In my last blog post I shared a paragraph from a Make Way Partners monthly news letter. It dealt with the mission’s status in Southern Darfur, Sudan, but it applies to us in so many ways.  Here it is again:

"We are not people of a Pollyanna faith; rather we are a people called to run straight into the Darkness so that we might be the Light in the moment of despair. We are a people appointed to call out the names of Darkness so that those held in its grip might be set free. Christianity is not for the faint of heart, nor for the political aspirant—as sometimes the things we hold near and dear are the very entities, which we must confront for the Greater Good. Sometimes, in this naming of what is good for me and mine, we may even find the stain of ink bearing those names of innocents upon our own hands—as in how we as a nation may also profit from such wars. Still, we must boldly name, forge a new path, and rescue those who suffer the consequences of our profit and “security."  Kimberly Smith

I told you it would take me a few days to unpack this paragraph. This morning I reflected on this sentence. “We are not people of a Pollyanna faith; rather we are a people called to run straight into the Darkness so that we might be the Light in the moment of despair.”

The picture above of the woman sitting on the ground was taken on my first mission trip to Africa with Make Way Partners in the three and a half weeks I spent in Southern Darfur.  It was a hard trip.  The woman is sitting in the dirt road of a small village in the 118 degree heat of the day.  She is very sick and starving to death.  She is so weak she is sitting in a mud pool of her own urine, as she does not have the strength to get up.  I passed her and took this photograph as our Sudanese guide was taking us on a walking tour of the various war-ravaged villages and areas in Darfur.  The Sudanese people were just walking by her as we were doing, and I asked our guide “Why isn’t anyone helping her?”  He said, “These people are poor.  They are trying to survive.   They are to busy trying to find enough food to feed and take care of themselves and their own family let alone to help this woman.  They have nothing to offer her.  She is near death anyways and will soon die.”  We walked on in the heat to continue our hike through various villages and areas of the region.  However, though I saw many disturbing things that day, I could not get the woman out of my mind. 

The next day I got Benjamin, my Sudanese translator who was armed with an AK-47for protection, and we head out to where we saw the woman the previous day.  We found her and she was in the same place except dragged off more to the side of the road. She was dead.  I stood there and looked over her and at the Sudanese people walking by and I was very sad.  So with Benjamin sitting under a shade tree watching over me, I dug a shallow grave in the sand and rock you may call “soil” and I buried the woman.

As I was digging the grave I started getting angry.  Angry at how people could let someone starve to death like this and walk by!  And none of the passer-byers for the three hours it took me to dig a grave in the sun-baked sand and rocks stopped and offered to help.  Then God spoke in me.  He said that is why you are here Gary.  These people do not know me. They do not love me.  If they do not love me, how can you expect them to love their neighbor?   You are here to share with them the Gospel. To share with them that the kingdom of God is at hand and help lead them into adoption through Christ into the kingdom as sons and daughters of God.  It is not until they embrace and see the immense value in themselves, and that they are worth saving, that they will see the immense value in others like this woman, and that they are worth saving.

Inserting my name in the sentence above, “Gary, you are not a person of a Pollyanna faith; rather you are a person I called to run straight into the Darkness so that you might be the Light in the moment of despair.”

Reflect today on this.  Insert your name in this sentence, ““___________, you are not a person of a Pollyanna faith; rather you are a person I called to run straight into the Darkness so that you might be the Light in the moment of despair.”

Who is the person like the woman in the dirt street, that in your busy life and trying to take care of “you”, trying to survive, that you fail to see, or worse see, see them dying in their own filth, and you do not have the time or love to help? And you know the Gospel and have resources to offer.

Who are the people that don’t know God, that don’t love God so they can’t love their neighbors, that you are called to share the Gospel with them?

Please share your thoughts and reflections in the comment box below.

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