I am currently reading Follow Me to Freedom a great book written by Shane Claiborne and John M. Perkins. I am reading this in a time of some rest and a lot of reflection. Liz and I have fairly well settled back into American culture even though we realize at least this time around that we are only guests and will soon be returning to the culture of Tanzania. We are also staying busy traveling and sharing what Grassroots Ministry and Angel House are up to. However, these few months will also provide space for reflection, vision casting, and dreaming. Of looking around at a nation that has a lot and wondering how much of this do we really want to bring to Africa, even if we had all the resources we wanted (which we don’t).
One of the challenges given in the book, which I am still working through, is that leaders have to have a vision and that you cannot expect people to follow a leader with no vision of where God is leading. Incidentally this is a great time for us to clarify more what the vision we hold for Grassroots is in regards to our personal roles. My vision is to teach our kids that they don’t have to live in fear of the world because there is nothing in this world that Christians should truly fear. I do not think we will ever be able to create a world without threats of danger, at least not soon, but we can give them the education, confidence, and spiritual grounding to help them enter the world without fear. Most if not all of our kids were taught early on to fear. They were taught to fear abuse, hunger, and the absence of affection or acceptance. They learned to look around and fear what they were likely to face as adults based on the great struggles of the people they lived with.
Fear is their default setting as it is the default setting of many people in this country as we are often faced with the shock of the very disasters and sense of mortality that we try to insulate ourselves from. We want to start with providing a safe and loving environment for the kids of Angel House, a place where they can experience, possibly for the first time in their lives, an absence of fear because in order to understand what it means to not fear you have to experience a time of comfort without fear. There is also a confidence and hope found in faith that I pray our kids find. It is not something that can be given to them by me, but I can extend an open hand that can guide them to that place; a place where they learn to rest in the one that can truly expel their fears and protect them in the future.
In the end we hope that our kids grow into adults who are ready to lead their communities, who can enter the world with the confidence and daring needed to bring new ideas to their culture. We have kids who understand what it is to fear and suffer and because of that have great compassion. They have the capacity and I hope that maybe in them can exist a world without fear, a world that can grow as they grow and spread as they reach out into the world with God in their corner and the memory of a safe place securely in their minds.