Wednesday, April 29, 2009

General Rundown

Hope’s Promise

Monday I met with the national director of Hope’s Promise, and I will now be working with their ministry. I will still be working with the youth center once we are at the point of developing and running a program, but much of my time will now be spent counseling foster families. I will do individual and family counseling, as well as some crisis pregnancy counseling. It will be a couple of weeks before I begin with this ministry.
It is incredible how God connected me with Hope’s Promise. I had been working at the youth center on the construction and remodeling, but was looking for a different ministry where I could use my educational background. I was considering programs, and knew a teammate who was leaving the next week had worked with Hope’s Promise. I asked her about it, and she invited me to tour the next day, and the director was just getting ready to leave when we came in. She graciously took the time to meet with us, and to explain HP. It turns out they work with foster families (my family has done foster care since I was born), were located next to the youth center (so I can walk with Josh to work), and teach beadwork to teenage moms (beading is one of my main hobbies). Additionally, they had been praying for someone to do counseling to free up the director a bit, as she has many responsibilities. I work when I have the time, so it won’t interfere with the youth program, and I will still be able to nurture those relationships. This is a huge blessing.

Youth Center

This past week the youth center at times had 3 volunteers working at once. Considering we have struggled to get one, this is exciting! We are hoping to continue this trend. Josh and Steven have been hard at work preparing the main room so that it can be usable for the 2 day youth camp we are doing next week. Kids here have year-round school, and they have breaks in May, August, and December, so they will come to us instead of going to school!

K & M

This was Kristen and Mackenzie’s last week, so we have been trying to spend a good deal of time with them, as well. We have only known them for a few weeks, but it’s amazing how living in a foreign country can bond you together. After the women’s night Britt and I went for a sleepover at their house. We all stayed up past 2 am, which is unheard of here.
On Tuesday, after a full day of clown ministry, the we had their last night of Bible study with the RHS girls.

Saturday Night we all went up to Windhoek to Kristen and Mackenzie’s farewell dinner. We ate at this really cool restaurant called Joe’s Beer House. It’s not exactly the type of place you’d expect to find a bunch of missionaries, but we try to do the unexpected. Josh had a platter with Oryx, Crocodile, Zebra (a little too close to horse for me), Chicken, and Ostrich. I had vegetarian pasta. To each his own.

This is a picture of all the AIM missionaries from Rehoboth. L-R: Nicky, Catherine, Stephen, Brittany, Heidi, Mackenzie, Josh, and Kristen.

Youth Group Talk

Friday Night we got the chance to speak to the youth group about relationships with the opposite sex. Each month has a theme, and this month’s theme was relationships; we had heard a bit about dating relationships, about friendships, and about our relationship with Jesus. It’s possible that we were asked to do this because we are the only people there that are married (not even the youth pastor is), so that automatically gives us some credibility or something. Well, we’re no experts, but we are passionate about godly relationships.

The enemy did not want this talk to happen, and we aren’t sure why (yet). First, I got strep last week. Then, he was intimidating Josh because this was really his first big talk on relationships to a large group. Right before the talk (like by 1 hour), I started to lose my voice. About 15 minutes before, I started to get really dizzy, like maybe I needed to eat something. There is a grocery store about half a block away, but when we walked there, they had closed early. I looked for food in the kitchen but couldn’t find any, so I literally ate some straight sugar (for making coffee). Disgusting, but it got the job done.

Anyway, we commenced with the talk, and it went pretty well. We were a little pressed for time, but that just means that we have more to say for another day . The theme of our message was, “Don’t just settle for virginity; Strive for purity!” The kids seemed receptive, and we got comments and questions afterward. It was a blessing to be able to share what God has done in our lives.

Quote of the Moment

“Oh the desert is lovely in its restfulness- the great brooding stillness over and through everything is so full of God. One does not wonder that He used to take His people out into the wilderness to teach them.” -Lilias Trotter

We have several more posts ready, but the internet is s-l-o-w today. Check back for more! To see more, check Brittany’s blog.


Quick peaks at our daily life:

I can’t show you all our pictures (at least not until we get back), and I can’t blog about everything, but here are some picture of our daily life.

