese culture, and the nature of the crime committed against them, these girls were not this transparent, especially in front of American strangers that they had just met. But against all expectations, one by one each girl began to share her story.

Of course we had a translator helping us. And while the language barrier can be incredibly frustrating, there are times when not speaking the same language can be a real blessing. Because since Adam and Eve, humans have been struggling to name things. And sometimes cultures other than our own, help us to see things from a different vantage point by giving it another name.

So before all this broke loose, with the girls telling the stories, before the first girl shared her painful experience, she said something in Nepalese, and our translator repeated it in English. He said, “She wants to share her weakness.” Then he caught himself, and said, “She wants to share her testimony.”

I was once in a room where someone asked a group of people to stand up if their lives had been directly affected by cancer. As each person stood, there was a palpable change in the room. These people who were previously strangers were immediately bonded together by a common thread. Their weakness.  Continue reading The Testimony of Weakness

The Red Thread Movement

So I just returned from a couple of weeks in Nepal working with the ministry Eternal Threads. It’s a great ministry that I highly commend that is working to create connections between 3rd and 1st world countries, and providing fair trade opportunities for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. (In fact, if you are a person with any influence in your church, and would like to throw a gathering for your church to shop and make a difference in the world at the same time, you can email eternalthreads@mac.com)

One part of the Eternal Threads ministry is something that has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. It’s called the Red Thread Movement, and what it is doing for the girls in Nepal is unreal!  For those of you who haven’t heard, The Red Thread Movement is an ACU student initiative that helps women who have been sexually trafficked from Nepal to India (over 12,000 girls are trafficked in Nepal every year) and because the culture is a very honor/shame based culture, most of the girls who are trafficked are too ashamed, or not allowed to go back home.

So Eternal Threads helps them go to a safe home where they are taught a sustainable business skill like sewing or being a beautician and then sent back to their villages. And they take the Gospel with them! These girls are planting churches in villages that no Western missionary could reach, and it’s working like crazy!

It starts like a mustard seed, and just keeps going.

But it’s not enough to tell you this in the abstract. So let me introduce you to Gita:

Gita came from a small village in Nepal, where her mother left to become a migrant worker overseas to hopefully raise money for her struggling family. That was over 5 years ago…they haven’t heard from her since. So Gita’s dad eventually remarried, and her step-mother was less than kind to Gita. The family had no money and then Gita met “Romeo.” He promised her the world and gave her hell. He romanced her, proposed to her, and slept with her, all within just a short time of knowing her.

Then “Romeo” told Gita that what he really wanted to do was get married in India, Gita didn’t have much holding her to her small village in Nepal, her prospects were extremely limited, so she went. And it’s here that Gita’s life really turns on a dime. At the border she was stopped by girls at a border station, girls who had previously been trafficked themselves, and it’s here that Gita learns about the true intentions about the love of her life.

She was less than 10 yards from a life of Hell on earth. And she was stopped.

They say that it takes the average girl anywhere from 1-3 months to be able to face the reality of what has actually happened to her, and how close she actually came to being forced into sexual slavery. At first they deny it, they think he really loved them, or that he really was trying to get them a legitimate job in India. But when it finally dawns on them what has happened they need more than just a place to stay.

They need the Gospel.  Continue reading The Red Thread Movement

The Strange Nature of Leaving

So hang with me on this one…If you were an alien just coming down to check out the world for the first time. If you were hoping to see what we valued and held as important, where would you go?

Now if you as an alien, wanted to discover what the richest people of the world cared about, not the insanely rich that most Americans are tempted to compare themselves to. (That kind of research would be easy, you’d just have to watch Cribz) but the people who are wealthier than the vast majority of the world. You know the ones who can eat any time they want to, and actually own a car and have a roof over their heads. In America we tend to call them something like middle class, but only because we compare them to Donald Trump.

You would recognize this all as an alien because you don’t need to think in the categories that we, as insiders, have been given and think within.

So where would you go as an alien to research what these very wealthy people care about. I submit to you, potential travelling researching alien that you would go to the airport. You would fly on a plane, a luxury reserved for the very few elite of the world who actually have enough money to defy gravity and move across the world as easily as if Delhi was just a bus ride away.

And there you would find Sky Mall.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on airplanes the last few days, now we are hanging out in the Katmandu airport, with 1 flight down and 3 more to go.  When were finally home, we will have spent half a week in the sky. And after a while the siren’s call of the sky mall can overpower the strongest of persons. So you find yourselves find thumbing through the most insane of products thinking to yourself, what idiot would buy this? And then you suddenly find something that you realize you cannot live without, answering your own question.

But as I read through Sky Mall these last few days, I noticed something that I never had before. Every product that Sky Mall sells really falls into a couple of categories.

  1. Comfort
  2. Entertainment
  3. Not being bald Continue reading The Strange Nature of Leaving

The Romantic God

Chances are you’ve already seen this video, it’s winning the internet right now. But I love this on so many levels. There is something pretty great about adding a flash mob to your proposal. But that got me thinking. I’m doing a couple of weddings this month, and it’s always a time of great joy and celebration. But there are always some hiccups in every wedding, all the family dysfunctions can bubble to the surface (and every family has some dyfunctions!) But Did you ever wonder why weddings bring out the best and the worst in us? There is something primal about two people giving their lives to each other. As If, it is tapping into the nature of the Universe.

And we love to talk about it.

There’s a reason why the #1 grossing movie of all time isn’t Star Wars, it’s Titantic it grosses  1, billion 835.4 million dollars. There’s a reason that you can’t turn on your radio without hearing someone sing about how much they love someone else.

Romantic love for many is the end itself, but that fails to grasp how big it actually is.

I like the way C.S. Lewis talks about this:

The Event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transistory. In one high bound it has overleaped the massive wall of our selfhood; it has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality and planted the interest of another in the center of our being. Spontaneously and without effort we have fulfilled the law (towards one person) by loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is an image, a foretaste, of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival. It is even preparation for that.

On some level, I have always been a romantic person.I believe Whenever a man kisses a woman no matter who he is, he is in over his head. But Romantic love is never the end in itself, it always points past itself. It progresses, it forces us to make promises, and ultimately to give ourselves away to the other person.

It progresses, a lot of times, to a wedding.  Continue reading The Romantic God