Watch Your Back and Love Forward: 2020

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
That’s our enemy’s job. It’s his mission to prevent the “abundant life” that Jesus wants for us. No matter where on the globe we live.
(John 10:10)

When I think about the enemy’s mission in Africa, I see his success in plain sight. Poverty, malnutrition and all the associated diseases. Poor healthcare access and infrastructure means that often women are alienated, households are torn apart, men are unable to provide for their families, and children have hit the lotto if they get to their 5th birthday alive. Bleak picture.

However, our enemy is after us in well-developed countries too. How does he “steal, kill, and destroy” on our turf? We have great healthcare (don’t even argue with me about that). We have and maintain infrastructure. We provide free healthcare to the needy. Average lifespan is pretty dang high. Most Americans are in the top 10 percentile of wealth worldwide. Rosey picture.

So, does that mean our enemy is not attacking us in developed countries? Did we “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” and win the battle against him? Did he see how good our health and wealth is…and give up?

Short answer: No.
I’m sure some of you would even attest to that personally.
However, I want to explore this idea (and reality) from the standpoint of our community as a whole.

Despite our apparent prosperity we are a people riddled with anxiety, addiction and depression. Crippled by mental illness and infected with the “rat race.” What is truly important takes second place over our addiction to accumulating material possessions.

So yeah, we don’t have Ebola, but I would argue that the enemy has struck a more fatal blow. More fatal because we don’t detect it as influenced at all by him. We ignore his existence and get the wind royally knocked out of us.

What do we do?
Something I learned in my experience overseas is this: Gospel in America must be congruent to the Gospel everywhere else. Otherwise it isn’t true. In other words, the prosperity gospel doesn’t fly. I know that to be true from the faithful believers I met in Madagascar, Benin and Cameroon. What I do know to be true is this:

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you STAY FREE, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1

We are called to live in freedom. The freedom that following Jesus gives. Freedom from self. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from darkness. Freedom from “keeping up with the Jones’s”. No matter where you live.

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children imitate their father; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another–practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us.” Ephesians 5:1-2

I see you enemy, but I’m not stopping.
My God brings freedom, and I’m his “well-beloved child”.

2020 here we come!

2 thoughts on “Watch Your Back and Love Forward: 2020”

  1. Hello Kirsten!

    I have long felt the Lord pull me towards missions, but have not yet heard him say “NOW.” Recently I have had a stirring in my heart that he may be saying that now is the time for me to go serve in missions. I heard about Mercy Ships and am very interested in volunteering with them as a nurse (I have 2.5 years experience on a Medical Unit).

    I would love to hear more about your experience with them, but especially would love your feedback about the faith aspect of Mercy Ships. Everywhere on their website, it states that they are a faith-based ministry, but I see little about what this means to them, other than loving God and serving others.

    My faith is of the utmost importance to me, and when I do ministry, I do not want to go into it blindly, especially when faith can mean such different things to people.

    Would you be willing to email or comment back to answer a few more questions? Thank you for all of the ministry you have already done!

    -Kaitie E.

    1. Hey Kaitie! I’d encourage you to read my blogs under the “Mercy Ships” tab. There are quite a few, but I think it will give you an idea. Mercy Ships follows the 2000 year old model of Jesus Christ. People of all religious backgrounds can get behind a mission like that, so you may meet a few volunteers who don’t share your beliefs. Honestly, that is such a cool part of the ship! All that said, there are “community meetings” aka church one Sunday evenings and Thursday evenings for crew. Sunday morning those with access to vehicles carpool to local churches OR (my personal fav) you could attend church down in the wards with our patients. We have a chaplaincy team of volunteer and local Africans who put together a message and worship that resonates with our patients culturally. Seeing our patients worship alongside the crew who attend is the coolest thing ever. The chaplaincy team also does so much more: they makes rounds every morning on the wards with a short encouragement and a couple songs, then throughout the day they spend more time with our patients encouraging and praying for them, offering them a bible if applicable. As far as nursing staff: Every time a patient is taken from the ward into the surgery suite…we offer to pray and they nearly always say yes. Every change of shift, the staff gather and pray. Etc etc etc. Our patients are exposed to true gospel in many, many ways. Their testimonies of hope restored and love received are incredible. It’s overwhelming to witness.

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