This is one of the little girls from the pre-school, and she was teaching me how to say “I love you” in Nama. She is so precious and, just like the others, loves to be held. It’s a tough job…

A few weeks ago, Steve’s aunt Edith came to visit us, and we took her to the dam (it was the first time going for Josh and I as well). Oanab Dam is Rehoboth’s main water source, and the only body of water for miles around (or kilometers, as they say here). This was the view at sunset.

After the clown ministry at the pre-school, we painted the kids faces- they loved it, and kept trying to go through the line again!

Standing in line for follow the leader.

Britt, Kristen, Steve, Josh, me, and the kids.

Clowns walking in Block E

When we did clown worship, we also acted out “The Good Samaritan.” Josh was the victim, and I was the bandit, so I had to “beat and rob” him.

Silly shot of Reho team.


Before we came to Africa, everybody asked if we were concerned about the animals- lions, hyenas, but mostly, snakes. Praise the Lord we haven’t come into much contact with any of those. Rather, insects have been our burden. Observe:

The body of this bug is three inches long. We see them all over the place.

I found this spider in one of the bathroom stalls at the youth center when I was cleaning. Not sure what it is, but it moves FAST. I tried to squish it with a towel, but somehow it escaped. I knocked down the web, but it had built a brand new one the next day. Lazy they are not.

This is the first strange insect we saw. It was about and inch and a half long, but we have seen bigger. Imagine the crunch it would make if you stepped on it. We have just learned to peacefully coexist.

During orientation, two little girls informed me that this spider was about 6 inches from my hair. Terrific. I found the next one about a foot away from it. Even better.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Josh and I are officially HIV/AIDs-free. Shocked? We weren’t, either. We got tested not because we wondered about our “status” (the ubiquitous term here for whether or not you are infected), but rather to gain perspective and insight into the testing process.

HIV/AIDs is a HUGE problem in Namibia. Around one-quarter of the population has HIV/AIDs right now. Pretty much every town has a free testing center. This disease has decimated an entire generation of Africans, and is now working on the next one.

During our in-country orientation, we were taught about the basics of HIV/AIDs. Some facts to remember:
 HIV is the virus that causes AIDS
 HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, specifically blood, semen, and breast milk.
 There are two main strains of HIV, one primarily present in developed countries, and one present in mostly third-world countries. Far more research has been done on the first type.
 If proper precautions are taken, there is a 8% chance that HIV will be transmitted to a child from an infected mother.
 There is no cure for AIDs
 There is no way to tell whether someone has HIV/AIDs just by looking at them
 AIDs can be treated with anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, which can extend life while infected from an average of 10 years to an average of 30 years.
 AIDs and tuberculosis are often referred to as twins, because TB is common here, and it is much easier to catch it if you have AIDs. Usually TB is completely treatable, but it can be very serious if you are positive.
 There is still a huge stigma against AIDs in Namibian society, so people hesitate to get tested.
 ARVs must be taken at the same exact time each day, and receiving them requires finding a sponsor who agrees to make sure that happens. This is very difficult to do if the fear of discrimination keeps someone from telling anyone they’re positive.
 AIDs most dramatically effects (and kills) people in their 30s and 40s. This is the age in which people often contribute the most to a society, through financial contribution, raising children, caring for the elderly, volunteer work, and sharing of talents, skills, and ideas.

Before we went to get tested, we were told nothing of the process. We were taken, one-by-one, into a small room, and given an identification number and told to pick a fake name. We then went to a waiting room, and were called into a tiny counseling room, where they ask about past sexual and relational history. After that, you go to another room, have your finger pricked, and they do the test. Then you wait for your results.

Waiting was by far the most difficult part of the experience. I have never had a blood transfusion. I have never so much as kissed any man other than my husband. He has never kissed another woman. I had pretty much zero risk, but there was still a small part of me that wondered. Could something have happened that exposed us to HIV? After all, we are in Africa. The chance is so small there is not a word to accurately describe it, and yet I considered it. I once saw an episode of some “Law and Order”-type show in which a doctor was infected with HIV when he had a blood transfusion after a car accident that took place while he was volunteering in Africa. Far fetched? Of course. But reason and logic are not always top priorities during an experience like this.

While we waited, Josh and I held hands and talked quietly. A couple of men joined us in the waiting room. It made more of an impact- they may have tested positive, may really not have known their results, may have taken part in risky behavior.

We received our results simultaneously, but separately. To be perfectly honest, I felt a sense of relief.

