Archive | October, 2011

How would I respond?

21 Oct

“What will you do when ‘they’ tell you to leave or face death?”

A godly Mexican pastor…we’ll call him Jose….was asked this question by a trusted mentor as he works to expand the church’s ministry in a difficult area in Mexico. Jose and his congregation are running AWANA programs for kids, job-skills training for adults and other outreach ministries in an area of town controlled by drug gangs. I was struck by Jose’s opennes when he told me, “I took two months to think through the answer. I discussed it with my family and we came to a decision together.” Their answer is evident as the ministry continues to reach those without hope in a region facing daily threats to life.

To this point he has not received death threats, but Jose knows what his answer will be when they come. Far from being a theoretical possibility that invites glib responses, Jose and his family know it is just a matter of time before the threats become reality. As I travel to various “interesting” locations there is theoretical danger, but the risk is miniscule compared to that faced by Jose and other faithful believers like him. These amazing servants increase their risk the longer they persevere in reaching the lost and hopeless.

My response? Pray for Jose, encourage him, and honestly consider my response if that question is asked of me.

Father, give your people the courage to persevere in the face of danger.

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Advent Conspiracy

14 Oct

Living life outside the U.S. is filled with pros and cons. Delicious fruits, a variety of veggies and rich coffee are in abundance. Life flows at a much slower pace which is good on a relational level, but often frustrating when transacting business or keeping to a specific schedule. Many a family would be dismayed about missing out on scores of new products, popular books, the latest movies and music, and current fashion. Oh, eventually those products might make it to our part of the Western Hemisphere, but unless someone travels to Costa Rica, and has perused a book or magazine in flight or lugged a suitcase of surprises, it may be months or years before such items crossed our path.

I had heard of the Advent Conspiracy in the past, but never understood what it was all about until I purchased and read the book pictured above. After spending four years living in Latin America, and another year in Pakistan many years ago, I completely understand the author’s premise. And vow not to succumb to the advertiser hype and accumulation of goods while on U.S. soil.

But living life this way is…nearly impossible….the average Westerner is bombarded by advertising, peer pressure, and the idea of perceived need multiple times per day. And yes, while living in the Southeast, we are wooed as well. Others will benefit by foregoing toys and desires that often break and wane post-holiday season. In fact, we as a couple have committed to sacrificially giving not only during Advent, but throughout the year as well…won’t you join us?