Archive for May 15th, 2009

Darfur Fast For Life

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I first learned about some of what is going on in Sudan 3 years ago when I watched a documentary by Invisible Children.  As I watched this film in the privacy of my office I was brought through many emotions.  Anger, Hatred, Compassion, Sorrow, Fear, Joy, and Helplessness.  After watching the film I knew that there were things that I could do to help the millions of people who are suffering in IDP camps throughout Sudan.  I began showing the film to everyone who would take the time to watch it.  I hosted a screening at our church.  I spoke with young people about the role that they could play to make a difference in Sudan.  I have purchased t-shirts that send proceeds to the aid process, worn bracelets made by women in IDP camps, sent financial aid to help support students so that they would have a chance to receive an education.  I have read books that explain the history of the conflict, dig into the reasons for these incredible atrocities taking place.  I have written letters to my Senators, Representatives, and to the President as well.kids-on-mtn-2-small-300x225

There are days when I feel like nothing I do personally makes a difference.  There are still millions of people starving and dying while I live a very blessed life here in NH.  There is a vast ocean that separates the people of Sudan and myself and it seems to grow wider each day as there plight grows worse and I go on living my life.  I want to do more.  I want people to be aware of what is going on.  Even more than that, I want people to respond to this crisis.  I want people to be moved to action.  We can not just stand by and watch this happen.  In 1994 we, as Americans, stood by and did absolutely nothing as the mass genocide took place in Rwanda.  Unfortunately this is happening again with Darfur.mariam-and-child-300x225

That is why I will not eat.  I have thought about this for a while.  I heard of some the Fast for Life a while back through Twitter and then this morning was approached by a friend who is taking part in this fast next week.  Now, before the complaints come in about how Matthew 6 talks about fasting as a private matter between you and God I want to redirect what this is about.  This is less of a fast and more of a public awareness effort brought about through hunger strikes.  This fast is the only way that I think I could join in the suffering of the people of Darfur and raise awareness through this blog as well.  During these three days I will share my experiences with you all as I refrain from eating.  My hope is that I will be changed and moved to even more action through this effort.

Beginning Wednesday, May 20 and continuing through Friday, May 22 I will be fasting from all food and participating in a water only fast to help raise awareness of what is going on in Darfur.  I would encourage you to join me.  You can find out more information about this fast here.  Together we can make a difference.  Yes, I am one person who may not have a direct effect on what is happening, but if we each band together we can make things happen.  

Join me.  Make a difference.  Change the world with love…

Lessons From The Run v4

The day I went public with my goal to run a half marathon I had many people asking me about it.  I had a few people mention to me that my goal had inspired them to do things as well.  I have a few friends who have taken significant steps to improve their health by starting to live a more active lifestyle who have thanked me for challenging them with my own actions.  Over the past five months I have been asked frequently how my training has been going.  kevin_biglake

Many people were aware of the date of the half marathon that I was to run and were encouraging me the week before.  The day after the race and throughout this past week I have had many people ask me how the run went.  The fact that they are asking me without me prompting them to by dropping hints that the run is over makes me believe that they truly care about how the run went.  They are taking the steps to follow up with me and see how I am doing, how the race went, and what my next plans are.

One thing that I have observed, and been guilty of myself, is putting such and emphasis on getting people to take an action step and then leaving them all on their own after making the move.  In the church at large I see a great effort in getting people in the doors of our buildings so that they can hear the Gospel.  I see the desire to “get them saved” and add a number to a monthly report.  I see a lot of backs being patted for the number of people who have given their lives to the Lord.  These are great things and reason to celebrate – truly they are.  But usually before the confetti has even been swept up we have forgotten about the person that we are celebrating over.

It seems as though follow up is a lost art.  Once a person “crosses the line” in church they are just part of the crowd.  As if the line they crossed is the finish line when in all actuality it is a starting line.  I believe we (church leaders, church members, and Christians in general) need to place a much greater emphasis on discipleship.  To actually help people along in their journey with God.  We need to be ready and available to sit and answer questions.  This task can seem daunting but I believe it is one of the greatest things that we can spend our time doing.  To be able to help a person who is trying to figure out who God is in their life is a miracle.  To stand beside a person in their doubts, fears, and questions and allow them to verbalize their true feelings – without judgement – and then direct them to what the Bible says is an incredible honor that we all need to actively participate in.

I loved being able to talk with people about how my race went.  I was really encouraged by the support I received from people after the race was over.  I am actually considering running another few races simply because of the feeling that I got from having people show interest in my running.  I can only imagine what that feels like for others who have people who are interested in helping them along after praying a prayer.  I think we need to be much more excited about doing that with people than just praying with them to accept Jesus.  

Even more than that, I believe Jesus is counting on us to be the ones to reach out to those who are new in their faith and to make time with them a priority.  Crossing a finish line doesn’t exist in the Christian faith.  Not until death.  Let’s help people continue along in their walk by following up with them.  Let’s listen to the words of Jesus as He commands us to “go and make disciples”.

Who is it that you need to connect with?  How are you helping someone along in their faith?