Small Suffering, Big Dreams

“God, we just thank you for another day in another part of your kingdom here in Africa. And whether you decide to heal us completely here tonight, or we die in our sleep and never wake up again, know that you are worth it.

You are worth the blisters on our hands, the callouses on our fingers, the gashes on our knees, the asthma in our lungs, the sickness in our bones, the lack of sleep during the nights, the hunger during the day, the dehydration of our brains and the homesickness of our hearts.

You are worth chasing over 11,000km. You are worth dying for in Africa.

We love you.


This prayer was prayed not long ago as our group met for our daily debriefing. It was a challenging physical day at the farm which brought out a lot of emotions that were held in with more rested bodies.

Bouge has been struggling today with his asthma; the air is filled with dust and gases  from diesel-driven cars with no regulations on emissions. His inhaler hasn’t been working very well either and he’s in a very tired and uncomfortable state. He also cut his hand (not badly) with his panga (machete) today while clearing some bush.

Kristen scraped up her hands pretty well and has cuts all over them from clearing the bush with us. They were cleaned, treated with antiseptics and bandaged but still a cause of reasonable discomfort.

Virginia spent the day with the children at the Kid’s House and was picked up on our way back from the farm covered in an assortment of  stickers from head to toe.

I always sit down with the intention to be concise and write a little but it never happens. Why break the cycle now? I am very tired, but there is still just so much work to do.

One of the biggest things that I think I will take home is this idea:

If missionaries are not empowering the local leaders of the area that they are spending their time in, they are wasting time and being close to useless.

The idea that missionaries run in, shout the gospel on a bullhorn, and run off to their next exotic location, is obsolete in my eyes. Without equipping community leaders with the knowledge, wisdom and tools to continue without you, you are drastically limiting the possibility of radical transformation on a wide scale. Example: Uganda.

It’s simple, but very important to a person’s vision or even just idea of world missions. Shane, the director of Come Let’s Dance, had to explain to the Ugandans that empowering them to action was the most important thing she or any missionary could do. They didn’t understand at first and it took a blunt question to explain why it was so crucial: “What Mama Shane dies?” she asked, “Then what?”

I have a vision to partner Vita Nova with Come Let’s Dance as a focus for global missions. My desire for reaching the ends of the earth as a church is not one fueled the lure of traveling to different exotic locations. It is a desire to create an intensive program that teaches members about the global kingdom of God, the generational transformation of people through the Gospel, and a “religion that is pure and undefiled before God.” (James 1:27)

Call me crazy but I’m already dreaming about the next team that will be coming back in 12 months. How to stream-line certain aspects. Different ideas on fundraising and how plane tickets can be purchased personally. A week long boot camp during the summer that stresses a full understanding of the vision and structure of Come Let’s Dance as though it were adopted as our own for restoration within third-world countries. Small teams are best; not just for more personal debriefing times but smooth logistical travelling as well. What if too many people want to be involved? Overflow into the summer of 2011, but have both (or more) teams training together.

God has been laying some big visions and dreams in my heart and I’ve been doing my best to scribble them down somewhere so they don’t get lost. I guess what I’m excited to really believe with all my heart is this: The healing power of the Gospel of Jesus is not just limited to the spiritual, but extends to the physical brokenness of people as well. This is not the prosperity gospel; it’s me actively having faith that God cares about poor and dying people. If we really loved these people as God calls us to, we would not just “evangelize” them with the gospel and run off– we should be doing everything in our power to meet their physical needs.

Watching, learning, learning, thinking, thinking, praying, praying.

Soon I’ll look back and determine if this was a delirious rant or a coherent outpouring. Either way, we’re expected up nice and early for our morning devotional before going to buy some chickens for a micro-loaned micro-business and heading into Kotanga slums to spend time with the locals all day. Please pray for the health of our bodies, the openness of our minds, and the softness of our hearts.

In the Incorruptible Love of Christ,

-Tommy, Virginia, Luke, Kristen, Bouge (David)

3 responses to “Small Suffering, Big Dreams

  1. You are all incredible. I’m at Urbana and we’re learning a lot about incarnational living- that is, moving into the place where the suffering is and loving as Jesus did. I believe you are doing just that. Bless you all! Much love.

  2. Hey guys,

    It is so great to hear about the amazing work that is going on over there. You are all blessed and you all should know that you are in my prayers. Remember that there are a lot of people back home praying and reading these blogs. I can’t wait for you guys to come back…Love you much

  3. Hey guys!

    Praying hard for you! As He has called you, He has also equipped you; be encouraged! Remember, as the pangs of homesickness continue, that you are with family. You’ve taken little pieces of home right along with you. I pray you’ll find comfort in one another, and rest in His embrace. Love and miss you all!

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