FROM RELEVANT MAGAZINE
T H E M A G A Z I N E O N S U S TA I N A B L E C H A N G E . S A C R I F I C I A L L I V I N G . S P I R I T U A L R E V O LU T I O N .
THE COST OF YOUR CALL W H AT YO U ’ R E R E A L LY G I V I N G U P FOR OTHERS
DOES FOOD AID REALLY WORK?
JUSTICE BEHIND THE BUZZWORD, WE FIND A NEW FACE
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THE COST OF YOUR CALL
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SOCIAL JUSTICE IN 3-D T BY STEPHANIE SMITH
here is a ghost haunting your Christian view of justice. It’s present when you pass a homeless woman on your way to work, already late, and think, Someone should help her. It lets you off the hook when your pastor describes the need for clean wells in Africa and you tell yourself someone will go. And when you see news of a natural disaster on TV, it’s the thing that makes you say, “Someone should give.” If everyone listened to this ghost, those in need would never be helped. So why is it so entrenched in our culture? Apathy is not not caring—it’s usually the byproduct of a deeper disconnect. It comes from good intentions, prematurely formed. From Reject Apathy’s beginning, we’ve shined our spotlight on five key areas: loss of innocents, creation care, preventable disease, poverty and violence. And as we’ve delved deeper into these core issues, we’ve realized that global injustice can’t really be addressed until we peel back our assumptions and look at the “why” behind our worldviews. Most of us believe social justice is integral to the Gospel. The next task is to move from passing the buck to “someone else” to embodying Christlike compassion ourselves. So what does that look like? Our generation is eager to live out Christ’s love among some of the most hurting places of the world. But before we go, our perception of justice needs to be rightly anchored. Apathy is triggered when we have only half the picture. A whole picture of Kingdom justice leads to whole-life application. And that’s exactly what this issue of Reject Apathy is all about. Be sure to check out RejectApathy.com! It’s continually updated with new articles, spotlights on innovative organizations and ways you can get involved locally and globally to make a difference.
HOW LITERACY GIVES
READING IS AN INTANGIBLE RESOURCE PIVOTAL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
or Christians, who have been historically called “The People of the Book,” the value of literacy is taken for granted. But for nearly 800 million adults worldwide, literacy is as distant a fantasy as space travel. There are millions who can’t fill out a job application, read a prescription drug label or even write their own name. Their dreams are limited by something much of the world thinks of as second nature. And while the physical needs of the Third World rightly remain a top priority, we should not neglect the striking—and often more daunting—educational needs they have.
COMBATING THE VIRUS ILLITERACY FEEDS INTO CRIME, POVERTY, CHILD MORTALITY, SUBSTANCE ABUSE, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THE SPREAD OF PREVENTABLE DISEASES. TEACHING MEN AND WOMEN TO READ AND WRITE HAS THE POWER TO REVERSE ALMOST EVERY SOCIAL ILL ACROSS THE GLOBE.
TWO-THIRDS OF THE WORLD’S ILLITERATE ARE WOMEN. AS UNITED NATIONS SECRETARYGENERAL BAN KI-MOON HAS SAID, “EVERY LITERATE WOMAN MARKS A VICTORY OVER POVERTY.”
LITERATE ADULTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE FINANCIALLY SELF-SUSTAINING, SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM EXPLOITATION AND CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY.
INJUSTICE IS UNLEASHED WHEN GOOD PEOPLE STAY SILENT, BUT LITERACY EQUIPS MEN AND WOMEN TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND PUBLICLY REPRESENT HUMAN CONCERNS.
HOW YOU CAN
EAT MORE GREEN I
f the entire world lived like the average American, we would exhaust the consumable resources of five Earths—and many of these resources are involved in food production. In other words, the sustainability of our planet relies on the rest of the world showing a reservation we have yet to muster on our own. The U.S. not only consumes more than any other nation, but it also wastes more food than anywhere in the world—40 to 50 percent of the food produced in the U.S. every year is never eaten. But eating does not have to be an exclusively consumable act. Consider these five ways to eat with the environment in mind.
FILL YOUR WATER AT HOME THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF TAP WATER IS APPROXIMATELY 300 TIMES SMALLER THAN SOME BRANDS OF BOTTLED WATER. BUY A SIMPLE FILTER, AND CARRY A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE.
TO AIR POLLUTION THE WAY CARBONEMITTING TRUCKS AND PLANES DO.
BUY ORGANIC ORGANIC FARMING NOT ONLY BYPASSES THE AIR, SOIL AND WATER POLLUTION THAT COMES WITH THE TERRITORY OF TREATED CROPS, BUT IT ALSO CULTIVATES NUTRIENT-RICH, HEALTHY SOIL.
CUT DOWN ON ENERGY USE AND COSTS BY USING THE OVEN IN THE WINTER TO WARM UP YOUR KITCHEN AND BY OPTING EAT YOUR VEGGIES FOR THE GRILL, WAFFLE IRON, STUDIES SHOW THAT MEAT-EATERS TOASTER OVEN AND OTHER LOW-ENERGY CONSUME ABOUT 3 TIMES MORE COOKING DEVICES IN THE SUMMER. WATER, 2.5 TIMES MORE PRIMARY ENERGY, 13 TIMES MORE FERTILIZER GO LOCAL AND 1.5 TIMES MORE PESTICIDES AMERICAN FOOD TRAVELS AN AVERAGE THAN THOSE WHO EAT VEGETARIAN. OF 1,300 MILES FROM FARM TO TABLE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP ON BUY LOCAL—OR EVEN GROW YOUR OWN!— STEAK COMPLETELY, BUT GOING AND YOU’LL GET GREAT-TASTING MEATLESS ONE DAY A WEEK CAN MAKE PRODUCE THAT DOESN’T CONTRIBUTE A REAL DIFFERENCE. 6
WHAT ARE THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF
e know children are the future. We just don’t know how to treat them like it. Children grow at the intersection of high risk and high potential—high risk since they’re dependent on adults who may or may not have their best interests in mind, and high potential since they carry the unshackled potential to flourish and claim promising futures. The first five years of a child’s life is fundamentally important to a child’s physical health, emotional well-being, learning capacity and social skills. However, not all kids grow up in an environment that fosters healthy development. In recognition of the unique vulnerability of children, the United Nations created an international human rights treaty in 1989—just for kids. The “UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” is the international standard that sets forth the goals each nation is obligated to pursue for their country’s youngest generation, both in times of war and peace. And because children have the right to know their rights, you can find the one-page “child-friendly version” at www.unicef.org/rightsite. THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD IS THE FIRST LEGALLY BINDING INTERNATIONAL RULE TO INCORPORATE THE FULL RANGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN—CIVIL, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND SOCIAL—SO THAT THEY ARE GUARANTEED:
FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE, ABUSE, HAZARDOUS EMPLOYMENT, EXPLOITATION, ABDUCTION OR SALE ADEQUATE NUTRITION, CLEAN WATER, A SAFE ENVIRONMENT AND ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO PURSUE AN EDUCATION TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE POSSIBLE EQUAL TREATMENT REGARDLESS OF GENDER, RACE OR CULTURAL BACKGROUND THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS OPINIONS AND BE LEGITIMATELY HEARD BY ADULTS SAFE ACCESS TO LEISURE, PLAY, CULTURE AND ART THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE ANY RELIGION OF THEIR CHOICE REJECTAPATHY.COM
HOW TO STAGE A PEACEFUL PROTEST
he right to peaceful protest is as crucial to society as written language, as has been affirmed worldwide by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In fact, a peaceful protest is often considered a mark of a healthy society, demonstrating its members are not afraid to speak out when observing violations of human rights. Last month, a concerned Swedish group exercised this right in Belarus by parachuting teddy bears into the capital that carried a simple—but unforgettable—message: “We support the Belarusian struggle for free speech.” In Kenya, Muslims stood guard at Christian church services as a proactive statement against the violence of Islamic extremists. And a community group in Brooklyn organized a peace march in response to gang violence that sent the message: “Enough of killing us.” Winning the right to be heard through peaceful protests can be a struggle in almost any country, but the succesful ones share a few common themes, like those listed below.
