“How else would you rather live than to have it hurt when you leave someplace?”
That quote could, in all actually, describe the rest of my life. In less than 48 hours I will be getting on a plane destined for San Diego, CA and I will be setting off on the wildest 5 month adventure my young life has seen yet. I will be getting ready to devote every second of every day to ending a war that terrorized Central Africa for 26 years and for every moment I am working, I will be directly affecting the world’s slavery count. I know that it is where I am suppose to be, but I can’t help but think about my friends going back to Fayetteville in two weeks. They will move back and get settled in their dorms, or apartments, and start back with school and I will not. And I didn’t realize the weight of leaving, until today. I was sitting in Starbucks working on the pre-arrival assignments for Invisible Children when it hit me… I’m not going back, I’m really not going back. The longevity of that truth struck me hard and left me with not just a broken heart, but a crushed heart. I haven’t realized how attached my heart was to Fayetteville and the people there until just about three hours ago. It grieves my soul that I won’t be going back and that I won’t get to further invest in the incredible relationships I have been able, by the grace of God, to establish. For years I have read Paul’s words in his letters to the churches and skipped over his desperate plea to return to them, because I never understood the pain of leaving a place and a people that you love so much.
This last week I had the privilege to go to Passion 2012 in Atlanta, GA. It was an incredible four days. 45,000 students gathered to proclaim justice in the name of Jesus all around the world who are stuck in slavery. I had heard many of the statistics before but never have I so deeply felt a need for justice as I did in those four days. And as I sat in the seats next to my fellow world-changers, I became increasingly humbled throughout the conference because Jesus was allowing me to be involved in His great heart for justice next semester with IC. There was one day when we sang a song that said, “Your love never fails, it never gives up on me. You never give up on me” and the words after those were, “On and on and on and on it goes, it overwhelms and overcomes my soul. I’ll never, ever, have to be afraid, because one thing remains.” In those moments I saw the faces of the people who I will meet one day in Heaven, who will come up to me and tell me how because of my involvement with Invisible Children, they weren’t abducted by the LRA and allowed a chance to live and to accept Jesus. I saw them, I saw their eyes and their mouths and their souls. And just as I felt like my heart had had too much, Jesus gave me the precious gift of confirming my choice to leave Fayetteville to work with IC by sending His servant, Christine Caine to speak. She talked about justice and how it is one with evangelism, about our need to act, and about a desperate and unshakable hope in the redeeming blood of Jesus. Over those 30 minutes, God confirmed so much for me. I know without any doubt that I am going where He is leading me. I am so humbled to be a small part of fighting injustice, and this amazing chance to pursue God’s heart. Because I realized something this week, those child soldiers that we’re advocating for, they are part of the total of the 27 million slaves in this world. It’s time for me to act.
But even with that beautiful and vital confirmation, I still have a deep longing to go back to Fayetteville. It hurts me to think about my friends moving on and about not being with the people I’ve got to share Christ with and so on and so forth. But this is good. I need to hurt, I need to mourn, I need to grieve. If I’m living the way that Jesus desires for us to live, then doesn’t it make all of the sense in the world to have pain when we leave a place?
So with that being said I am more than excited for this journey and beg each of you to pray for my team and I as we promote justice and desperately plea with the youth of America to open their eyes. Please pray for me to love and to give and to walk in justice and truth by the power of the Holy Spirit, every step of the way. Although my heart will mourn leaving Fayetteville, I am confident by God’s grace that I will get to return to those people I love soon. I will come back to the UofA and continue in my prayer to reach the students for Christ and to see great revival on that campus (and I’m continuing to pray for that hard, even in my absence).
These next five months are going to be crazy and many people have asked me if I’ll be blogging or not and the answer to that is yes, but in a different form and fashion. I will be blogging once a month. Each month I will be sending an update to supporters and friends via email about what is going on (if you’d like to receive that update just shoot me your email address on Facebook or Twitter) and I will be also be writing a blog. So please be on the lookout for the updates so that you can continue to labor with me and for me in prayer. I covet each and every one of your prayers, my friends.
On the second night of Passion, Hillsong United played a concert. I had never seen them live before so I had no idea what to except. The last song they sang was called, “With Everything” and what happened during those 10 minutes or so was nothing short of divine. I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit like I never have before as I screamed out the anthem of our generation. “With everything, we will shout for you glory. With everything, we will shout for you praise.” I danced and cried and shouted to Heaven the words of complete and utter surrender. The place was literally shaking from the 45,000 voices rising in unison. I will never forget the declaration we made in those moments. I will never forget the cry… Freedom.
And with that being said, the next months my blogs will be on a consistent theme of “with (fill in the blank),”. Each one highlighting what I am learning and how I am growing by being on the road and fighting justice on a daily basis.
Although my heart is mourning leaving Fayetteville, it is eagerly looking forward to the journey ahead of me and I stand by God’s beautiful promise:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall cry, and He will say, “Here I am.” If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking of wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
With everything, hallelujah.