By Matthew Hanks | Project Manager: Africa
As a child of the ‘80’s, I hope the word ‘rad’ makes a comeback. Because really, what else do you say to describe something when ‘cool’ doesn’t suffice? Other generations have attempted to supply an adjective to one-up the word ‘cool’ but have come short. ‘Dope’ came close in the ‘90’s and… well, honestly, I kind of lost track after that. So the question is, what makes the church outside of the US ‘rad’? Is it because they’re 30 plus years behind us in so many other areas that maybe they’re just now catching on to the term? No. Or is it that they’re rad because they’re such great hosts for short-term mission trips? Well, that’s true and rad. Or maybe because they do so much to take care of orphans? Definitely rad!
Many of us can only see the majority world church as ‘rad’ as a synonym for ‘cool’. But what I’d like to talk about is the entire word ‘radical’, recently brought back in part (well, rather in full) by David Platt. In his book by the name Radical, Platt has resurrected this word to describe a Christianity that will challenge our comfortable, compartmentalized, and cynical Christianity that is found in so many churches across America. Platt describes, and calls us back to, a Christianity much like the one we read about in the book of Acts.
Working in the Projects Department at World Orphans, I make the first edits to the quarterly reports that we receive from our international church partners throughout Africa. Each quarter I’m confronted by how small my faith is when I feel the need to ‘normalize’ the content of the reports I’m formatting for our US partners who will be reading them. I’m embarrassed by the skepticism and shock that comes up in me when I read some of these reports. If I were an English teacher grading these I’d have to challenge them for plagiarizing straight out of Bible! Realizing miracles of biblical proportion continue happening in our day and time is astounding to me, but with the main character of the story (the Holy Spirit) being the same then as now, I don’t know why I’m surprised by the consistency of these themes.
Read these 5 excerpts from our international church partner reports and see how the Kingdom of God continues to advance today as in the days of the early church!
(1) Victory Over Spiritual Warfare
“Binyam Tesfaye (name changed for child protection) is a child in our program whose mother suffered from spiritual warfare and became out of control for some time. During that season, Binyam was not going to school fearing that his mother might die. She had been prayed for and became free from the spiritual dominion.
This reminds me of a verse in Acts: “This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And instantly it left her” (Acts 16:18).
“Things in the community have completely changed… Hatred, insults, mocking, rejection and all sorts of satanic activities against the church were facts of daily life for us, but are now a thing of the past.”
Here these words from the book of Peter “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it” (1 Peter 3:9).
(3) Vision for Evangelism
“Can you also pray for us in the area of soul winning? Our target for 2015 is 400 souls. We are trusting God for a young, active man for Evangelism. We pray that God will raise sons and daughters for this ministry.”
This one reminds me of one of my favorite chapters from 2 Corinthians… “Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others… Christ’s love controls us… [to] this task of reconciling people to him… So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God” (parts of 2 Corinthians 5:11-20).
“The members of Leku Keta KHC church had a get together with Leku Keta Mulu Wengel Church members, which is located in the same neighborhood but is a completely different denomination, in order to celebrate what God has done for both churches through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. The fellowship of these two churches from different denominations will open a very big opportunity to outreach to the Leku Keta area and beyond and to expand the Kingdom of the God; a selfless act that will bring a smile to God’s face.”
Reminiscent of Philippians chapter two? “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose” (Philippians 2:2).
(5) Selfless Sacrifice
“…A paraplegic granny who cares for 6 orphaned children (two of her daughters had become victims of AIDS, leaving her their children) is assisted with food baskets and education for the children.”
An example of this familiar proverb in action: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
When I read these reports, only one word comes to mind: Radical.
May we be inspired by the faithfulness of our brothers and sisters around the world, being quick to pray for them and also to follow their lead in advancing the Kingdom of our Lord.
Comment below and share some radical ways you’re seeing God at work around the world.