There was a horse that nobody really wanted. He was deemed too short, too slow and considered by his owners to be lazy. Many thoroughbred owners quickly gave up on him and wrote him off as useless until a very special man came into this horse’s life. Instantly, the gentleman saw tremendous potential and he knew this horse was very special. Nobody else could figure out why he decided to invest his money and time into a horse that was clearly a loser. But he didn’t care what others thought. He knew when he looked the horse in the eyes that he possessed a tremendous amount of potential, determination, and desire. All he needed was the right kind of leadership, solid coaching, and an opportunity to be the next champion. The horse named Seabiscuit later became the legendary winner who inspired hope for so many during the Great Depression.
When I was in Korah (Ethiopia) I looked into the eyes of many orphans and saw something special. It must have been the same feeling that Seabiscuit’s trainer experienced when he first laid his eyes on him. I could sense something special there. (I think everyone on our February mission team would agree.) As I worked my way over to Great Hope Ministry I met a young man named, Sammy. Instantly, I saw a man who deeply loves his community. A man who answered the call to: Man Up 4 the fatherless, widows, and the hungry. Sammy has a fascinating story and you can read about it soon on My Crazy Adoption Blog.
As I think about Sammy and Project 61 ministry I marveled at how God has orchestrated such hope into the most broken community I have ever seen. It must have been like that for Nehemiah when he arrived in Jerusalem. Did you know that Nehemiah had never stepped foot in Jerusalem before he heard the news of the walls being torn down? Yet, when he had heard the bad news he had such compassion he wept. There is a popular saying that goes, “Break my heart, for what breaks yours.” This tells me that Nehemiah’s heart was definitely in the right place. He loved God so much that to know His people were not safe broke his heart and spurred him to take action.
After much prayer God led Nehemiah to Man Up for Jerusalem and leave the safety of his own home to go and rebuild the wall. (This is a fascinating story of how he mobilized the residents of Jerusalem to build in just 52 days a massive wall around an entire city. You can read about it in the book of Nehemiah.) My point is to encourage men who can sense a little break in their own heart when they see or hear stories about orphans is to do this: SOMETHING! Nehemiah did do SOMETHING, but I wonder how many had that same feeling when they saw or heard about the destruction of the wall around Jerusalem and didn’t do anything. Maybe they struggled with the same things that keep me and others from doing something. Perhaps they didn’t think it would be possible or they were not the right person for the task or afraid of what others may think of them. What a God – Adventure they missed out on.
To be honest with you, right now I’m really praying for direction from God on my next season in life. My last trip to Ethiopia in February “rocked me!” I don’t know exactly what He is calling me to do, but I know whatever it is, I’m praying for the courage to able to Man Up and lead. Who knows the next Ethiopian eyes I look into may be the next Sammy.
What is God stirring in you to Man Up 4 Orphans about?
To care means first of all to empty our own cup and to allow the other to come close to us. It means to take away the many barriers which prevent us from entering into communion with the other. When we dare to care, then we discover that nothing human is foreign to us, but that all the hatred and love, cruelty and compassion, fear and joy can be found in our own hearts. When we dare to care, we have to confess that when others kill, I could have killed too. When others torture, I could have done the same. When others heal, I could have healed too. And when others give life, I could have done the same. Then we experience that we can be present to the soldier who kills, to the guard who pesters, to the young man who plays as if life has no end, and to the old man who stopped playing out of fear for death. (Henri Nouwen)