On our Development Work

Originally published in The Global Voice, Volume 14, Issue 1, Winter 2016.
Read the whole edition here.

Recently, I was privileged to travel to three of the four regions mentioned in this edition of the Global Voice - Kenya (Nov 29-Dec 2), Uganda (Dec 2-9), El Salvador (Dec 10-21) and India (Dec 29-Jan 9).

These days, I don’t typically travel with our teams, and I often have a different agenda due to practical reasons. But the vocational mission we share, based on our calling, gives us a unified presence that’s hard to explain, but easy to sense. This newsletter will be unable to adequately portray all that the Lord is using people in this organization to do, and to tell the stories of so many who without their help, would suffer.

I wish we could communicate what it is that we all experience, but there really isn’t a picture, a video, or even a story told that would be effective enough to translate over to you the greatness of what God is doing abroad.

Arnold, Kenya, December 2016.

Arnold, Kenya, December 2016.

How do I help someone understand the profundity of meeting a malnourished and illiterate Kenyan teenager named Arnold, who attended our Youth Summit in Nairobi this December, whose frail stature spoke of the failures of our world to care for the weak, and whose eyes would challenge your sense of what’s right in the world?

Even more, how do I help someone understand the great hope they could have for Arnold, because I met Arnold 18 years earlier in another teenage Kenyan named Gatanga? Gatanga now stands behind Arnold with a smile on his face and hand on his shoulder, literate, fed, a husband, a father, a leader in his community, a productive member of society, and all because I said “yes” to God.

When I think about all the people the Lord has sent to be laborers in his harvest, and all those who have responded to His call and said “yes,” my sould leaps with joy because I know so many more Gatangas and Arnolds have a chance—there is hope!

John Gatanga, December, 2016.

John Gatanga, December, 2016.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to tell a young, newlywed couple, who could barely afford to marry, and who were ready to live in a cramped, dark, back room of their parents’ home, who wanted more than anything to do something good for God, but were bound by the anxieties of survival in a hostile world: “Antonio and Lorena, join us in ministry. Live in a furnished house we’ve built for you. Do the work of ministry; and bring the life-giving hope of Jesus to the community you grew up in. We will educate you and train you to do the job. You won’t be alone in your desire to see the youth in your community receive direction and alternatives to the hopelessness they’re bombarded with—we’re with you, we’re a team.”

As they sat there, under the night sky in El Salvador, with a small lamp lighting their faces, I saw freedom in the tears flowing from their tired eyes, and worship of God coming from their dry, sun-cracked lips. The power of that moment is beyond my ability to communicate.

I want to testify to you that our God is good and has done great things! I want to declare his faithfulness and ensure that you know that HE who began a good work in us, is faithful to complete it. So, thank you for continuing to support our ministry; in prayer, through your giving, through your counsel, it is changing lives in a lasting way!

As you read this edition of the Global Voice, remember, it’s just a glimpse. Maybe one day you could join us on a trip and see for yourself the wonderful things HE has done. I love you and God bless you!

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.