I’ve always had a hard time visualizing large numbers. For example, the population of New York City is roughly nine million people. Considering how crowded some places can get in the City and how difficult it is to park a car there, my brain visualizes “a lot.” At the same time, when I’m in downtown Indianapolis, population nine hundred thousand, with less traffic and crowds than NYC, even after a sporting event my brain still visualizes “a lot.”
Because of my inability to see these large numbers, I have difficulty visualizing the refugee crisis around the world. When I hear about the number of displaced people, I think I downplay the seriousness of what they are experiencing . Many of them are on the run. They lack food, clean water, and clean bathrooms. They have to deal with sickness, diseases, and exposure. The choices we make usually involve something to do with our comfort. The choices that refugee families have to make could mean life or death for themselves or a loved one.
The 2016 NFL season is upon us. As you watch your favorite team compete with their rivals I would like to direct your attention to one particular group of people who make that game (and every other football contest) possible.
They are commonly referred to as the “chain gang”. These are the assistants to the official linesman who are responsible for measuring the forward progress of the ball between first down conversions. From the time a team receives possession of the ball, to the time they gain another first down, score, turn the ball over, punt or forfeit possession, this crew measures the distance the ball is advanced down the field. For every ten yards of forward progress, another first down is awarded.
In less-developed countries like Myanmar, medical facilities are few and far between. Fewer still are the medicines and treatments needed to fight diseases such as Tuberculosis and Malaria, both of which are curable if diagnosed early.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that deteriorates the tissue of the lungs, along with causing weight loss and regular fever. It is spread through fluid droplets, such as the blood that many patients cough up once the disease has progressed.
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." - Ephesians 4:1-6
Disagreements and divisions distract us from the deeper purpose of the Church: to share the love of God and make disciples of Jesus Christ.
A lack of unity has led to hurting people within the Church, shunning people outside the Church, and a noticeable lack of missional motivation among Christians.
"While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him." - Luke 5:12-13
Contrary to popular belief, leprosy still exists.
According to the World Health Organization, leprosy is "a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes."
Between 20-30 inches of rain fell upon our brothers and sisters across Southern Louisiana last week. Eleven people have been confirmed dead. It is estimated that over 60,000 homes have been damaged, and thousands of families are currently displaced.
IDES will begin response by sending our DART Coordinator to assist in the Crowley, LA community. Sent with him will be a load of our storage sheds to be distributed and built for families affected. The sheds will be distributed and built in partnership with Forest Park Church of Christ in Crowley, LA this weekend (Aug. 26, 27, 28). IDES will be seeking church partnership opportunities in additional communities for long-term recovery efforts as the waters recede.
UPDATE - 9/14/16
"...a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."
I was in the 3rd grade when the attack on 9/11/2001 occurred.
The event was shocking to say the least. My friends and I did not fully understand what a "terrorist" was, or how close New York City was to our elementary school in middle-of-nowhere, Indiana. The whole day was scary and sad. It was a day that many children lost their innocence in regards to recognizing evil, and a day that many people tragically lost their lives.
Every day on the news, we hear about more terrorist attacks, more civilian casualties, and more collateral damage. It is all-too-easy to just change the channel, keep scrolling, or ignore altogether the barrage of cruel images we see. Sometimes we grow numb to the pain and suffering of our fellow human beings.
Jesus knew pain and suffering first hand. He lived a hard life, and he died a torturous death on our behalf. According to Luke 19:10, Jesus' mission was "to seek and to save the lost." He sought. He saved. In other words, Jesus did not forget about any soul, especially those who were suffering. Since God is the same then, today, and forever, He still will not forget, will not ignore, and will not grow numb. He is God with us.
Matthew 9:37-38 (above).
According to the United States Department of Labor, "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
We celebrate and tribute this holiday by taking a day off from work. ...Interesting.
Don't get me wrong, I love a well-earned day off as much as the next guy. I slept in and plan to read a book for the majority of the day. Rest is important, and it is encouraged by God Himself. I just think that the irony behind this holiday is not-so-subtle, celebrating work by not working. Furthermore, I believe the way we celebrate this holiday holds a peculiar parallel to the way we sometimes celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ.
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt." - Deuteronomy 10:18-19
There are some long-term crises in the world that go unreported by the news in the U.S.
There are families suffering from myriad natural and man-made causes who are largely ignored by the media. Here at IDES, we want their story to be told. It is ultimately our mission to meet their physical needs and open the door to meet their spiritual needs with the love of Jesus Christ.
One of the most under-reported situations in the world right now is the Myanmar Refugee Crisis. Thousands of families are currently living in extremely impoverished conditions with little access to food and clean water due to being forced out of their homes by warring Army and rebel groups. The violence has continued in the country for several decades now.