Day 3 – Leadership

We live in a fallen world and to think any different, one has to walk the planet blind. Every single person needs Jesus and the continual sanctification that only comes from a relationship with the Father. This human condition shows up in every country regardless of its state of development.
Our day started off at Services sitting through a “committee” meeting. This was a long meeting where every single person needed their time on the stand. Everybody wants to be involved and everybody wants a piece of the action or at least their sticker/branding on the action. They wanted distribution to happen at the Services camp and not out in the field. BUT, this is why I love WHI…they listen patiently, then go back to the field to get the work done. The people in need are more important then making a committee happy. Context right? We always have to remember context. This country works differently than ours and change is never dictated, but modeled. Saidu and his team “model” leadership and compassion!

From here we went to the field with another NGO to distribute water filters to households in need. This was a far different experience than traveling with people under Saidu’s leadership. Not necessarily bad just different. The group we traveled with were far less organized and allowed outside influence to alter the plan of distribution. In the end, through heated conversations we got out in field.

In the field our first experience was walking up on a body being pulled from the river. Considering we are almost 2 weeks past the disaster it was good we did not see details. It is simply a painful reminder to the community they lost so many family and friends. As a side note, out of respect we took no photos of this location. From there we went climbing in and around the very rocky surroundings of the river basin. We went from house to house training families on how to use and clean the water filters. This is a rewarding experience when you see a family with a look of astonishment on their face when you convert tainted river water to pure drinking water. Understand, they believe the water from the river is untouchable due to the decomposing bodies. We hiked in approximately 1.5 miles, then back out through some intense trails by our standard.  

From there were picked up by Saidu, had dinner, and enjoyed the very efficient traffic of Freetown. Honestly, I would prefer to live in a nice quiet farming village, rather than anywhere close to this traffic:)

This was a day of contrast. People were helped, they have clean water. But this is the contrast of great leadership and… I don’t know the leadership of the people we traveled with today, but I do know the “fruit” was far different. World Hope International, Saidu’s leadership in Sierra Leone, their people, and their compassion are what makes a huge difference. I am so thankful they are Jesus following people who simply want to serve their communities and demonstrate the Father’s love!

Blessings From Sierra Leone…we are coming home tomorrow. Please pray for safe and on time flights home!

Scott

Building and Breaking

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When we are put in the midst of uncertain circumstances, surroundings, and future, real personal and spiritual growth will happen if you stay flexible.  Danielle and I were having breakfast with some amazing neighbors and friends this morning.   We were sharing stories of growing up, life as adults, and general conversation about all things family. Our friend who happens to be a talented artist, among other things, was explaining some of the process of painting with an oil medium.  The end result comes through sequences of building up  and breaking it down.  Through many iterations the end result is often not the vision you started with.  The story of my life…

We live in a world where we want continuous “building”, something I am completely guilty of.  We want consistent job promotions and salary raises.  We want to move from a small house, to medium house, to our large forever house.  We want a slow and steady growth into the promise land. Unfortunately, we have this utopian picture in our head of what life should give us and when we hit a breaking point, we have no idea what to do with it.  This life is not utopia, there are struggles, there is loss, and there is an incredible amount of breaking that occurs.  That may sound like bad news, but when your perspective shifts…it can be the most freeing and motivating experience of your life.

I am going to keep this simple.  We were made for a purpose; to shine our light and introduce the world to the love of Jesus.  That truly is our only job.  Now it looks different for each one of us; because, we all have different occupations and paths the Lord has led us down.  But one thing remains the same, we need to shine!  What would our witness look like if we all lived a perfect utopian life, with no challenges?  It would be worthless and ineffective.   Furthermore, what kind of knowledge would we have if all we ever did was win (build)?  One-dimensional and shallow.  So, we walk through life being built up and experiencing breaking points, but it makes us better, stronger, more relatable, and most importantly, more reliant on the Artist.  And just like the oil painting that was built up and broken down…all of the layers come together to form a beautiful masterpiece with dimension.  A masterpiece that was created for a purpose, a purpose greater and more significant than you will ever know.

So, we shift our perspective.  We embrace the broken state fully, knowing that God is building us up, layer upon layer, to eventually expose His perfectly imperfect masterpiece that has been made righteous through the ultimate sacrifice…Jesus. Embrace and enjoy the periods of building, but also embrace and rest in His peace through periods of breaking.  It is good; we are being equipped and we will come out on the other side shining bright with the love of Jesus.

building and breaking…building and breaking…building and breaking…we are God’s masterpiece.  In the end we will look back at the process, only to be amazed at the beautiful piece of priceless art which we have become.

Blessings through the building up and the breaking down,

Scott

A Father’s Heart

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I started this morning out like any other morning in my life, at least now that we have another puppy.  I got out of bed due to the annoying whining and barking of Xander in his crate and the weight of Zoe’s head on my arm at the side of the bed staring at me until I open my eyes. Both were signs the dogs were starving to death and could not make it one more second without food.  Side note, if you ever want to feel needed, valuable, and have the weight of life itself on your shoulders, then get a Golden Retriever:).  Seriously, from the time I woke up this morning, I could not get out of my head, “pursue the Father’s heart”.

I Read

I was reading in 1 Samuel, specifically chapters 1-3.  Hannah, one of two wives of Elkanah was in deep pain because she could not conceive a child.  I bring up the fact she was one of two wives, because Peninnah the other wife, would make it her goal to ridicule Hannah for her inability to have children.  Through the tribulation of sharing her husband and being ridiculed by her competition, Hannah only grew more desperate; instead of seeking earthly knowledge she humbled herself and sought the Father’s heart. She prayed and pursued God in her need, she committed any future child to the service of God…and the Father honored her humble and hurt heart.  He gave her Samuel and many other children.

Then there was Eli the priest whose sons followed in their father’s footsteps as priests themselves.  The son’s were unruly, selfish, used their positions for personal gain and really had no desire to give up anything to serve God.  God spoke to Eli, brought his sons transgressions to light and gave Eli the opportunity to step up and take care of the issue. But, unfortunately for Eli he chose the path of a gutless leader who steered clear of confrontation.  That would be his family’s downfall.

Two diametrically different people. One humble woman who sought the heart of God and spoke wisdom, “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3). A visible and public leader who looked out for his family’s wants to the detriment of the people he was leading and their relationship with the Father.

I Ran

As I was running these verses and this comparison was going through my head.  I thought, how is it that the world we live in for the most part simply cannot grasp the fact Hannah’s model of leadership is what will draw us closer to Jesus, who will provide the riches of His Father’s Kingdom?  And that is when I was smacked in the face with my own issues, my own selfishness, my own sin.  Then this reality hits me:  we cannot lead like Hannah, or like Jesus, if we ever take our eyes off of our own shortcomings.  I am weak, I deserve the last seat at the table and if I ever lose that perspective and allow my eyes to focus on other’s issues, then that is the day I become like Eli and lose my effectiveness.

The way to the Father’s Heart is through brokenness, through humbling ourselves and recognizing we are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing apart from Him who gives us wisdom and strength.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.  For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them He has set the world.  He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.  It is not by strength that one prevails” (1 Samuel 2:8-9).

 

Pursue His Heart,

Scott