Friday, January 23, 2009


Adventures in Missions founder Seth Barnes posted this on his blog today:
Today as you read this, Karen and I are en route to Africa - land of great joy and great pain.

Just outside the Joburg airport where we'll touch down are garbage dumps and vast neighborhoods of ramshackle huts, each containing its own particular story of pain. AIDS stalks the land. Unemployment rates are sky high and the resultant poverty visits sickness and hunger on children particularly.

Maybe like me you've heard a lot of people try to address the question, "Why do we have to go thru pain?" Their answers usually exhaust me. Too many of them are armchair theologians who haven't really suffered.

I don't care who you are, C.S. Lewis or my uncle, most of the answers I hear sound too theological and don't quite help me when I'm at the bedside of someone who's in agony. There's so much more to be said here and almost inevitably, it falls short. We need to have great grace for one another given the pain that most of us carry around with us. If we only knew just how heavy it feels, we'd have much more tenderness to give each other. Knowing that God does use our pain redemptively can bring a measure of consolation to our dry place of pain.

I see a lot of pain in life. So many of you who write me privately are in terrible emotional or physical pain. We need to hold one another's pain as precious. When we're young our mothers kissed our owwies, but as grown-ups, so few of us have a safe place to go with our pain. We need to become safe places.

Here's a practical suggestion: Please take a second to reach out to the orphans and grandmothers we'll be touching in Jesus' name in Swaziland in the days to come. Write a quick comment below and share a prayer or a word of encouragement and I'll print them, cut them into individual slips of paper, and our team will read them to individual orphans and grandmothers in Swaziland. You can read about some of the the specific grandmothers here. Women like Philile are heroes - widowed and raising large numbers of orphans by themselves.

I'm asking God for a crazy number of you to write words of encouragement - maybe 100. So please get your family members and friends to write a comment too. I promise that I'll print each comment out and give it as a gift to an orphan or widow. You may not be able to go, but you can encourage them as they cope with pain.
To leave a note of encouragement, go to Seth's blog: LIVING IN A COMFORTABLE WORLD
As one who passionately loves the Swazi people, I thank you. You can't even imagine how much this small act will richly bless the recipient.

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