4 INGREDIENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL PEACEFUL PROTEST: 1. RESEARCH
TO SPEAK INTELLIGENTLY INTO AN ISSUE, YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK. INVESTIGATE THE PROBLEM, LISTEN TO THOSE AFFECTED AND CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE RANGE OF SOLUTIONS.
2. CREATIVITY DEMAND THE OPPOSITION MEMORABLE. NEVER SEEN
RESPECT AND ATTENTION OF THE BY MAKING YOUR STATEMENT TAKE A STAND IN A WAY THEY’VE IT BEFORE.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE PROTESTS ARE THOSE WITH AN ORGANIZED CHOIR OF CONCERNED CITIZENS RAISING THEIR VOICES TOGETHER. REACH OUT AND JOIN FORCES WITH OTHERS.
BE INTENTIONAL TO AVOID PROTESTS THAT MIGHT PROVOKE VIOLENCE. SET GROUND RULES FOR ALL INVOLVED, AND TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES TO COMMUNICATE YOUR MESSAGE SAFELY. 8
THE PROFITS OF
“WITH ITS UNIQUE CAPACITY TO GENERATE CREATIVE, PROFITABLE, AND SCALABLE SOLUTIONS, FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FORCE IN THE WORLD FOR CHANGING THE DEVASTATING ECONOMIC REALITIES THAT PLAGUE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON LESS THAN A FEW DOLLARS A DAY.” —John Terrill, Director of the Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University
A POWER LIFT OUT OF POVERTY When the underprivileged receive business loans and training, the benefits undergird the community as well. Here are three ways that happens: Individuals: Advances them from financial dependence to self-sustainability. Community: Spurs economic growth as employees reinvest income back into the community. Individuals: Protects against human trafficking, as employed individuals are less likely to be lured by false promises of wealth. Community: Fosters safer communities by deterring traffickers from seeking local targets. Individuals: Invests in the future of the merchant’s family by providing health care and education. Community: Invests in the community by raising good citizens.
MISSION-MINDED BUSINESS [SPOTLIGHT]
HOW GOOD PAPER IS
CRAFTING A WAY OUT OF INJUSTICE
the Philippines, women who were once in the grip of sex trafficking are now creating their own futures with color. In Rwanda, orphans of genocide sit together around a table, crafting art out of recycled materials—their projects will generate income that allows them to care for their younger siblings. Good Paper is one organization putting the entrepreneurial model to work by hiring disadvantaged women and children to craft greeting cards, journals, colored stationary and paper handbags. The fair wages they provide give women who might otherwise be vulnerable to trafficking or domestic abuse a dignified means of making a living, and Good Paper’s homebased model of business cultivates a sense of community that is rare in cultures where women are not allowed to leave the home. What’s more, the organization gives its employees more than just a job. They also host Bible studies and offer AIDS-awareness education and counseling. These employees are actually creating their own sense of self-worth. And the art isn’t bad, either. See for yourself at www.goodpaper.com. REJECTAPATHY.COM
W H A T D O E S JUSTICE L O O K L I K E ? B
know anyone living in any lowincome neighborhoods. Ashley feels like she’s floundering. She’s passionate about God’s call to help the poor and feels guilty when she thinks about their desperate needs and her own comfort. She wants to do something big for God with her life—but for now she waits tables and goes to class. She helps different causes, for now, by reading about them and retweeting the occasional statistic. Is this what justice looks like? Is this level of involvement a passing fad—the Christian cause du jour—or a genuine expression of biblical justice?
