Lessons learned while trying to save the world (part 3)
Maybe a decade ago, when AIM was still struggling to find its voice, I decided to get some top contemporary musicians to represent us to a wide audience. We looked at two bands that were just starting out: The Waiting and Third Day were Atlanta bands with a few hits under their belts.
In a moment of incredible discernment on our part I picked The Waiting. Of course Third Day went on to reach millions with their music.
We flew Brad and Todd Olsen, the brothers who founded The Waiting, to see our operations in Mexico. My hope was that it would make an impression on them.
Their first contact with our ministry couldn’t have been better: five women giving their lives to Christ, tears running down their faces.
Later, we walked past a row of ramshackle cardboard huts, pausing at one where we were building a new home to talk with the mother of seven children. Her name was Guadalupe. Her youngest child was crying in her arms. Her other children were barefoot and dirty.
“Where do your children sleep?” I asked, appalled at the obvious lack of space.
“On the ground,” she replied, gesturing at the mud floor. “My life is so difficult. It’s hard to believe that God cares about me. It’s hard for me to trust Him.”
Any response to that cry of despair was going to sound glib, but my answer seemed to assure her: “Even with God, life is going to be hard, but without him, it’s impossible. You need him in your life. He cares for you. You need the hope that only he can give you.”
Brad and Todd left Mexico with a vision for our ministry. I liked their hearts. But nothing much came of the relationship and I haven’t heard any more hits out of them. I don’t think they mobilized anyone to join AIM.
I haven’t heard anything more about Guadalupe. I kick myself for not following up on her and for not doing a better job of caring for and following up on the thousands who have prayed the “sinner’s prayer.” Like so many American Jesus-followers, I’ve been far too cavalier in the sharing of my faith, getting a stranger to pray some words, and then moving on.
Jesus said to “make disciples,” not to pray repeat-after-me prayers. I hope Guadalupe isn’t still waiting for more hope than we gave her that day.
I know this sounds horrible, but I am really enjoying this series on failing. AIM is a great organization, run by a great guy who serves a great God…and sometimes it can seem like a mountain I could never climb. It’s really encouraging to know that there’s been a lot of bumps and potholes along the way…I am encouraged by your honesty, so thanks Seth!
Uche and Jen,
you’re welcome. getting ready to leave Swaziland after a month of having another go at it. i guess i’m incorrigible!
I enjoy the articles very much. I think it is something that helps a person to reason and think about what God is showing us about his creation.(world) thanks again for the lessons. I appreciate it so much.