You know those stories that once you've read, watched, or lived that you are irrevocably and utterly changed? The kind that shake us to our very core, make us experience ideas and emotions we never thought of before, and make us ask the difficult questions? They're the ones that stick with us, remind us of what is truly important, and leave us with a new understanding of just what the pure religion that James 1:27 talks of.
Last year I experienced such a story. Actually, a set of stories all connected, that make a much larger narrative of both light and dark. Last year I traveled to Africa and saw things that broke my heart, challenged my worldview, and set me on a course I never thought I would be on. That course was being a voice for the broken and dying a quarter of a world away in the country of Zambia, Africa.
Witnessing the darkness and death there, how it just ravages a county, a culture, all the way down to a family, left me paralyzed in some senses. I was traveling, following the relief work that a group of college students from Michigan were doing there. While I was only documenting the work, I was still left gripped by the hopelessness that seemed to be lingering around every corner.
But that was just it. It wasn’t.
Despite the brokenness and the death that seemed everywhere, there was an amazing amount of hope and light that shone into these communities and these lives, through a team that I have grown to respect deeply. That team was Jubilee Centre. Jubilee is a non-profit located out of the northern area of Zambia dedicated to empowering their local churches and communities. They enabled their leaders to grow spiritually, flourish physically, and have a voice of change in the world. This group of people are some of the most courageous, selfless, and dedicated christians I have ever had the honor of both meeting and serving beside.
On a daily basis they deal with death from epidemics like AIDS and HIV, the continuing fight against the threat of Malaria, and the vulnerability and displacement of countless orphans and widows. But through this amazing team they bring light into their communities and work to change the direction of Zambia, not just through faith, but also by action.
In May I plan to return to Zambia, to continue my documentation process of the relief work happening there But also, much more specifically, to help tell Jubilee's story, and the stories that they experience day after day.
From equipping and teaching HIV caregivers, to providing microfinance opportunities to build up the local economy of Zambia, Jubilee is doing so much in their communities. Their story desperately needs to be shared with partners and supporters across the globe, so that their work, their pure religion, can continue to spread and change the future of this entire country, and one day, the entire continent of Africa.
I am putting a considerable amount of financial support down so that I can go tell this story. Even still, I am in need of support; spiritually and financially. First I need support spiritually through prayer. As I said, witnessing the things happening in a place like Zambia changes you, and I will experience a considerable amount even on this trip back. I need prayer that God would give me endurance, understanding, and all manner of His encouragement.
I honestly don't know how much I will break through this, but I know I will. For that reason I need everyone's prayers while I am gone.
Second, I need help financially to travel to Africa. It is by no means an easy feat and if you feel led or prompted to give, please do so by visiting here Cornerstone University. I'll be traveling with a group from there again this year. The easiest and most efficient way to give is to do so through their safe and secure Global Services page. Or if you would feel more comfortable, you can make a charitable donation to CU, for the amount you wish to donate, with my name in the memo line.
I believe in a world without HIV and AIDS. I believe in a world where Malaria will no longer be a nightly threat. I believe in a world where orphans will no longer suffer and die. I believe in a world where the greater good will always come first. I believe in a world where hope will ring true eternally.
This is the world I want. Help me tell this story so this world can become a reality.