BY KELLI B. TRUJILLO
ordan recently attended a justice conference, where he was inspired and convicted to begin to live differently. The workshops gave him ideas. The worship was good. He stayed up late into the night in impassioned dialogue with his new friends. It had all the earmarks of personal revival. Six months later, he’s still raising awareness in his church, but otherwise his life really looks pretty much the same as it did before the conference. Erin has a small bank account but a big heart. When the tsunami hit Japan, she cried and texted a donation. When she heard a presentation about the need for clean drinking water in Africa, she couldn’t stop thinking about it. She felt awful and reached for her phone again. Garrett is studying urban planning. He’s excited about a career spent combating gentrification and creating green spaces in the inner city. But there’s one nagging problem at the back of his mind: He doesn’t actually
“BECOMING INFORMED IS A C R I T I C A L S T E P. IF WE’RE NOT AWARE OF THE ISSUES, THERE’S NOWHERE TO PLACE OUR PA S S I O N . ” —ELENA
Modern-day charity is wellmeaning. Motivated by sympathy, kindness, or pity, a charity mindset earnestly desires to respond to human need and injustice, but that response usually comes from a safe distance. It’s comfortable giving. It’s anonymous activism. And it requires very little personal risk or sacrifice. Our charity mindset keeps the boundaries crisp by delineating between the giver and the recipient, the helper and the helped. It calms feelings of personal guilt and makes the giver feel better in between semiregular doses. But rather than real engagement, this kind of “charity” is just a handout. Real charity, at its root, is fundamentally different than this modern-day connotation that’s weighed down with the baggage of distance and personal comfort. The word “charity” comes from caritas, Latin for REJECTAPATHY.COM
It was a day that seemed normal enough. Twenty-twoyear-old Elena* was listening to the radio on her way home from work when she heard a spot about human trafficking. Rather than brush it off, she found herself struck deeply, and her interest grew even more after she went home and researched its effects worldwide. Today, six years later, Elena lives in Southeast Asia and ministers full-time to victims of sex trafficking. “Becoming informed is a critical step,” she says. “If we’re not aware of the issues, there’s nowhere to place our passion.” But Elena’s journey into justice didn’t begin that day in the car. According to her, it started much earlier in her spiritual life through her study of Scripture. “The Bible tells us pretty clearly that God wants us to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to be 12
“WHEN YOU HAVE RELATIONSHIPS, INJUSTICE KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT—NOT BECAUSE IT’S A ‘CAUSE,’ BUT BECAUSE NOW THERE’S A FACE TO THAT CAUSE.” —SANDRA VAN OPSTAL
agape love. This is why the King James Version reads, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Paul certainly isn’t praising a well-intentioned tweet here as the greatest of Christian virtues. He’s talking about the powerful, life-changing, value-altering agape love of God—the love that defies self-centeredness and sin and alters the course of a human life. Caritas—the agape love of God—obliterates the safety of sympathetic anonymity, requiring instead a deeply personal response. It asks Christians not only to give but to give generously, joyfully and sacrificially. It challenges believers to open their homes and live with a type of hospitality that welcomes strangers and outcasts like they’re family. Such love invites Jesusfollowers to embrace even enemies and go the extra mile. It challenges God’s people to love the world like God does—a love for which He willingly paid the highest price. So, how does one get there? How can Christians move from good intentions, fickle passions and distant sympathies to genuine engagement with human need? What shifts the trajectory of a life away from wellmeaning “charity” into true caritas-driven justice? Christians can take several steps to move themselves away from charity as a cold concept and toward a multi-dimensional portrait of biblical justice.
people who love mercy and do justice,” she says. “My heart was already learning to beat for justice because of my love for God—so when I learned about lives being sold into sex slavery, it gave my passion a place to land.” A life of caritas-driven justice is founded on a passion for God’s Word— studying Scripture and delving into the stories of God’s care for the orphan and widow and Christ’s ministry to those in need. A Christlike concern for global issues—for justice, compassion, creation care, concern for the vulnerable and more—is the overflow of a mind informed and shaped by Scripture. Rather than living a comfortable Christian life focused on oneself, those seeking to embrace
“We can easily become so branded by the issues and the causes that we’re concerned about,” he says. “We buy the hoodie, we pad our Facebook profile with concerns that make us look illuminated and compassionate, we sign all sorts of digital petitions. But the danger is, we end up dehumanizing the real people who’re being victimized by making them simply a ‘face’ for our chosen cause.” If Christians don’t move beyond a causedriven mindset into true engagement, their advocacy efforts can become more about making themselves look and feel good than true mercy motivated by love. The only way to avoid this trap is to turn one’s attention toward others and identify with the real people behind the need. true justice invest in learning about the needs of others. They keep up with the news, study stats and research, attend conferences and explore causes in greater depth. And as their God-inspired passion for a cause grows, they inform others through advocacy efforts. But the movement can’t stop there. If a cause becomes more about jumping on a trend than serving people in need, justice efforts quickly become ingrown and immobile. “It’s just so hip, it’s just so sexy to be all about a cause,” warns Christopher Heuertz, senior strategist for Word Made Flesh, a nonprofit organization that fosters communitybased ministry in some of the world’s most impoverished slums.
“For many people today, doing charity or being for a ‘cause’ can be done from a comfy office or by a text or by filling out an online petition or by emailing your senator,” says Sandra Van Opstal, director of worship for the Urbana Student Missions Conference and author of the forthcoming book Mission of Worship (IVP). “Of course, I believe we need to do those things, but there’s no personal connection there.” On the other hand, Van Opstal says, “When we start to realize, ‘That person could be my brother. That could be my mom. That could be me,’ we don’t do ‘charity’ anymore.” Identifying with those who are victimized by injustice starts to happen in those epiphanylike moments of self-awareness: What if I were abducted and sex-trafficked? How would I feel? What if my family had no access to clean drinking water? What if my baby was left orphaned? What if I had to work long hours in a sweatshop? These pivotal questions can swing a person into unsafe territory because the answers— even at a purely hypothetical level—demand a concrete and personal response. Christians can grow to identify with those
in need by recognizing the common humanity behind the surface differences of language, economic background, culture, ethnicity, lifestyle and appearance. At an even deeper level, it begins with glimpsing the imago Dei stamped on another’s soul—recognizing their inherent dignity, value and beauty. Believers begin to see a person, just like them, who has friendships, laughs at good jokes and harbors hopes and dreams. Essentially, identification places Christians in a posture of empathy that fully embraces Scripture’s challenge to “love your neighbor as yourself ” (Leviticus 19:18). On a practical level, identification means trading all exterior labels like “the poor” or “the marginalized” and getting to know all people instead as friends. “I truly believe you
cannot have a sustainable, deepening commitment to a cause without relationship,” Van Opstal says. For five years, Van Opstal led InterVarsity’s Chicago Urban Program, an inner-city immersion opportunity for college students. Today, she and her husband, Karl, live in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, an innercity community struggling with poverty and violence. “When you have relationships, injustice keeps you up at night,” she says. “Not because it’s a ‘cause,’ but because now there’s a face to that cause.” Heuertz laments the reality that many North American Christians don’t have relationships with people living in poverty—an idea he explores in Friendship at the Margins (IVP). “We have insulated and isolated ourselves in these spaces where we don’t have friends in places of need,” he observes. “We need to confess the poverty of our own friendships.” Cultivating a friendship creates a much different dynamic than a helper/ victim mentality or a donor/recipient relationship. Van Opstal advocates instead for reciprocity in relationships. “You are blessing others, but you are also receiving a blessing,” she says. Beyond trading causes for relationships, Scripture invites Christians into the ultimate step of identification: seeing Christ in the person in need. In the parable of the sheep and the goats that illustrates God’s Kingdom, Jesus defines righteousness in terms of face-to-face relationships carried with those in need: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me ... Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40, emphasis added). The desire to serve Christ Himself can undergird justice efforts, especially when it’s too hard to say, “He is like me”—when the other seems too different, too addicted, too angry or too smelly to really relate on a personal level.
FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF THE INCARNATION, CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE PHYSICALLY AND RELATIONALLY PRESENT—“IN THE FLESH”— AMONG THOSE IN NEED.
