Tonight I went to a fundraiser for a campaign that Youth With A Mission is doing in Grandview MO this upcoming fall. Mark Anderson is one of my hero’s in the missions movement and I was so excited to hear him speak. Also I was excited for the desserts. Just being honest.
I was expecting a night of vision casting, lots of details, ramped up emotions and to leave full of sugar and excitement for this plan to take off! I was not expecting a swarm of conviction. A card sitting in front of me on the table, accusing me with it’s gentle color’s and bold font “What is it worth to you?” . Hearing the plan for my city and finding in my heart there was little to no excitement, and instead a significant amount of reluctance, knowing just how much would be required of me. And not sure I wanted to give it.
You see I feel, a whole lot, about the youth of the “Nations”. I have a significant amount of emotion related to the “youth of THIS Nation”. But when Mark Anderson himself talks about the first season of his marriage including lots of young adults living in his apartment because they’d gotten saved and kicked out of their homes….. I suddenly don’t like it. I like the idea of kids living in my home …. when it’s an apartment somewhere in another country and not my actual little living room. I’m in near daily struggles with my housemates over my desire for our shared living spaces to be kept cleaned and uncluttered. Add 4 young adults to the mix, all of us sharing one bathroom, and I don’t like it. Not when it’s this house. Not when it’s this bathroom. Not when it’s in America and not my dream world as a real missionary in some other country.
This talk about preparing my home to be a disciplining center by the fall? I didn’t really like the sound of that either. Add into that my need to be evangelizing my neighbors, yeah, that struck a nerve too. Trust me I noticed my growing dread and was concerned. Right about the time when I was wondering if I am saved Mark made a statement about “the Church that doesn’t share the gospel” and their need to actually get saved. That struck a different nerve.
Then he told a story about Brazil and a tour that he didn’t want to do there. Long story short he finds himself convinced by the Lord and one passionate 23 yr. old intern, in the city to meet with the Pastor asking for World Impact to come. All of the plans had fallen through; the money, church backing, and venue. The pastor was discouraged and Mark couldn’t understand WHAT he was doing there and what God wanted to do, until that night. He & the intern were pacing their hotel room praying and as the sun set he stopped at the window of their 12th floor room to look down on the city.
On the sidewalk below he noticed many children (typical for latin america) but quickly saw that something was different. Instead of boisterous laughter and the scampering play that he should have seen in a group of children still outside at sunset, they were all standing, with a few feet between them on the sidewalk. Little boys and little girls. Cars began to pull up and one by one take them away. Some of the cars just stayed there. Little boys and little girls in open forced prostitution. “My heart broke and suddenly I knew why God wanted us there, it was about them. It was about the youth.”
I cried for a minute right there over my hard heart, and for that minute I could hear nothing but Mark’s voice saying that, “it was about them”. Card on the table staring me in the face “What’s it worth to you?”. One of the other youth leaders and I spent a moment praying together and discussed it on the way home. She empathized with my emotions and we talked a little of the conviction we felt and our renewed commitment to the youth of this city.
Less than ten minutes after walking through the front door my phone rang. Both of my parents were on the phone and my father was quick to assure me that they were ok. But my mentors were not. A couple who I consider spiritual parents back home live in a very bad part of town. This afternoon around 3pm Mike got home, walked into the kitchen and noticed someone in his driveway waving for him to come outside and calling for a cell phone. Seeing someone on the ground he thought they’d fallen in the ice and quickly ran outside to find a 14 year old boy, shot in the head and stomach, lying in his driveway. Mike put his hand on the boy’s chest, and right there he died.
Mike and Lucy have three children, 16, 14 & 12. I’m so thankful that Lucy and the kids weren’t home this afternoon, but at 10pm Mike still had not been able to leave the house and his responses to my messages were full of pain. They are intercessor’s, saints, friends of God and full of compassion. I hate the thought of how he will not sleep tonight, and the fear that Lucy is going to fight for their children.
I tell you, sometimes the only weapons we have to fight with are tears. And they wage a strong kind of warfare! It is time to stop longing for the nations and ignoring my neighbors. That You would have a bride out of every tribe and tongue, even my own Lord. Watching one of the WIT video’s tonight I heard a latino woman say “I can not thank you for what you have done, what you have brought to my people.” My people, I thought, Lord I hardly have a thought for my people. Father make Americans my people. More than Latino’s, more than Romanian’s, make American’s my people.
Tonight I made a cake. While praying for my friends and crying for that 14 year old boy who is now before the Judgement seat I whipped up some cream cheese frosting. Before going to bed I covered it in red sprinkles, because sprinkles are just a little bit more happy than plain icing, and tomorrow morning I’m going to need something happy. Yup, I’ll probably eat that cake for breakfast on a fasting day.
Tonight I am not armed with eloquent intercession. Tonight I come before the throne of Grace with only gentle tears to offer. Come and move on behalf of my people Lord, send Revival to America, send Revival to Omaha, send Revival to Glenwood, send Revival to California, and send revival to South Kansas City. And send Revival to my own heart.