It opened our eyes to the fear that testing can bring. We are grateful to have had this opportunity. It will give us the chance to tell people, from personal experience, that the process is nothing to be afraid of.

Easter in Africa

Easter morning we went to our church, and had a perfectly nice service. But…it didn’t really seem like Easter. The pastor was gone for a funeral, there were fewer people present than usual, there was no purple cloth, or white lilies, or little girls in white hats. It seemed like any other Sunday. ( Although we missed it, we heard the church was packed with people dressed in their best for the Good Friday service).

To us, Easter is the anniversary of the most important day in the history of the world. At home, we all go to Sonrise service, wear new outfits, and have a big dinner and egg hunt at Grandma’s afterwards.

All these differences mad me wonder about how many of our traditions are spiritually inspired, and how many are more culturally related. What do you think?

We took some pictures when we got home from church. We would love to see pictures of you and your families!

I love him SOOOO MUCH!

Even when he looks like this...

This one is for Belle. She gave us her Tender Heart Care Bear, so we are supposed to take picures with him and send them to her. She has my "My Little Pony" from when I was little, but I haven't seen a picture yet...

Sunday afternoon consisted of hanging out at the house of two of our teammates. Sunday evening, we all went to another friend’s house, and made and ate pizza for Easter dinner. Non-traditional, but delicious. We learned more about each other’s families and backgrounds, ate jellybeans (not a favorite of mine at home, but delicious when they are the only option), told stories, and pondered theological questions like,

“Which is more important: Jesus’ birth, death, or resurrection?”

Well, what do you think? My thoughts to come in a later post…

Snippets (written 4/11/09)

Yesterday, we both had to stay home sick with fevers (here, it is very important to stay away from others when sick given the high incidence of HIV/AIDs). It was Good Friday, so we didn’t miss work or anything, but it was still disappointing. And boring. We tend to be very active people, and there is not a lot to do here when you’re sick. You can only rest so much (especially when it’s hot and stuffy), no internet, DVDs, having mom make you chicken soup, etc. We read and prayed and listened to music until we could read and pray and listen no more. Well, at least not for a while.

Then we whipped out the playing cards. And for the first time ever in our relationship, Josh beat me at King’s Corner. Twice (keep in mind I was sick…). Usually, I beat him so badly that we have to play chess afterward to rebuild his self-esteem ( he always wins). My self-esteem building game is Scrabble, which he said we couldn’t pack because it “took up too much room.” Uh-huh.


Easter is celebrated a little differently here. Many churches have services every night leading to Easter, with there main service taking place on Good Friday. Easter Sunday is a smaller affair, and some people don’t celebrate until Monday. Still trying to figure out why…


It is really, really dry here. And it is the end of the rainy season, so it’s bound to get worse. I already get a bloody nose on a nightly basis. If you have any surefire preventative advice (humidifiers are not an option), please have mercy and share it!


Apparently Rehoboth has a street-racing problem. On the street next to us. For hours in the middle of the night.

Couple that with the fact that the church across the street from us has had all-night services, all week long. And they truly believe in raising their voices to the Lord! So do the chickens and the dogs…

Say it with me, roosters- “sunrise”


“Cleanliness is Next to Godliness”

Oh, I hope not. Praise the Lord for His grace.

Huge blessing this week: one of the girls leaving soon has been sorting through here stuff and gave me an unused loofah. I have a washcloth, but loofahs just make me feel cleaner (and exfoliated!)

I am pretty sure you can’t adequately appreciate the meanning of the word “clean” until you’ve lived in the Kalahari.


It is not advisable to be out after dark here (no street or yard lights, lots of crime), so we are pretty much housebound every night by 6:30. Combine that with the fact we have traveled a lot in the last month, and it adds up to lots of Great Reading time. Books we’ve read or are reading:

Irresistible Revolution Shane Claiborne
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God Noel Piper
Deception Randy Alcorn
Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity Lauren Winner
Crazy Love Frances Chan
Love Dare Kendrick
Ministering Cross-Culturally
A Light in the Window Jan Karon
Before I Wake Dee Henderson
Jesus Wants to Save Christians Rob Bell
The Covenant Michener
Getaway Guide to Namibia Mike Copeland


This week I inherited a Girls Bible Study.

It was initially formed by two wonderful teammates who are leaving this month. The attendance varies between 8 and 16 girls ages 15-17, all of whom live in a hostel at a local school (it’s kind of like boarding school). Most of them are from rural farms, but they chose to move here for a better education.