This principle of seeing Christ in every human face strengthened Mother Teresa to work, day in and day out, among some of the poorest and sickest and lowliest of the world. She prayed: “Dearest Lord, may I see You today and every day in the person of Your sick ones. While nursing them, may I minister unto You. Though You hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize You. Enable me to say, ‘Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve You.’” EMBODY
The theological current running through Mother Teresa’s prayer is essentially the truth of the Incarnation, which is the ultimate example of caritas-driven justice. Mother Teresa was able to envision Christ in others because God Himself “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). God didn’t love humanity from a safe distance but instead, as Eugene Peterson renders it in The Message, He “moved into the neighborhood.” In the ultimate demonstration of caritas, in the person of Jesus, God became one of us—the fullness of divinity embodied in human flesh. In a unique way, God was with and became like humanity. Christians who answer Jesus’ call to “follow Me” (Matthew 9:9) strive to walk in the way of Jesus—in the way of the one who eschewed comfort, safety and distance for discomfort, sacrifice and contact. Following the example of the Incarnation, Christians are called to be physically and relationally present—“in the flesh”—among those in need. The move from safe “charity” into caritasdriven justice happens when one lives within it—when the reality of a need or issue or concern shapes one’s actions, one’s choices, one’s relationships and one’s spiritual life. Beyond sympathy, retweeting a cause, wearing a T-shirt or going to a conference, caritasdriven justice invites believers to truly love and invest in people, to joyfully give time and
financial resources in places of need, to labor in committed prayer and to take concrete action to address critical concerns. What does embodied justice look like? It looks like nourishing the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the impoverished, nursing the sick and encouraging the prisoner. It looks like concern for fair wages for the working poor and addressing the practical needs of widows and single moms, orphans and immigrants. It looks like actively fighting modern-day forms of oppression and slavery and refusing to turn a blind eye to another vulnerable and hurting human being. It looks like stewarding creation in a way that honors the Creator above one’s own comfort and convenience. It looks like a lifestyle of sacrificial generosity that defies our culture’s obsession with consumerism. It looks like a way of life that challenges human selfishness to the core—a love that costs something. Elena says her work with sextrafficking victims in Southeast Asia is “definitely hard.” Among the many sacrifices and struggles she’s dealing with are “physical illness, loneliness, missing family, loss of comfort, loss of convenience, financial sacrifice and giving up the dream of going back to school.” But she says, “What makes it worth it is love. If I were to just care about someone from a distance while keeping myself safe and untouched, it would naturally limit the amount of love I experience for that person. But when I start getting actively involved—getting inside—then the hurt, the cost, the messiness touches me. And REJECTAPATHY.COM
that cultivates a deeper love. I feel Jesus’ love in me, filling me and going through me to those I work with and have grown to love. It’s the most alive feeling I know.” How can one find the strength to love like this—to live incarnationally, even at a high cost to oneself? Christians must be fueled by more than just earnest effort. Heuertz emphasizes what he calls contemplative activism—making it a priority to spend time in prayer, to listen and to pay attention to God’s presence while serving. “If we’re only well-intentioned activists,” he says, “we won’t be able to sustain that activism very long in a world that’s so terribly marked by exploitation and suffering. But when we live contemplatively, we learn to live in a posture of consent, a spirituality of surrender.” 16
Van Opstal finds strength for engaging incarnationally in another spiritual discipline: celebration. “When we look at Christ’s example in the Scriptures,” she says, “Jesus loved the people He was with. He enjoyed them. He certainly wasn’t like, ‘Do I have to be down here with these people? Father, take Me back!’ No, Jesus wasn’t like that. Jesus shows us that incarnation is full of love and joy.” Yet this joy doesn’t erase the discomfort inherent in incarnational living. In an intentional choice to live like their low-income neighbors, Van Opstal and her husband have no air conditioning in their home. It seems like a small sacrifice, but she says, “I’m not going to lie to you. When it was 105 degrees last week, I was upset. The reality is, I don’t like some of the things we’re doing— it’s not all fun.” Even in light of more serious dangers, like crime and street violence in her neighborhood, Van Opstal asserts, “These difficulties don’t negate the fact that there’s
so much beauty in my community to enjoy and be celebrated. In fact, I believe that without joy— without the discipline of celebration—commitment to a cause is simply not sustainable.” THE HOLIEST WAY
So, what can people like Jordan, Erin, Garrett and Ashley do to move forward in their justice journey? What can you do? In a world of pressing need and pervasive injustice, an active life of caritas-driven
justice can take many different forms, depending on how you are uniquely gifted and called by God. It may mean moving across the globe to work with sextrafficking victims or intentionally living in the inner city as an incarnational presence. It may mean advocating for environmental stewardship and working to ensure others have access to clean drinking water. It may mean working in a third-world orphanage or fighting domestic poverty by tutoring illiterate adults. It may mean donating maternity clothes to a teenager in a crisis pregnancy or providing English lessons to immigrants. It may mean “adopting” a family whose parent is incarcerated. It may even mean using vocational skills in a out-of-the-box way, such as providing free haircuts to single moms if you’re a cosmetologist, doing pro bono work for a family in the adoption process if you’re a lawyer, or providing mentoring to a creative, at-risk kid who needs a safe place to land if you’re a visual artist. “So often people feel like the ‘holiest’ way to practice justice is to do something radical, like grab a backpack and live among the poor under a viaduct in the city,” Van Opstal observes. “But really, the holiest way is to be obedient to where the Lord is uniquely leading you. You can answer God’s call to justice in so many unique and distinct ways—there’s freedom in that call.” Whatever the specific call ends up looking like for you, a lifestyle of justice is ultimately one saturated in caritas—the all-encompassing, unconditional, grace-filled love of God. It’s a life that sees, knows and loves those in need. It’s a life of passion for a cause that is equally matched with compassionate action. It’s a life in which your own hands and feet and life get dirty as you wade into the messy, painful reality of human need and suffering. And when you do, perhaps even by surprise, you will discover Christ Himself present in the mess. * Elena’s last name and other ministry details withheld for security reasons.
KELLI B. TRUJILLO is an editor and author in Indianapolis whose heart for justice was profoundly shaped as a college student by Urbana and the Chicago Urban Program. She is the author of the Flourishing Faith series and blogs at www.kellitrujillo.com.
