Have you ever found yourself half-awake in the middle of the night, miserably cold, realizing that you need to put another cover on the bed?
Your body is sending an urgent message by way of the shivering and goose-bumps it is producing, “I feel quite uncomfortable. Why don’t we get up and grab another blanket?” But your mind, drowsy and tired after an exhausting day, argues “Everything will be fine if we just roll over and go back to sleep.”
So, what do you do?
We recently celebrated a successful well drilling partnership in Togo, West Africa.
Our mission partners in Togo are working in a remote region where there are few believers in Christ Jesus. The area lacks a reliable water supply and has no electricity.
Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” This is a powerful, definitive statement about Jesus. It doesn’t allow much wiggle room. IDES works with partners who are presenting this to people, many of whom mistakenly think they are saved by some other name- Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna or any other name. And they believe this fervently. They are as strong in their beliefs as you or I are in ours.
Late last summer, the seasonal monsoon rains that sweep through India each year caused major flooding in many of the villages in which IDES' partners are ministering.
The country was still recovering from the unexpected drought that had lasted several months before the rains hit. Due to the soil being too dry to soak up the water, flash flooding occurred quickly.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a faithful minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, led the non-violent movement in protest of the incredible force of racism against African American citizens during the 1950s and 1960s. He not only radically changed America, but also inspired the world through his leadership in social justice and through his passion for equality. Dr. King was martyred on April 4th, 1968.
Today, we celebrate his life and ministry. As the IDES staff family reflected upon Martin Luther King, Jr.'s teaching and legacy, we were reminded of his deep love of the Lord Jesus, and of his willingness to stand up for those who were poor and suffering.
Several years ago, over 600,000 people fled rural Afghanistan due to civil war and the soviet occupation of the country and settled in Pakistan.
In recent months, the political relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been deteriorating. As violence caused by the Taliban continues to impact the most vulnerable communities, the shifting accusations of blame for the existence of the terrorist group only worsens the situation.
I really enjoy perusing thrift shops.
Whether it be a Goodwill or a mom-n-pop antique store, I find it fun to dig through the interesting items for the home and innumerable articles of clothing. It's like a treasure-hunt. Unfortunately, it seems I can't walk into a thrift shop without leaving with something in my hands.
"This sweater is truly unique," I think to myself. Or, "I'd never find a cool old lamp like this in a department store...and it's only five bucks!" I find myself reasoning. It's most often an item that I really didn't need. I just wanted it, and it was inexpensive. Since I found it under piles and piles of junk, it feels like buried treasure to me. Unfortunately, my heart starts to take pride in the uniquities. I start to tighten my grip around these possessions, and they take on a silly emotional value. They are "mine" now! Then, a passage of Scripture like the following hits me like a Mack truck.
From the outside, the situation for Burmese refugees settled in Mae Sot, Thailand can look quite hopeless.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in Myanmar, fleeing the brutal violence that has been occuring between several warring militias in the country for several decades now. Many of these families have settled in landfills and dumps, building "homes" using whatever salvagable items that they can, and collecting recyclables to sell for pennies. Hunger and disease run rampant.
On top of that, the area that these camps are in sustains monsoon-level rainfall almost every year, which often damages the meager homes and destroys what few crops had been growing. But, by the grace of God and thanks to your partnership, there is hope.
2016 has passed, and what a rollercoaster of a year it was!
There were many ups, and many downs. There were many victories, and many defeats. There were moments of great joy, and moments of great sorrow.
Throughout the past year, you and I have been through quite a bit. We have each learned, lived, and loved. We have each taken steps forward in certain ways, and fallen backward in others. As I sit and reflect with those that I love upon 2016, one theme continues to present itself in conversation: the desire to "start fresh."