Heart and Soul: Comfort Zones
Sometimes itâ€™s good to encounter things that shake you to your core, or take part in an event or go somewhere that takes you right out of your comfort zone. Our personal space gets kind of old and damp, maybe musty-smelling when all we ever encounter is what we always live with.
The other day, someone gave us a movie to watch that was so unsettling, Iâ€™m still not sure what to do about it, but I know that I can never simply go on the way I always do. As I began to watch, I was offended at the vulgarity and language that was used and was ready to turn it off, but then decided that maybe there was something here worth pushing aside all of that for, and decided to find out what the real story was all about.
Now, you need to understand that this little quest was not about any sort of entertainment factor, as I was not moved in that way one tiny little bit, but instead heard that the story is true, and the main character was adequately portrayed as he really was.
That said… the true story began. Sam was a bad dude that found salvation through Jesus Christ when finally becoming desperately in need of change. He was fearless in his rage, and many people paid the price in tangling with it. After many stays in prison, controlled by drugs, and having no hope at all, he made a decision that not only changed his life, but the lives of many others.
After his conversion, being impressed by the stories of a man from North East Africa, he thought it good to go and see what was going on there for himself. What he saw, forever changed him… again. He saw first hand, children that would leave their homes at night to find safe places to sleep, as the terrorists of the area would come and raid the villages at night, killing, raping and dismembering the adults, forcing children to kill their parents so they, themselves could survive, only to be used in ritualistic acts and then forced to fight for them. We could only wish that these stories are fiction, but unfortunately, are not. After seeing the effects of the slaughters that still go on, he was and still is determined to do something about it.
Sam is a builder, so he built an orphanage, thatâ€™s protected by the local freedom fighter armies.
During the first attempt at construction, their compound was destroyed even though they defended themselves against their attackers. Sam rebuilt, and was determined that these children were going to remain safe, and began using old skills learned in the drug trade, to defend them. Sam was also a preacher of sorts and became known as the â€śmachine gun preacherâ€ť, a label he was given because he lived in a war zone, and that was the only way to survive and to be able to protect these children from being stolen and forced to fight in rebel armies.
This past weekend we had a visitor speak in our church, whose daily fight is for those who are forced into the sex-slave trade. She is a small woman with a huge spirit, and regularly faces off with pimps and others who try to gain from such wickedness. She houses children that are recovered, as well as many young women, while she works tirelessly with them, to bring them back to some sort of healing and to find out where theyâ€™re from to re-unite them with family.
With both of these individuals (and Iâ€™m sure so many more like them) they become exasperated with those who really couldnâ€™t give a rip about anything outside of their own little â€śbubbleâ€ť: those who are more concerned about a broken finger nail or someone driving a little slow in front of them in traffic, or how comfortable they need to be even at the expense of someone else. Things were mighty quiet in our church, when our visitor spoke to us about the â€śexcusesâ€ť we come up with about how we really want to help but just canâ€™t because of â€ś…â€ť when the reality is, â€śI just donâ€™t want to be uncomfortable and the price of inconvenience is just too high.â€ť
I hope and pray that we, myself included, would become more like these two individuals who both felt ill-equipped to do the task they were presented with, but instead were so moved with compassion, that to do nothing, wasnâ€™t an option. I often tell people that the most difficult things Iâ€™ve ever done, were the things God asked me to do… Iâ€™ve never done what these two have, but their lives have sure have fanned the flame in me a whole lot more.
I hope that when you hear the â€śstoriesâ€ť of these people, youâ€™ll know that these arenâ€™t fiction; theyâ€™re real people, and this stuff is really happening, and it needs to affect us. God help us if it doesnâ€™t — these people need our help, in a very big way. Please search it out for yourself and see how you can make a difference. Peopleâ€™s lives are depending on it!