TAKE ACTION INFORM • STRENGTHEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S HEART FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE AND COMPASSION BY STUDYING PASSAGES LIKE ISAIAH 58; AMOS 5; MICAH 6:8; MATTHEW 25:31-46; LUKE 4:14-22 AND JAMES 1:27. • DEEPEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF CRITICAL ISSUES BY RESEARCHING A CAUSE AND GETTING ALL THE FACTS. • SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF VITAL CAUSES THROUGH ADVOCACY, EDUCATING YOUR CHURCH AND SHARING CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR FRIENDS. IDENTIFY • SPEND TIME WITH THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING. ASK QUESTIONS, LISTEN, AND EMPATHIZE. • BRING A MINDSET OF HUMILITY, MUTUALITY AND RECIPROCITY TO THESE NEW FRIENDSHIPS. EXPECT TO LEARN AND RECEIVE, NOT JUST CONTRIBUTE AND GIVE. EMBODY • DISCERN ONE SPECIFIC AREA OF NEED YOU CAN BEGIN TO ADDRESS TODAY. TAKE DIRECT ACTION TO MEET A PRACTICAL NEED. • IN PRAYER AND SURRENDER, SEEK GOD’S LEADING IN YOUR LIFE. BE CONTENT AND CONFIDENT WITH YOUR UNIQUE JOURNEY WITH GOD.
DOES FOOD AID REALLY WORK? THE PROBLEM IS CLEAR—ONE BILLION HUNGRY PEOPLE WORLDWIDE—BUT THE SOLUTION IS ANYTHING BUT SIMPLE
BY MANDI CHERICO
or the Lorenzo family, hunger is a way of life. Its effects reach far beyond the stomach. Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo are faced every single day with the challenge of finding an odd job, often for less than $7 USD a day, to provide for their family of six. If they don’t land a job that day, they don’t eat. It’s a common family pattern that contributes to Guatemala’s claim as Latin America’s most malnourished nation. To help curb appetites, the two youngest Lorenzo children, Lourdes and Francisco, have joined a community feeding program. There, they receive at least one nutritious meal a day from Feed My Starving Children, a Christian hunger relief organization based in Minneapolis, Minn. Even so, the perpetual lack of food in the Lorenzo household has led to a perpetual lack of good health, and the family members suffer frequently from serious illnesses. Often, Mrs. Lorenzo is too ill to take the children into town, and then Lourdes and Francisco must go without their supplemental meal. In turn, their health suffers, causing starvation to, yet again, threaten their young lives. The story of the Lorenzo family is one among millions. Today, there are roughly 1 billion people who are “chronically hungry,” meaning they live daily with a scarcity of food. The sunken face of hunger has 18
become almost numbingly familiar to the human population in recent years. Last summer, when the Horn of Africa experienced the first famine of the 21st century, images of starving Somali children overwhelmed news channels. Seemingly overnight, the world woke up to hunger, and food aid flew to the top of every international aid agenda. In the midst of this crisis last year, global economists projected a startling future for citizens of the globe: By the year 2050, 9 billion people will live on Earth. To prepare for this population upswing, humanity has less than 40 years to make enough food to feed an extra 2 billion mouths. It’s a daunting prospect. These kind of projections keep food assistance agencies in a constant state of assessment and production, shipping thousands of tons of grains and cooking supplies to famine-affected and food-insecure regions. There’s little argument about it: People need to be fed. The work of feeding the hungry is inherently biblical. Throughout His ministry, Jesus affirmed the importance of fulfilling people’s basic needs. He fed His disciples
as He taught them. He was despised for sharing a table with the socially disreputable. He said that whenever His followers feed the hungry, it is as if they are feeding Him (Matthew 25:40). Even in the Old Testament, Yahweh commanded the Israelites to give a portion of their crops to hungry foreigners and the marginalized (Deuteronomy 26:12). Feeding people is undeniably close to the heart of God. But not all food programs or strategies are created equal. Today, international hunger relief organizations must tackle more complex issues than ever, such as shipping logistics and political instability in regions of need. The choices Christians have to invest their time and money in the fight against hunger are endless. In the midst of all these variables, it has never been more critical to practice and support responsible food assistance that respects and ultimately empowers the people who need it.
Food assistance is a complex issue spanning from hunger (symptoms of stomach pains and lethargy) to starvation (life-threatening conditions due to hunger-induced disease). According to UNICEF, 18,000 children die each day from hunger-related causes. This dire situation causes many hunger-relief groups—perhaps most—to focus on only one facet of feeding people: quickly filling stomachs. The current method of many food assistance organizations is to ship tons of basic grains—called “filler food”—to countries in need. As the hungry feed on donations of white rice or a corn-soy blend, their stomachs are temporarily satisfied. However, such food donations
TRUE COMPASSION ON THE HUNGRY MEANS NOT JUST CARING ABOUT IF PEOPLE ARE FED BUT WHAT THEY ARE FED. REJECTAPATHY.COM
COURTESY OF FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN
“THE VULNERABLE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THIS CONTEXT HAVE NO VOICE. [FOOD VOUCHERS] OFFER T H E M D I G N I T Y. ” —DEREK SCIBA create a system of dependency and do little to actively rebuild bodies suffering from deteriorated health. These immediate relief efforts only provide a solution for today—not a sustainable future. “Bulk grain shipments feed people but don’t meet nutritional needs,” says Matt Muraski, international programs director for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). In most hunger-haunted nations, he says, the problem is compounded by a long history of malnutrition. As they researched the issue, FMSC discovered feeding malnourished people nutrient-devoid food is like pouring water into a bucket full of holes. It’s inefficient, and—more importantly—it can hinder the health of a starving person. Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian medical agency, is likewise alarmed by the 20
ways filler food may be hurting more than helping global hunger. In a statement for World Food Day in 2011, the agency declared that “the global food aid system— led by the United States—largely continues to provide substandard foods to millions of malnourished children every year. The catalog of products available for food aid grossly neglects the needs of the most vulnerable.” In response to this concern, more and more organizations—many of them Christian—are shifting their focus from if people are fed to what they are fed. “Food is one of the most effective ways to help in the developing world,” says Jeff Nene, spokesperson for the Christian nonprofit Convoy of Hope. “Nutritious food is life-saving and nourishing, but it is also a tool that helps people move toward self-sustainability. It’s the first step on the pathway out of poverty.” Nutritional concern is what drove FMSC to recruit scientists to help them formulate food-aid meals rich in vitamins, protein and dehydrated vegetables.