Block E

Recently, we (13 of us) piled into a teammates vehicle and went to deliver 320 PB&J sandwiches to kids in Block E. Rehoboth is divided into sections, and Block E is the most impoverished as well as the most dangerous. Many of the residents speak Nama, so even the tiny bit of Afrikaans we know isn’t always helpful. However, holding out food to a hungry child easily erases language barriers.

As soon as we began to hand out food, we were mobbed by hungry kids. Most of them are dirty and barefoot, and they think we’re rich because we’re white. And to them, we really are. Because of the amount of need, we only give food to children, and it is very difficult to turn away a hungry person just because they are an adult. It is a tough choice to make.

Some of the kids got creative, and would go home to change clothes to get a second sandwich. They also ran around the block to come at us from a different direction, trying to confuse us about who had already been fed.

Overall though, most of the kids are so unselfish. Although they usually aren’t getting the nutrition they need, they were often more concerned about sharing with family and friends than about themselves. If there is anyone in whom I would understand greed, it would be them, but they were models of what Jesus would want, even though most don’t know him yet.

“In the poor, we meet Jesus in His most distressing disguises” - Mother Theresa

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Irresistible Revolution

Josh and I have had a tremendous talking to and learning from our country director and his wife (this week, we are doing orientation). They are firm in their opinions, and love Jesus with all their hearts. They are not just nominal Christians, but followers of Christ. It has been a privilege listening to what God has shown them.

I have begun reading a book I borrowed from them this week, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, by Shane Claiborne. Although I agree with only about 60-70% of what he says, I wholeheartedly recommend it. He has the most important stuff right. Even when you don’t agree with the author, this book will challenge you to examine your beliefs, and how you live them out. It doesn’t hurt that he has an entertaining writing style, and lots of fun anecdotes.

Here’s what the book has reminded me of: I want to be radical. I want to genuinely love the people no one else wants to love, not just in Africa, but at home, too. One person at a time. And I mean REALLY love them, not the I-don’t-hate-you-so-that-means-I-love-you fallacy that has invaded the Church. I want to be a friend to them, to share my life with them and theirs with me. I want to give generously because it is my heart’s desire, and not just an obligation. How many coats do you need anyway? (see Matthew 5:40)

“Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church
member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary
soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary
intellectual. But the one who has love, courage, and wisdom moves the world.”
-Ammon Hennacy

The term “christian” has lost its flavor (Matthew 5:14-16). I want to be a radical follower of Christ. Semantics? Maybe. But for those who are serious, the world needs to be prepared for a change.

To be continued…

My Random Little Blog Schedule

Computers in Rehoboth are different. And, it seems, also on Africa time (more about that later). It is due to this that I beg you to bear with me. Pictures will often looked clumped together. Text may look funny or be oddly spaced. I can only upload about once a week (so, you may get 10 posts in one day).

We are still figuring this out here, people. I estimate all errors will be ironed out in 6 or so months. Definitely in 10 :).

We're in this together.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Being African

I am not sure if I’ve ever been someplace more different from the U.S. Sure, Barack Obama and Britney Spears are known to some here, but beyond that, life is just…SO different.

We walk everywhere. We don’t have a car, so it’s an absolute necessity. We are getting used to it. I had never realized how much vehicles isolate us from those around us. We have had many pleasant, spontaneous conversations with strangers on our strolls through town.

It is sunny all the time here (LOVE that). And hot (less fond of the heat). Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Afrikaans is the main language spoken in Namibia. It is a combination of Dutch and tribal languages. However, it is not uncommon for someone to speak 8 or 9 different languages here, due to the multitude of tribes in a relatively small area.

The currency is the Namibian dollar. The exchange rate is around 10:1 with the US dollar, but it fluctuates quite a bit.

Family is seen somewhat differently in Africa, and you find few examples of the traditional nuclear family. Often many generations will live together in one house, or a child will live with their aunt and uncle, or with an older sibling. Sometimes couples are married but live apart due to employment (this is especially true with mining).

Food is different here, very basic. Plain pasta, plain potatoes, plain rice, etc. And lots of meat. Every kind of meat: beef, lamb, goat, pork, zebra, ostrich, alligator, snake, you name it… In fact, they don’t consider chicken or fish to be meat. I am pretty much desperate for Mexican food. And Italian. And Chinese. And especially Mom’s cooking. The familiar…

Grocery store stock is very fluid. If you see something you want, buy it now, because it won’t be there later.

