Recharging (or charging for the first time . . .)

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I’m writing this while sitting in an airport 5,000 miles from the kids in Brazil. Though there are ample reasons to be home—plenty of chores, a grandson on the way in the next few weeks, taxes (although, to be honest, I tend to be more of the spectator as my wife crunches numbers), and always, always, so much that needs to be done for Hope.
But I need to be in Brazil.
I find my passions for changing the lives of these kids not growing cold, but at least ebbing. I need to see the need.  I need to hear the laughter.  I need to encounter another story of a young life transformed. Batteries seriously need to be recharged.
Three days later:  I am driving to the mall, the car full of older teenage girls from our graduate home. They are dressed in their Sunday best; church is on the schedule following an afternoon matinee at the cinema.  They spontaneously break into a song of praise, lifting my spirits as their songs reverberate in the packed car.  In the past 24 hours … I have been in a filthy slum, trying to help meet the needs of a mentally ill mother with four precious children; watched 200 children at the City of Youth worship in a much livelier manner than this starched Southerner usually experiences; seen a group of American teenagers bond on a soccer field with children whose lives they can never fully understand; and met a couple from Hawaii who tell me that God told them to come here, to help us care for the kids.
Batteries recharged, passions reignited.
But what happens a month from now, six months if my schedule prevents a quick return trip?
Am I empty again, with these kids just nameless orphans?
I think there are a couple of lessons here.  One, go DO missions. It will change your life. Move out of your comfort zone, encounter a new reality, minister to those beyond.  Get dirty.  It will change your life.  People who live out their faith by consistently ministering to the least of these find that, as they go to transform, they are transformed.
Perhaps a different approach is also requisite.  There are needs around us everywhere, not just 5,000 miles away.  People who are hurting, who need to know the Father’s love.  What if I awaken each morning to a mission field, still very passionate about these kids, but living out mission every day no matter where I am?
Can my batteries stay charged?  I’m ready to find out.

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