In the last two weeks, there have been a series of events which has really impacted my world. All of these events involve people dying…and before you get immediately turned off or think “I can’t take a heavy story right now!”…read a little farther.
One of the people who passed away is one of five individuals in my lifetime who altered the very course I was traveling. This man changed my life in a great way and increased my vision of what “could be” at least 100 fold! A man of God who had come to Jesus through absolute destitution. On his own, he had built a great life (so he thought) and then lost it all to his own vices. And from the ashes of a torched life, he found Christ…and through Christ, what was built has impacted and helped thousands of people. He was overcome by cancer that no one knew was present and from the time he was diagnosed to the time he went to be with Jesus was only a week. I’m not even sure what it will look like to grieve for him except to also know that his legacy lives on in much of the work WonGeneration does!
The second event involved the untimely loss of a family. Strong believers, youth leaders, and from what I know from those who do know them well, they were fantastic people. And, through no cause of their own, they were driving under an overpass in which a construction project was occurring above. And a large, cement, Jersey barrier fell from above and crushed their truck…so much so that emergency workers could not even identify how many was in the truck.
The loss was a complete family…a loving father, a loving mother, and a young child. The whole community continues to be in shock as they grieve in their own ways to such a bizarre event. It is amazing, however, how much good also comes from such tragedy. Churches are coming together to mourn together, the community is pulling together and the story of this young family is being told…not just of how they were lost, but more importantly, how they lived! People are being moved to action because of the lives of a family that were “doers of the Word” and not just “hearers.”
Lastly, an event occurred which is almost too raw for me personally to write about just yet. In fact it comes from an arena that touches me deeply and the effect for me is lasting…
Recently, WonGeneration released a video “What is WonGeneration” and we talk within the video of one of the ministries in which we are involved. Lighthouse in Action works in Thailand to reduce human trafficking and rescue sex workers. “Rescuing” is a complex issue and I won’t go into all of that in this space but it was driven home how important it is when news reached me of the discovery a sex worker in a hotel room…she was found dead in the morning…and my heart breaks because this was a girl that was being reached out to…this was a girl who was beginning the path towards moving away from the bars (prostitution), this was a girl who was on the verge of being rescued…and now she is lost.
I honestly can’t write those words without feeling crushed inside…
In 2009, while visiting Thailand, I met an incredible woman, Emmi, who was reaching out to those who many found too difficult to love. She was one of the stories which so impacted me as to start the direction of creating WonGeneration. She has a heart for the girls in the bars that is larger I think than the state of Texas…and this was one of her girls…she was reaching out…
I know this is heavy stuff….it isn’t light and funny and filled with cats knocking things off of tables…it is filled with the harsh realities that there are people in very, very difficult circumstances, there are those who love them in the name of Jesus, and the realities are that we need more people loving!
Since the release of the video, I have been asked about the “why” of starting WonGeneration. WonGeneration was started because of people like Emmi who had a great heart for others but needed more help to reach out to where God was leading her. She needed people who shared her vision, people to help her navigate the difficult waters that will flow against someone trying to do Kingdom work in a fallen world. She needed people to ask hard questions but then not be afraid of hard answers either…willing to stand in the gap and reach toward the lost and broken of this world, with the hope and prayer of bringing them to the great Healer.
It is important that we are not overwhelmed by tragedy but instead allow tragedy to remind us this is not heaven and there are things we can do. In the midst of our own grieving, can we recognize the calling of the Spirit within who grieves with us but also helps us to see the path that God is calling His children!
This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to drop everything and race to Thailand but it does mean we need to be open to whatever God is calling us towards.
Everybody can do something…we say it often and we truly mean it!
So while there is still pain inside over the losses, there is hope…
Hope that in the future, we can support more girls so it is easier to get them away from the bars, support more children so they are not sent to the bars by their parents (you read that right) but instead can get an education and find a better way (including Jesus!), and hope that people continue to be moved to follow the voice of the Spirit within!
Just last night, while in a conversation with a friend of mine that I had not talked with in a few years, I was so encouraged that we are on the right path! He was telling me a story of a friend of theirs who was suffering from cancer and more so from the price they needed to pay for some of their care which is not covered under insurance. So they had created this amazing and crazy “race” and had each of their sons lead a team to complete this bizarre race…each member of the team had to get sponsorships so this was a fundraising event. It was an incredibly long day of over 40 miles on foot, through mixed terrain and included at least one river crossing! The groups came in very late at night to very early in the morning…a lot of tired, a lot of story, and something even more…
My friend thought long and hard about this “race” and realized that they need to continue to do this now…for other families that are facing similar circumstances…I love it!
Out of very dire events…cancer…and idea is born! An idea that if helped along, will demonstrate the love of Christ to who knows how many future families!
And out of the loss of an incredible young lady in Thailand, we pray that many more will be saved…we are believing that God is about to provide a way…and we are reminded, this is not heaven, it is a fallen world overseen still by an amazing God who loves us, leads us, and yearns for us to be more like His son!
And we believe…everybody can do something…will you help?