People here are… cautious. They want to be friendly, but they have been hurt so badly in the past that they are sometimes suspicious.

There is this thing called “Africa Time.” Basically, it means that time is not the focus. It is not unheard of for someone to show up 3 hours late for a party, but that’s okay, because the party doesn’t start until people get here. They are very relational people, and finishing a conversation in more important to them than being on time to their next appointment. Let’s just say I will be glad to return to American time. I can embrace Africa time while I am here, but I have no intention of adopting it as a permanent lifestyle. Josh, on the other hand…

Faith & Reason (written 3/25/09)

“Even if there were no Heaven and no hell, would you still follow Jesus? Would you follow Him for the life, joy, and fulfillment he gives you right now?”

- Tony Campolo

When I read this quote, it caught me off-guard. I mean, we basically use the fact that Jesus can keep you out of hell as a main “selling point” for why people should believe (see Pascal’s Wager). If you had asked me, when I first acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, why I did it, I would have said something like, “Because Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins.” The theology’s not perfect, but I was only in elementary school.

No wonder the church has such a difficult time getting Christians to live out their faith. We turn choosing to follow Christ into a one-time deal. If I just accept Christ, then I’ll be covered. I can go on living life as usual, AND be saved from hell! I don’t blame people for being confused; the emphasis often seems to be on making that “choice.” How many times have you been in church when the congregation is asked if any of them chose to follow or led someone to Christ recently. We have public alter calls at concerts and conferences and revivals. I even know of several churches and missions organizations who include the number of new “converts” in a yearly report. Is that how we measure success? Now, I know we like to see hard data, even in religion, but I think we’ve gotten a little carried away.

In reality, faith is not a one-time choice, but a choice we must make everyday, sometimes many times per day. It is a lifetime conversion process. The choice is not only about acknowledging Jesus as my Savior, but choosing to follow His will instead of my own, choosing to follow His directions instead of my own ideas, and choosing to turn away from sin. It’s talking to dirty beggars, playing with lice-infested kids, not being bitter to those who have wronged us, sharing what we have, choosing to spend time focused on God rather than watching TV or surfing the internet, smiling at people we pass on the street, touching those infected with HIV/AIDS, who are rarely touched, loving the least…it is not easy to follow Him.

But as they say, “Easy things are rarely worth doing, and things worth doing are rarely easy.”

The catch is that the payoff comes once we have already made the decision to follow, to sacrifice, to obey. That’s when we are shown the “life, joy, and fulfillment” in Christ. After all, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we cannot see” -Hebrews 11:1

How would you answer Tony Campolo’s question?

First Day (written 3/23/09)

Today we got the first glimpse of what a normal Namibian day may look like for us: we woke up in our host home, went to the youth center, worked with Brittany and Steven, worked on remodeling the building, said good-bye to Lulu, ate lunch, played with the kids after school, walked home, shower, quiet time, etc.

Although ours is mostly a relational ministry, there is something to be said for manual labor. It gives us an activity to complete, a temporary purpose, which is helpful during this time of transition.

Today I stood in the doorway to the youth center, and just asked God what we are here for. Why has He asked us to make sacrifices to follow His command to come here- comfort, time, energy, vanity, financial security, leisure, control, being with family and friends… How will He use that?

There is so much to be done. We really don’t know anyone here very well yet. We miss our friends and family. There is no place we have found (yet) where we can be completely alone with God, where we can sing or dance or cry free from judgment. We are learning a knew language and culture…it is overwhelming.

All that gets me through right now are God’s promises: that I am His child, that I cannot be separated from His love, that He has a perfect plan for my life, that I can do all things through Christ…

I usually read the same number Proverbs as the day of the month (Proverbs 1 on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd, and so on). For some reason, today I thought I should do the same thing with Psalms. It didn’t hit me until I saw it: Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

Doesn’t that just say it all?

I could have stopped there and gotten the message, but I continued:

He makes me lay down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still water.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.
For you are with me,
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil,
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I shall not want. I have all I need. Even in emotionally challenging times, He is all I need.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all our wants are met: a dinner at Casa with family and friends would be lovely.

