Hearing and doing

I know a college student who went extreme. After countless lessons on faith in action he left the country.

First to South Africa and Mozambique, where he spent his summer playing soccer and sharing Christ. Several young men came to faith during his visit, but after he left (to attend Moody Bible Institute in the fall), the local Muslims killed them. My friend grieved for months.

The next summer he went to Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR). If you’ve followed Sudan in the news you know what he saw there. He saw even more in the CAR when they tossed him into prison, expecting a plump ransom. Prayer exploded on his behalf and they released him without torture. Back to Moody for year two.

His third summer was spent traveling Israel, Egypt, and other nearby places, followed by a third year at Moody.

Then, last summer, he went to Bangladesh. This time he was there under the auspices of Wycliffe, documenting unreached language groups. (There are 40+ language groups in Bangladesh; 30 unreached.) While traveling the countryside he heard about a refugee camp. It seems the government of Myanmar (Burma), neighbor to Bangladesh and one of the most repressive and abusive regimes in the world, was persecuting an ethnic group so aggressively they fled across the border.

My friend found the refugee camp and spent a very long day mixing with its 22,000 hopeless inhabitants. They live under tarps. The kind you toss over firewood piles. The photographs he took are the variety that re-calibrate the “Lord, I need this” part of your prayer life.

Later that week, floating downriver in a small boat, he wondered “what all those smokestacks were about.” Brick kilns. Serviced by men who live just this side of slavery.

The ones under the umbrellas are their “owners” who pass the time regarding their workers carefully.

Our friend is finishing his time at Moody. He has strong motivation to learn and rigorous ideas for applying his education once finished. He agonizes over the lostness of man, and wrestles with God in the tradition of Abraham and Moses. Fertile soil for a Moody education if you ask me.

Here’s a thought: the next time you learn of a student doing, see if you can work his or her stories into what the rest of your church is hearing.