In partnership with Convoy of Hope and hundreds of other international organizations, FMSC sends these volunteer-assembled food packs to schools, orphanages, clinics, hospitals and feeding programs in nearly 70 developing countries. The food packs are used to build a foundation of health for communities in Kenya, Haiti, the Philippines and other nations, combining these feeding programs with education, agricultural training and other long-term solutions to poverty and hunger. In this way, nutrition not only saves lives, but also builds new beginnings.
lunch programs and other nutrition initiatives in the Caribbean country. But the foreign food donations are just the nutritious base, to which school lunch workers add fresh Haitian produce. “It benefits the children’s health and the local economy,” says Nene. “But one of the greatest benefits is self-esteem.” When local farmers can assist in building the health of their communities, they feel like contributors, not victims of their environment. This, says Nene, is a biblical way to feed people. “There are all sorts of biblical FOREIGN AID, LOCAL FLAVOR examples of helping people keep Haiti, the poorest country in the their dignity,” he says. “Christ never Western hemisphere, is still reeling made the people He was helping from the devastating 2010 earthquake. feel lesser than [Himself].” As Haiti struggles to rebuild its World Concern, a Christian national agriculture, Convoy of Hope humanitarian agency based in is using FMSC food to power school Seattle, is another organization
taking a holistic approach to providing food assistance. “It is not enough to just deliver food,” says Derek Sciba, spokesman for World Concern. “You have to think about the ramifications of what you do.” In the Horn of Africa, World Concern provides not only shortterm nourishment through food donations, but also is launching sustainable initiatives, such as digging new water sources and teaching new agricultural techniques to farmers. Taking seriously the human dignity of those they serve, World Concern uses a ground-breaking
COURTESY OF FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN
COURTESY OF FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN
program to feed the hungry. In regions where money is scarce and food shipment options are limited, they provide food vouchers for families to redeem at local markets. Through paying local food vendors fairly for each voucher they accept, World Concern avoids the problem many other food aid organizations face: stealing the agricultural business in the communities they’re trying to help. The voucher method enforces local commerce while boosting the morale of disenfranchised consumers and business owners. World Concern’s methods are proving it is possible to address the immediate needs of hunger while establishing long-term solutions in developing economies. They meet the needs of the hungry while recognizing the inherent, God-given value of those they serve. Sciba affirms that giving people options other than waiting in food lines not only increases the efficiency of food distribution but also lifts the spirits of the hungry people who live in complex, insecure environments. “The vulnerable people who live in this context have no voice,” he says. “[Food vouchers] offer them dignity.” TOOLS OF CHANGE
The good work being done in food aid efforts around the world go beyond just food. For instance, in food shipments to Latin America and Africa, FMSC often includes a custom food-processing tool developed by Compatible Technologies International (CTI), a Twin Cities nonprofit dedicated to improving the harvesting methods in developing countries in an effort to stop local hunger before it starts. CTI designs and distributes food- and water-processing devices for subsistence
farmers in the developing world. And while their devices, such as small grinders and micro grain-processing tools, may seem low-tech to Westerners, to the many farmers around the world who use labor-intensive harvesting methods every day, these tools are revolutionary. “Most subsistence farmers only gather 58 percent of their crop through traditional grain-harvesting methods,” says Nancy Wagner, director of development programs for CTI. “Our tools increase yields to 92 percent.” CTI develops farming technologies by first considering the problems farmers and subsistence communities face daily. All of their product development efforts start with field research, asking farmers how, why and in what way they use their current tools. For instance, a peanut processor recently tested by farmers in Africa stands in the CTI headquarters right now, and CTI technicians will now work to modify the processor based on suggestions they received from those farmers. Similarly, CTI has developed three tools to process breadfruit, an abundant, carbohydrate-packed fruit that is recognized as a viable solution to hunger in Haiti. These machines will help Haitian farmers quickly shred, dry and grind this easily perishable produce, thus putting the solution to
hunger in Haiti into the hands of Haitian nationals. By giving farmers in developing nations greater ownership over their food production process, CTI’s technology brings about real change in the developing world— change that’s rooted in the desire to empower people, not just meet their immediate needs. And when we understand and implement these complex realities about food aid, we actually become more like Christ—serving both the stomach and the soul, remembering that each person we feed was made in the image of God.
TAKE ACTION COMMIT TO A WEEK OR EVEN A MONTH OF NOT EATING OUT, AND DONATE THE MONEY YOU SAVED TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT WILL PUT IT TOWARD FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY. CONNECT WITH THE HUNGRY IN YOUR HOMETOWN BY VOLUNTEERING AT A SOUP KITCHEN OR GROCERY SHOPPING WITH THE INTENT TO DONATE THE PURCHASED ITEMS TO A LOCAL FOOD PANTRY.
MANDI CHERICO is a freelance writer and seminary candidate, working with Feed My Starving Chidren.
THE COST OF
YOUR CALL BY BRETT MAVRICH
THERE’S GLORY IN THE CALL TO THE NATIONS, BUT THE PRICE IS HIGH FOR MODERN-DAY MISSIONARIES
aul Park first heard God’s call at the 1993 Urbana missions conference, and he assumed that taking the Gospel to the nations would be an exotic one—overseas. Today, he spends his workdays in a cubicle on the California shore. Park is the executive director of First Fruit, Inc., a foundation that issues grants to holistic Christian ministries reaching the unreached. But he started out like many young people today: graduating college with more debt than vocational clarity, deeply motivated to make a difference in the world but not sure where to start. Clearly, he’s ended up in a place he never expected. Park’s road to the mission field was fraught with modern challenges—the same sacrifices and obstacles thousands of young adults must overcome to reach the unreached today. Instrinsically, missions work carries the connotation of sacrifice. It always has. In Luke 14, Jesus exhorts His followers to count the cost of discipleship, including the high price of hating fathers and mothers, bearing the cross and renouncing all personal possessions. Through the centuries since, Christ-followers have had to bear the fallout of the strain their decisions put on their closest relationships, the financial implications of delaying or forgoing a lucrative career, and even the possibility of death. Additionally, today’s missionaries face unique hurdles to get to the mission field. Simply being born in an age of frenetic information exchange, limitless travel and a world perched on the brink of economic collapse poses its own set of challenges. Park believes that today, the call to missions is too simplistic when weighed against the real risks of bringing Christ to the nations. For a globally connected generation (where two of every three young adults
have a passport), he wonders if the novelty of travel overshadows the real purpose of missions work. “Our missiology has been reduced to ‘just go,’” Park says, but a “Just Go” missiology lacks the strategic approach critical to the field. He worries this mentality will not lay the goundwork necessary to overcome the disillusionment young people may experience once they’re faced with unexpected hardship or even the threat of persecution in missions work. WAYLAID BY LOGISTICS