This adventure in Africa is a reminder that our desire for comfort, familiarity, and control must always be superceded by our desire for Christ.

The REAL Namibia (written 3/22/09)

Everything I thought about Namibia is wrong.

Well, mostly. It is really hot here.

As it turns out, the resources we relied on most heavily are more focused on eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, etc.). So, not here…

Anyway, after we unlearned what we thought we knew, we were inundated with all sorts of new information. A sprinkling of what we now know is true:

 It is hot. REALLY hot. And very dry. It was around 90 degrees yesterday, and this is Fall.
 The seasons are opposite here. However, given that the temperature will be in the 60s and 70s, “winter” will feel like summer to us.
 At one point, we thought we were going to be coming here in early February. Around that time, we had a cold snap in which wind chills were around -60 degrees. It was around 110 degrees here, which would have made a difference of 170 degrees. I think God just didn’t want our bodies to combust.
 We are living with a host family in a small house. Our host mother has a grandson.
 We have a toilet! After serving in China (see squatty-potties), you can imagine the jig of joy I wanted to perform. I didn’t know anyone here at the time, so I kept it to myself. They say you can only make one first impression. I didn’t want to be known as the girl who gets really excited about plumbing. Incidentally, when toilets flush in the southern hemisphere, the water apparently swirls in an opposite direction than those in the north.
 We begin working with the youth center building tomorrow. We are so excited to meet the people involved!
 The highways in Namibia are in very good condition. Driving rules tend to be a little more (ahem) relaxed, but we will adjust.
 Here we drive on the left side of the road. Actually, we don’t have a vehicle, so we ride on the left side.
 Dye on Namibian sheets is not colorfast. I have the blue hands and feet to prove it.
 Apartheid ravaged Namibia at the same time it did South Africa. There are still very deep wounds as a result.
 Apparently, we are really, really white. Skin color means a lot here. Also, light blue eyes and blonde hair are not common here, so small children love to touch and stare at us, and giggle. We are semi-celebrities in this town. We will never blend in here. I never appreciated the anonymity it is possible to have in the US, but I see it now. Still, I have no sympathy for all the famous people who complain about their lack of privacy. All choices have consequences. Besides, the $100 million salary should take the edge off.
 The Rineer family is lovely. We miss them already.

WWYD (What Would You Do)?

According to a sermon I heard a while back, there are approximately 168,000 martyrs each year for the Christian faith. I feel sick after hearing about one, but 168,000. After serving in China, and being a fan of the Jesus Freaks series, I knew there were present-day martyrs. I thought there were may like 100 per year or something. One-hundred sixty-eight thousand people are dying for Christ each year. Oh, and let’s not forget those that survive, but are maimed and tortured for the faith.

I once heard a sermon from Chuck Swindoll on the mountains and valleys of the Christian life. Essentially, he said that if you aren’t in a valley now, you will be.

Why? Because we are enemies of the Enemy.

Paul tells us no to be surprised at our trials, and exhorts us to be glad of suffering because it makes us partners in Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:12-13).


I am guessing some of you are nodding in agreement. After all, this is not a new verse, and you have surely heard it before. But have you ever REALLY suffered for Christ? As for me, I have endured challenges from being obedient to the Lord, but I am not sure I have ever truly suffered. Not that I am asking for it or anything…it just got me thinking: how far would I go to honor God?

What would you do? Don’t just say “anything” and be done- think it through. Would you sell your house and all your belongings to live in a cardboard box? Would you move around the world to a place where nobody knows you, knowing you could never see anyone you love again? Would you accept circumstances that are “boring” and “everyday” without complaint? Would you continue to follow the Lord if you developed a painful disease or suddenly lost all your loved ones? Would you give up your life, like the 168,000 Christian martyrs each year? Let’s make it harder: would you give up your child’s life to honor God?

Would you give up your child’s life to save one person from eternal separation from God? I’m pretty sure I might not. But God would have given His son for just one of us.

I can’t even comprehend that.

How can we lead others to Christ, knowing they will suffer? Of all the cultures we’ve worked with, Americans are the most terrified of suffering. We expect things to be easy: running water, fast food, email, instant text messaging. To suffer by choice is incomprehensible. However, when people have already experienced suffering, they seem more willing to suffer for Christ. To them, it is a small price to pay for eternal life with the Lord.

I have much yet to learn.