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Why are we off to Africa today?

Karen and I are on a plane to South Africa today (via Paris – where we’ll sleepily drag ourselves out of the terminal and over to Monte Marte to drink cappuccinos in a café and look at the street art before getting back on the plane). We’ll be there a month and we hope to dive into the pain…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Karen and I are on a plane to South
Africa today (via Paris
– where we’ll sleepily drag ourselves out of the terminal and over to Monte
Marte to drink cappuccinos in a café and look at the street art before getting back
on the plane). We’ll be there a month
and we hope to dive into the pain, malnutrition and AIDS that is Swaziland’s
reality while we’re there.

Jesus hung out with the poor and he told the rest of us, “go
hang out with the poor.”

After you’ve
hung out with the poor in Swaziland
or Mozambique,
it wakes you up to how good you’ve got it.

You feel guilty for any complaining you’ve
done lately.

It makes it hard to feel
sorry for folks in America
wallowing in their victimization.

Of course poverty is relative, when Jesus said, “the poor
you’ll always have with you,” he was speaking comparatively.

There always seem to be those people who hang
out on the margins of society who had no safety net underneath them when they
suffered calamity, becoming the widows and orphans that Jesus targets for care.

The good news is that American young people are waking up to
the reality of their privilege relative to the world. Adventures In Missions will have three World
Race
teams and several other teams in addition to our regular staff over there
this summer (an embarrassing abundance of white people until you realize how
many villages we

won’t visit). Our job is to help those volunteers make
sense of what they’re experiencing and to hold up the arms of those caring for
them.

But perhaps in a larger sense, our job is to have our hearts
broken. That’s what keeps them supple
and beating as Jesus’ heart beats. That’s
what gives us credibility as leaders. About
a year ago Karen felt God calling her to “go hold orphans in Africa
for a month.” And last August God showed
me the way his heart pounds for the orphans. He challenged me to open up my life and make
room for them to swarm my porch and living room and kitchen. The thought terrifies and overwhelms me.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s the real reason we’re
going.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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