Sunday, May 31, 2009

Knowledge and Responsibility

I've always believed that with knowledge comes responsibility. On my first trip to Kenya, this became clear. I could not see, touch and smell third world poverty and then walk away and do nothing. God not only filled my heart with love for the people of Africa but challenged it to make a difference in what I saw. This increases my excitement to work with Hope Alive! as they are making the kind of difference that I have prayed about for years. I often state that what Ugandans need is not just a cup of rice but the Bread of Life; not just clean water but the Living Water. It's this holistic approach that has stirred my heart for years.

These past few weeks, God has been filling me with all sorts of knowledge. It is these opportunities for knowledge that have given me a greater worldview and a passion for the world. I have this stack by my bed of things that don't belong to me that I need to return to others. Much of this stack consists of books that need to be read. I'll reference three of these as they have impacted me greatly.

The first of these is a book called "Refuge: A True Story of Faith and Civil War" which you can find here on Amazon. I have recommended this book to so many and I encourage all to get it and pass it on to as many as they can. Here's why. It is a documentation of the lives of a family living in Liberia in 1990 when a rebel group took over the country. From what I've experienced with many Africans, they do not express their emotions and feelings well. Though we live in an individualistic society, they live in a communal one. They experience life as a community thus making it difficult to express experiences individualistically. This book is written by an American man telling their story and therefore, the reader is able to glimpse into the lives of this family as they experience the instability of life in a civil war and as refugees. For the first time, I was able to understand the human side of a refugee. Often we only read statistics and commonly think that that kind of life is "normal" in Africa. It's not. It's horrific. Every human being is created in His image and thus it is tragic when any one dies, especially in this way. For each event, there are two chapters covering it: one written from the husband's perspective and the other by his wife. This book reveals how our God can do the impossible and highlights His miraculous ways! It truly helped me understand the heartache that so many Ugandans have experienced as well. It broke my heart in a new way for them.

The second is a movie called "God Grew Tired Of Us". This has been in my stack since a couple from my church gave it to me to watch. It is a documentary that follows the Lost Boys of Sudan as they trekked from Darfur to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. After three years there, they're forced out and head back through Sudan to at last end up at a refugee camp in Kenya. The film followed three specific boys as they were chosen, after 10 years, to leave the camp in Kenya to relocate to the United States. Those details could be slightly wrong as I really haven't researched them a ton although now I'm on a mission to. At the beginning, it shows footage of these thousands upon thousands of boys walking the hundreds upon hundreds of miles. It's literally like watching skeletons walk. My jaw dropped repeatedly not only at their bodies of bones but also at the tragedies that they experienced. The opportunity to go to America seems like it will be a trip to paradise. It is incredible to watch these boys as they experience many things for the first time like light switches, toilets, escalators, refrigerators, etc. When two of the boys came to Pittsburgh, there was this sweet African man that was showing them around their apartment. He showed them one of the bedrooms that had two twin beds in it. One of the boys stated something like, "so we all sleep in here?" as to them, that would be normal. It was explained to them that they, in fact, get their own bed. The movie highlights their difficulties in adjusting to American life including the guilt they have for those that they left behind. Incredible.

The third is a book called "The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun". The title is pretty self-explanatory. :) This book (which can be found here) has been in my stack for a LONG time (sorry, Whit) and is chock FULL of the miracles of God. Yun pretty much started the house church movement in China that has resulted in thousands upon thousands of people coming to know Christ. Throughout the past years he has been imprisoned and tortured for the name of Christ. Story after story of how God worked is just stunning. It is a challenging, inspiring, encouraging and thought provoking book.

All of these have given me knowledge of the different things that God is doing throughout the world. This knowledge gives me a responsibility. Although I can see how God will possibly flesh out Refuge and God Grew Tired Of Us (you know, that whole moving to Uganda thing :)), I'm really interested to see what God's going to do with the knowledge of Chinese believers. So, that's my encouragement to you. Gain some knowledge. Become responsible.

1 comment:

Chad Thornhill said...

Very challenging post Sarah. We're praying for you as you embark on this wonderful kingdom work!