Shortly after his own call to missions, Park was confronted with a challenge common to all, mission-minded or otherwise: student debt. To give himself a little breathing room before entering the field, he decided to work at a consulting firm in New York City to pay back his college loans. Some missions organizations actually have debt thresholds (caps on the amount of debt a potential missionary candidate can carry before being sent to the field), and these thresholds often run lower than the average debt graduates carry. Liberty University, for example, is the largest Christian university in the world and has historically been a major recruiting pool for missions initiatives. According to CollegeInSight, the average debt of a Liberty University graduate in 2010 was just over $32,000—roughly $7,000 more than the average debt of all college graduates in the same year, according to the Project On Student Debt. REJECTAPATHY.COM
“GOD HAS ALWAYS USED YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGHOUT HISTORY, AND WE DON’T HAVE TO LOWER OUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THEM. IF WE GIVE THEM A TOUGH CALL AND A PURPOSE, THEY’LL RISE TO THE OCCASION.” —TOM LIN, DIRECTOR OF URBANA Combined, these factors converge to make the process harder and longer for missionaries to get to the field. The shift in Western sending initiatives also poses challenges for the expectations of a generation passionate about global evangelism. Many missiologists believe that indigenous members of the global south are best suited for the “front lines” missions work, rather than Western missionaries, since they already know the language and the culture of the region they are trying to reach. Accordingly, Park thinks the role of Western missions might shift to more of a mentoring role. But that new role might be a hard sell to Westerners; it lacks the sense of nobility and romanticism of frontline missions. Working in a high-rise office at a stateside NGO is by no means the same path to glory as laboring in the midst of an undiscovered tribe in a remote location. In fact, when First Fruits, Inc., approached Park about a position, he had his reservations. “I thought, how could sitting in an office in Newport Beach be doing missions?” he says. Like many missionaries today, Park had to learn that an indigenous person is more culturally attuned and equipped to enter the action than he is. Park has since come to understand that the most strategic contribution he can make to world evangelism is to be a “comealong-side-er,” as he calls it. LIFE ON THE LINE
Despite the odds, young adults are meeting these modern challenges in creative ways. More and more people, for instance, are joining missions networks rather than formal organizations—a decision which often comes down to simple math: A young adult can move to a slum in Mumbai for $6,000, instead of raising $20,000 to go through a formal organization. It’s a bit renegade, but it’s where the raw pragmatism of a generation meets an economic recession. Tom Lin, director of the Urbana Student Missions Conference, has found that some of the challenges Millennials face can be turned into their greatest allies. “This generation wants instant satisfaction. At Urbana 2009, we did an additional call for attendees to share their 26
faith with two people on their campus. [Onethird] agreed to do it at the conference—over 5,000 people. If there is immediate application, they agree to do it. Another 5,000 agreed to do short-term missions.” In fact, Lin notes, the thousands of young adults who committed to long-term missions at Urbana 2009 was the highest number they’d seen in the past three conferences. And the rising costs of higher education, combined with the personal risks associated with family and career aspirations, isn’t stopping an expected 18,000 students from registering for Urbana’s conference this year in St. Louis, Mo. As an exercise in the sacrificial cost of missions, Urbana 12 has planned interactive sessions of progressive giving in partnership with World Vision. Students will be called onto the stage to assemble a record 32,000 medical kits to be distributed by Christian caregivers workings in AIDS and HIV-infected areas of Africa. The next morning, they’ll be asked to take the next step beyond giving with their hands: Giving with their wallets toward a $1 million dollar offering to support global missions. And on the last night, a final call will raise the bar once more by posing the question: “Are you willing to give your life?” Even so, the cost of missions is not reserved for those who “go.” Many young adults will make sacrifices for the Gospel in their hometowns.
The critical element, Lin says, is intentionality. “I can go work for IBM in China,” he explains, “and if my intention is to make Chinese friends and share Jesus with them, I’m a missionary. We’re called to bless the nations, we’re called to make disciples, and the nations include America. Intentionality is simply going with the intent of God’s missionary call.” Some who “go” will face the ultimate cost: persecution. The realization of Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 24:14 that the Gospel will reach every nation, tribe and tongue is actually within reach—but many unreached nations are openly hostile to Western influence, which can be personified by Christianity. Brian Kim, the director of the ACTS school, a missions organization committed to taking the Gospel to the unreached in the darkest
corners on Earth, says many of these nations are flagged by the U.S. State Department as unwise for any Westerners to visit. Some missiologists term them “closed-access nations.” Kim calls them “creative access nations.” “The hurdle for a young person in the West,” he says, “is their whole lives, they’re taught to be cautious and be safe and don’t risk too much.” Kim says of teams entering hostile regions, “Safety is one of the main things that I would ask. But on a list of one to 10, can it just not be number one, the primary thing that we’re always considering? Put it third or fourth, but can the first thing just be obedience to Jesus?” In fact, Kim would like to call today’s young missionaries to the same dedication and vision embodied by the student volunteer movement that emerged in the late 19th century. At the height of that movement, young adults leaving for the mission field packed their belongings in wood coffins—a grim statement of their intent to take the Gospel to unreached peoples or to die trying. Nobel-prize-winner John R. Mott, a leading voice for missions at the time, recognized the key to motivating students: “I will tell you the way to do it, and that is to place something before them which is tremendously difficult.” Lin could not agree more. “At Urbana, we believe that God has always used young people throughout history, and we don’t have to lower
our expectations for them. If we give them a tough call and a purpose, they’ll rise to the occasion.” ACTS team leader Amy Dinh, for one, has heard the call to a hostile region and is answering it, despite the questions fired at her from the people she loves the most. She says, “My mom told me, ‘Back in the day, people were forced to go to war; people were drafted. Why are you volunteering yourself?’ And I remember telling her, ‘Mom, it’s for the cause of Christ. It’s because life is more than going to church on Sundays, more than getting a college degree and being happy. That’s not true joy. True joy is when you realize you’re living for Someone [who] is worth dying for.’”
TAKE ACTION VISIT THE WEBSITE OF ONE OF THE ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE JOURNEYS OF YOUNG ADULTS ANSWERING GOD’S CALL TO GLOBAL MISSIONS. READ THEIR STORIES AND PRAY ABOUT THE COST GOD MAY BE ASKING OF YOU, WHETHER ACROSS THE WORLD OR HERE AT HOME, TO LET THE NATIONS KNOW THAT CHRIST IS KING.
BRETT MAVRICH is a missionary and independent journalist living in the Kansas City area.
