May 24, 2008

No Great Leap of Faith {Afghanistan}

{over the edge}

Oh great "leap of faith" I wish to be rid of thee. Yet another phrase which draws the perfect sovereignty out of our Lord. It's a saying tossed around most Christian circles that I just can't get my head around. I long to never take another "leap of faith", but rather LIVE by faith; constantly uprooted and directed by the Lamb. To no longer simply "give thanks" before a meal, but more importantly live a life which merits thanks for the food provided. The problem is we are "living on the edge", close enough to the dangerous fall to hear the wind howling bellow. From time to time we leap into the air to feel the exhilaration of what it might be like to go over the edge. But the thought of "loosing ones life" in the fall keeps us from the freedom of flight. I propose we go beyond mere "leaps of faith" and unwittingly fall into the abyss, leaving only the glory of the Lord visible to save us from the rocks below...into the great unknown...  

{South Point - Hawaii Big Island}

So we have been working hard to finalize the first 3 months of field work we are about to embark on. I can't tell you how incredible exited I am to share with you what we will be doing. Last night after weeks of fumbling around with visas & NGO contacts we received an open invitation from our contact in Afghanistan. For those of you who don't know, there is currently a great famine going on in the northern territories of Afghanistan caused by draught and the continuation of violence in the region. The UN & Oxfam have estimated that unless aid workers can reach these tribal areas more than 7,500,000 people could die from starvation!!! So yesterday we received the invitation to go and work in Northern Afghanistan for 2 months delivering food as well as photographing and capturing the situation in hopes to bring further awareness and aid. The NGO we will be working side by side with (I can't share their name) has given us word that for US$170 they can feed a family of 7 for 2 months!!! If ANYONE is interested at all in helping us raise funds specifically for this purpose PLEASE get in touch with me. We (PhotogenX) are trying to raise around $10,000 which would allow us (YOU) to personally provide food to 60 families for the next two months while I am personally in the field...

Please pray for us in this time as we prepare to leave. We need our visas & immunizations to be taken care of this week!!! So please pray that God would provide in his perfect timing for us. I'm so exited I can hardly contain myself...

{South Point - Hawaii Big Island}

In other crazy news Diane & I are getting married in just 3 weeks now!!! Where in the world did the time go? Things are coming together and we just want to thank everyone who has sown into our relationship over the past couple months. You are such a blessing to our lives. I can't believe we are going to start our lives together traveling the world serving people. How perfect...

We are still looking for people to partner with us on this journey of hope. We so wish to share and dream with you of another world and put action to those dreams. We want to bring you with us as you sow into our work and share in the hope that we profess...we'll be in touch ;-)

{South Point - Hawaii Big Island}

May 6, 2008

Saints or Communists?

It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just missions projects but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle. One of the verses I have grown to love is the one where Jesus is preparing to leave the disciples and says, "I no longer call you servants... Instead, I have called you friends" (John 15:15)." Servanthood is a fine place to begin, but gradually we move toward mutual love, genuine relationships. Someday, perhaps we can even say those words that Ruth said to Naomi after years of partnership: 

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried" (Ruth 1:16-17).

And that's when things get messy. When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends with folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity.  In the words of the late Catholic bishop Dom Helder Camara: 

"When I fed the hungry, they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist." 

Charity wins awards and applause, but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them.

{much of this post was borrowed from Shane Claiborne's book The Irresistible Revolution which I HIGHLY recommend by the way...oh & I love & miss you all}

May 1, 2008

Another Way of Doing Life

A few years ago the University invested $80,000 into new playground equipment to help better serve the many family's with children working here in Kona. There are so many amazing families with the cutest kids you could ever imagine. They laugh, cry and play together taking no regard to the fact that they can't speak the same language. They simply embrace each other as little people with different looking eyes & skin. Well I've been here a month now and I rarely see kids using the wooden castles & ships they have purposefully created for their enjoyment. I see them instead during my work duty (Diane & I take care of all the recycling here on campus as a part of contributing to this community) playing in our GIANT pile of cardboard and paper. They say "I pay no mind to those castles & ships, I just want to roll in the trash for a while. You built me an empire, yet all I need is my imagination." Usually I'm left holding my HI-5 cans wondering, "what if we as the Body of Christ looked like this?

{These are my favorite TEACHERS}

Diane & I are getting married June 14th. We haven't expected to have much of a WEDDING itself, which is fine with us as it leaves room to focus on the MARRIAGE, but God is so faithful to his people. His love is so overflowing. The past couples weeks He has provided basically all the things we were totally ok with not having for the day. Isn't it incredible how God LOVES to bless his kids with the things on their hearts? We give up - we let go - God is FAITHFUL and in CONTROL... 

{Thank you all SO much for your love and support in this!!!}

This coming week The Childers (A Voice for the Voiceless) along with a bunch of our PhotogenX companions will be heading to Washington DC. They will be meeting with Congress to discuss the continued "tradition" of INFANTICIDE in the Amazon. This past January Susie Childer's Photography of these issues culminated in the making of a documentary film, which will be shown in these meetings. The film is about a young girl named Hakani who amazingly survived her families tribal "tradition" of burring unwanted children alive. A Publication called "A Voice for Hope" will also be distributed in Congress, as well as to all the standing members of the United Nations, featuring PhotogenX photography. One of the major problems is that the Brazilian Government continues to deny the indigenous people basic human rights by excluding them from citizenship. This means that the constitution dose not apply to the tribal people, leaving the hundreds of families who want to save their children without a voice. This issue is so deep I cannot do it justice. Please go instead to the website above if you care to know more about this project. I wanted to make you aware because many of us here have been working on, praying into, and giving out hearts to this project since we stepped foot on this Island. So as our team heads to the States this week I just want to ask for prayer that God will soften the hearts of those they cry out to; that our Father's will and love for these beautiful children can infect the lives of men who's pen can bring an end to these brutal acts; that GODS heart for the VOICELESS will become OUR heart for the VOICELESS!!!

So often we look up to heaven and ask God, "Why is this world so broken?"
I honestly think most of the time He looks back down and says,
"I was about to ask you the same question"
"You are my HANDS & my FEET" 

I'll leave you today with a bit of what has been on my heart the last few days. Soren Kieregaard {one of my favorite 19th-century Danish Christian Theologians} said it far better than I ever could... 

" The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand, But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly. Take any word in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New testament."