The locusts of everyday violence have been allowed to swarm unabated in the developing world. And they are laying waste to the hope of the poor. – Gary Haugen and Victor BoutrosContinue Reading ›
German moved completely away from God, but God did not draw away from him. One day, when German was 19, things dramatically changed.Continue Reading ›
In our positions as priests, servants, or soldiers in the army of God, we can protect our children from the reality of violence, poverty, and abuse — if we have the presence of God with us.
Recife is a beautiful city in northeastern Brazil. Known as the “Brazilian Venice,” it was founded in 1537 by the Portuguese and was greatly influenced by the Jews and Dutch. The Atlantic Ocean bathes its beautiful beaches, and the temperature can exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Foreigners and Brazilians go to Recife to travel and to rest. But hidden behind the great avenues and beautiful places is another Recife: the Recife of violence and drugs, with broken families because of the troubles that drugs bring together; the Recife of gunfire that scares children and kills innocents.
“I still have no emotional structure to even listen to fireworks,” says Adriana, director of Centro de Desenvolvimento Integral Vida 1, which lost an employee to murder last year, a victim of a gang war. “There was so much shooting, so much shooting!”
The employee’s name was Alexandre, and he was killed as he was leaving the center to exchange a crate of soda. A drug dealer suddenly grabbed Alexandre and to protect himself from gunfire coming from another drug dealer. It was urban warfare, and an innocent died.
Inside the center, the children could hear the shooting and were scared and started crying. They lay on the floor in fear after the gunfire began.
“It was a terrible time. It was difficult to explain to the children that God was in control. We lost a friend. Alexandre was loved by the children.”
If losing a beloved teacher is traumatic, imagine when a child sees his mother being arrested by the police?
In a perfect world, here’s how the process would work:
A middle-aged woman was riding her motorbike roaming the streets of Nongki village. Everything about her appearance looked ordinary and did not illicit any suspicions. She looked around. Suddenly, her eyes fixed on one small house near a barren farmland.
The woman drove to the house and greeted the young girl who was sitting at the front of the house alone. She asked the young girl questions that are typically asked among the people in this area.
“Do you want a new cell phone?” “Do you want to live in a bigger and nicer house?”
The young girl was surprised by the lady’s questions and remained silent.
“If you are interested in these things, I can give them all to you. All you have to do is come work with me. You will earn a lot of money so that you can have pretty clothes to wear and you will have a nice car to drive. It is a very easy job. C’mon. Trust me and come with me.”
“No, thank you,” replied the young girl, Supattra, a 14-year-old Compassion-assisted child. This situation is repeated over and over.
Remember when I told you about my new job? I’ve been doing it for several months now and so I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good grip on things. Well … as good a grip as one can have on a job that depends entirely on world events. And oh my word, the world has been eventful lately, hasn’t it?
One of the first things I do each day when I get to work is open up six world news websites. I browse each site for headlines about our 24 field countries to get an idea of what kind of crises I might be reporting that week.
When I’m reading through the headlines, I sometimes get the surreal feeling that I’m getting a tiny glimpse into God’s view of this world. For a few moments, my perspective shifts from my self-centered, ego-centric worldview to one where we are simply a severely broken and hurting creation in desperate need of redemption.
Right now in the United States, we are practically smothered with political ads and news reports about the faltering economy, but really these “issues” pale in comparison to what’s going on in the rest of the world.
Besides the global food crisis (which you’ve probably heard about by now) here’s an idea of what our staff and children on the other side of the globe are currently facing:
- Thailand and Bolivia are both dealing with political unrest and violent protests of the current government.
- Haiti and the Dominican Republic are struggling to recover from four successive hurricanes.
- The Philippines has faced violent political conflict.
- Burkina Faso has recently had heavy rains and flooding throughout the country.
- Bangladesh is dealing with continual flooding.
I’m sure there will be more bullet points to add tomorrow. It’s difficult to read the same kinds of headlines day after day, reporting over and over the non-stop fighting, corruption and scandal happening in every corner of the globe. But more than depressing me, it makes me angry. I know who is ultimately responsible for the evil in this world, and I hate him. But I also know it will end someday, and I know how it will end.
And this is what keeps me going.