I heard the words of Jesus before I spoke my own: “Tell them that I came to give the Good News to the poor. To heal the brokenhearted. To set the captives free. Tell them these promises are for here. Now. As well as for eternity.” I focused on each girl. “From now on, wherever I go,” I said, “I will ask them the very same question you’ve asked me. I will not sit back waiting, hoping, wishing for someone else to do something. I will be that someone. movie Schindler’s List rolled through my Now that I have found you, I will mind. The movie tells the story of Oskar find other girls like you. I will do Schindler, a Gentile businessman in Nazi everything I can to stop this.” Germany who saved the lives of more When we feel that gentle urging to than a thousand Jews by breaking the law make a bold step, serve others and to keep them working in his factories. commit, so often there are reasons In one powerful scene, Schindler is we hold back. We don’t feel qualified. thanked for what he has done by a crowd We think we lack the strength, the of those he has rescued. The grateful Jews wisdom, the money, the experience, present him with a ring inscribed with a the education, the backing. BY CHRISTINE CAINE saying from the Talmud: “Whoever saves We feel like Moses when, from out one life saves the world entire.” of the burning bush, God called him ix months after my husband, Nick, But, distressed, Schindler says, “I to speak for Him before Pharaoh. and I launched the A21 Campaign, didn’t do enough.” He looks at his And Moses answered, “Pardon your a rescue ministry for young girls car. “Why did I keep the car? Ten servant, Lord. I have never been caught in sex trafficking, a hurting young people right there.” He pulls a pin eloquent ... I am slow of speech and woman from Russia asked me a question from his lapel. “This pin. This is tongue ... Please send someone else” that rang in my ears, shook my mind gold. Two more people ... and I (Exodus 4:10-13). and unsettled my heart: “Why didn’t you didn’t ...” He then collapses into Not me, God. I’m afraid. Weak. Poor. come sooner?” tears. Stupid. Unqualified. Daunted. We were in the ministry’s safe house in Sitting with those hurting We don’t want to sound like Moses, Greece, with 14 recently rescued women women in Thessaloniki—that was stammering around in search of all listening in. No one spoke. But I my Schindler’s List moment. What, excuses. And we don’t need to. could feel their eyes on me, their minds in my life had been my golden Because just as God gave Moses screaming that same question. pin—the thing so precious that I what he needed to accomplish great On the surface, there was a reasonable never thought to use it to ransom things in His name, He will equip us answer: I hadn’t come because I didn’t someone else? in just the same way. If know. How could I be blamed for not “I don’t know,” I He calls us to slay giants, CHRISTINE CAINE is an author, fixing a problem I didn’t know existed? stammered at last. Such He will make us into speaker and coBut I didn’t offer that excuse. The depth weak, small, light words giant slayers. founder of the Adapted from Undaunted by of their suffering at the hands of cruel for such a weighty A21 Campaign, Christine Caine. Copyright and evil men deserved more than that. question. “I am so sorry. which works ©2012. Used by permission of A scene from the Steven Spielbeg’s Please forgive me.” to abolish Zondervan. www.zondervan.com
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MISSIONS VS. MISSION—
MORE THAN A QUESTION OF GRAMMAR
here are missions. And there is mission. And the difference between the two is as important a distinction as can be made for someone who feels the call of God on their life. In fact, it is often this single-letter difference that stands between a person and a fulfilled—or frustrated—future. Many young people who grew up in the church remember “missions” as a “cool” alternative to summer break trips, where beach days got switched for VBS and teens were pushed outside their comfort zones and into the wider world of serving others. Others choose to see evangelism and justice in terms of “mission”—a broader, abstract view of God’s unfolding work of redemption in the world and our part in carrying out the Great Commission, both at home and abroad. At Urbana, the largest student missions conference in North America, attendees are called to both. “Many churches, pastors, leaders and students are seeking this kind of life, whether their career aspirations lead to a village or a boardroom,” says Urbana director Tom Lin. “Everyone is seeking something greater than themselves.” This is particularly true for Millennials, who have earned a reputation as a soul-seeking, lessis-more generation. For them, growing up is no longer about assimilating a set of cultural expectations, like getting married or buying a house. It’s about having experiences, getting smarter, then giving back. It’s about valuing others more than oneself, living well rather than
living large, and living out Christ’s mission every day. TWO WORDS COLLIDE
With mission(s), Millennials are given a greater picture of sustainable faith. They learn how to make long-term relationships and commitments. Wherever they go, solutions to both spiritual and physical ailments are enhanced. Communities and cultures get respected. Brothers and sisters help one another in true, tangible, long-term partnerships. And this December, 18,000 people will begin their own mission(s) trips at Urbana 12. Through seminars led by global influencers, plus multi-ethnic worship and a chance to connect with representatives from 250 missions organizations, participants can explore what it looks like to live out the powerful hybrid of those two small words with an intent to change individuals and communities around the globe. So, whether it’s in Uganda or Utah, through going or receiving, the scope of mission(s) not only spans the width of the world but of God’s call on every heart.
URBANA 12, INTERVARSITY’S STUDENT MISSIONS CONFERENCE DECEMBER 27-31, 2012 ST. LOUIS, MO
“No event has changed more about how I see the world—and God’s mission in the world— than Urbana. It’s an indispensable opportunity to hear from global leaders, deepen your understanding of the biblical story and listen for your call.” —Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling
HIGHLIGHTS: • Speakers include David Platt (author of Radical), Calisto Odede, Ziel Machado, Chai Ling (founder of All Girls Allowed) and many more • “Business Changing the World” track, led by John Terrill, professor at Seattle Pacific University • Specialized seminars in healthcare,business, arts and more
IT STARTS WITH
U R BA NA .O RG
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Organizations doing good work always appreciate donations, but there are many other creative ways to help. Check these out—and learn how you can join them, right where you are.
WHO’S AT THE TABLE?
Urbana 12 and World Vision ACT:S challenge you to share a meal with someone of a different culture, faith or lifestyle.
TAKE ACTION WATCH THE VIDEO TO FIND OUT MORE:
TRUE TO ITS NAME, THE A21 CAMPAIGN GIVES YOU 21 CONCRETE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED.
CONVOY OF HOPE
Providing community outreach, children’s food initiatives, disaster response and partner resourcing to the poorest regions of the world through volunteer efforts.
TAKE ACTION SIGN UP FOR DISASTER RELIEF TRAINING OR PLUG INTO A COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENT ON THE CONVOY OF HOPE WEBSITE.
Founded by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, Show Hope provides food, shelter and medical care to orphans, while issuing adoption aid grants to hopeful parents.
Transfers unused gift card funds—from over $15 billion available—to good causes, like rebuilding homes in disaster zones or urban youth mentoring.
TAKE ACTION HOST A PARTY! GRAB YOUR FREE HOUSE PARTY KIT, INVITE SOME FRIENDS AND THEN POOL YOUR UNUSED GIFT CARDS. 34
TAKE ACTION CHECK OUT SHOW HOPE’S WISH LIST FOR SUPPLIES, SUCH AS MULTIVITAMINS AND TODDLER PAJAMAS. MAKE UP A PACKAGE TO SUPPLEMENT THE NEED. Attn: Special Care Centers Donations Show Hope PO Box 647 Franklin, TN 37065
Published on Aug 17, 2012
Published on Aug 17, 2012
Our generation is eager to live justly in a broken world, and we’re well on our way. But we can’t do this well until we understand our motiv...