Friday, May 13, 2005

The Power of Proximity

People who have witnessed African poverty firsthand often have an overwhelming desire to do something about it. It's impacting to meet people just like yourself who don't have a good chance to survive long in life simply because of where they were born. I'm thankful that a few influential people have seen the horrors of African poverty firsthand and have made it their mission to make a difference. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is one of several I'm thankful for.

I recently heard Senator Inhofe speak to an Oklahoma Christian University group interested in going as missionaries to Rwanda. He spoke first of his unwillingness to go to Africa despite his friend's repeated requests. He finally made that trip and he was forever affected by it.

I loved the advice he gave (coming from his Baptist background of which there are many different Baptist groups working in Africa). Paraphrasing, he said, "Don't go as just another church organization. Don't make it your mission to start the churches of Christ in Rwanda. Go and simply share Jesus. They don't need another church organization. They need Jesus." He went on to tell powerful stories of how African leaders became close to Jesus and how that positively affected peace initiatives, poverty alleviation, etc.

And I was reminded.... Proximity to God first and then proximity to His people in need, which is another way of describing Jesus. We should do more of it ourselves.

If you ever get a chance, visit a third world country. It will change your life.


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