07 July 2010

My Next Adventure

In my last blog, I wrote that I would later share what God has been teaching me in the months since returning to America. I don't really know where to begin as there is SO much, so instead I will write a short bit and then share with you an article I found that summarizes most of what I have learned in the past months. I found this article by fluke, but it lead me to an organization whose mission aligns directly with the convictions God has been placing on my heart.

The organization is called Mocha Club, its premise is that for the cost of two mochas a month, anyone can make huge strides in helping the needs of the third world. I was so impressed by the group, and amazed that God had lead me to a group that fit perfectly with my convictions, that I immediately decided to join. I have been so amazed at how many Christians, young and old, ignore the call in James 1:27 to give to the widow and orphan. Many excuse themselves by saying they don't have the money to help, or that they are waiting for God to call them personally. But if a teenager can afford to buy themselves a fancy coffee on a regular basis, what excuse do they have to not help provide water to those with NOTHING to drink? And if God says that the job of all Christians is to serve, then what more personal call does one need to serve Him?!? Unfortunately far too many people have become consumed with the need for more money and rather than experience the abundant blessing through giving it back to the Lord, they choose to hoard it for themselves and find excuses as to why it is not enough. I have asked the Lord to break me of this temptation in my own life, and I feel now that He has called me to speak out to others in hopes that they too will experience the same conviction.
The unique thing about the Mocha Club is that you do not just join personally and support them monthly on your own. Instead those who join are challenged to share the work of Mocha Club with others and encourage them to join as well. The work of God is not something each person can do individually, we must work together to serve the Lord and serve His people. The Mocha Club works to break the temptation to stand alone in service. I believe that this is crucial when hoping to make a difference in the world, and also in allowing God to make a difference in one's own heart, but it is so often and easily forgotten. If you would like to learn more about the Mocha Club, go to www.mochaclub.org. To join my team, go to www.mochaclub.org/joinme/kvslice.

And now here is the article that so eloquently describes what the Lord has taught me:

I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me

When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference. "I am needed here," I think. "They have so little, and I have so much." It's true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is even harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in those same people. It's a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day.

The images spilling out of my television showed circumstances that could seemingly only equal misery, and I was fooled. I bought into the lie that circumstance defines happiness. The truth is, in Africa I find hearts full of victory, indomitable spirits. In places where despair should thrive, instead I find adults dancing and singing, and children playing soccer with a ball crafted of tied up trash. Instead of payback, I find grace. Here, weekend getaways are not options to provide relief from the pains of daily life. Relationships and faith provide joy. Love is sovereign.

My new reality… I know now that my joy should have no regard for my circumstances. I'm ashamed by my lack of faith, but at the very same moment I am excited by my new pursuit. I'm forced to redefine the meaning of having much or having little. I'm uneasy with the prospect of change and of letting go, but just the thought of freedom is liberating. I want what I have learned to trickle down from my head into my heart - I no longer want to need the "next thing" to have joy.

I'm not saying that Africa does not need our efforts. It absolutely does need our partnership. But for me, I've come to understand that I NEED AFRICA MORE THAN AFRICA NEEDS ME. Why? Because it is Africa that has taught me that possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart. I've learned that I don't need what I have and that I have what I need. These are just a few of this continent's many lessons. I came here to serve and yet I've found that I have so much to learn, and Africa, with all its need, has much to teach me.

It has taken me months to be able to understand for myself and then verbalize what I learned while overseas, so I hope that this blog has been able to effectively share a tidbit into my heart and mind at this time. MyMocha Club page also shares a bit more as to what God has been teaching me and doing in my heart, so please look to that page if you would like to read more. I hope you will join me in my next adventure as I see where the Lord leads me and what He teaches me as I give to the work of the Mocha Club.

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