I’m amazed. Some days I wake up, totally inspired and other days… I wish I could stay in bed and watch never ending episodes of Parenthood or something. (Just being honest)
Today was one of those days. I woke up and the cloudy, rainy sky seemed like a perfect recipe for a hot tea and PJ day, but unfortunately I knew that wasn’t an option.
“Find the motivation, Cass. Just go on and find….the…motivation.”
My self-talk gives me nothing.
So I open up the news reports to remember why some days are spent behind a computer. “Child soldiers in Central African Republic more than doubled, says charity”
Excuse me!? DOUBLED?! “Up to 10,000 boys and girls are now fighting….”
That’s a lot.
But truthfully, when we hear big numbers in the hundreds or thousands, our minds seems to graze, so I try and personalize.
I think of the first child soldier I ever saw.
It was in Congo many years ago, and when I think about, he probably wasn’t the first. But his it’s tender eyes that are still stuck in my brain, so he was obviously the one who made the biggest impact.
I first saw him from behind and even from that, he looked like a little boy. He was small in stature and his frame looked fragile. He had a Kalashnikov hanging between his shoulder blades. I stared at him for a little bit squinting, trying hard to guess his age. He had army pants on but just a tattered shirt and flip flops to complete his “uniform.” He was also wearing a baseball hat that he had pulled down low on his brow.
I called out trying to get his attention “Jambo!” he turned to my Swahili greeting and looked shocked to see the blonde girl walking over to greet him. At first he seemed shy and sweet. Fighting a smile, his eyes were curious and I tried to open up a conversation. No more than a sentence in though and his commander came up and he dodged off like a scared puppy.
I was shocked. After a small and harmless chat with his superior, my team and I walked away back to our house. “He looked SO YOUNG.” I kept repeating. I couldn’t believe it. A baby and really big gun. That sucks.
Since then, I’ve seen a lot of boys with AK’s slung on their backs. Our sons have a similar past and now laugh at the times they fought for food. (Though it’s never really funny)
A lot of our projects begin with moments like this. A broken heart to a global injustice. THIS ISN’T RIGHT. We process it and chew on it, sometimes minutes, sometimes months. “Jesus, what’s your strategy!?” and then 9x out of 10… a random idea feels like it’s whispered through the airwaves into our hearts. And it fits.
I remember walking down the dusty streets of Goma town (where we’re based in Congo) and I was mad. We had just received more reports of increased abductions of children from our village and I was angry. Bouncing ideas back and forth- talking to Jesus, talking to my other leaders, avoiding the pot holes and trash heaps and then back to open dialogue, we all somehow stumbled across a verbal processing of our entire Freedom Boys program. Relocation. Sponsorship. Foster Housing. Mentoring. Education. That’s it! Somehow simple.
It took us at least a year of walking it out and it’s still not like we’ve figured out a “magic formula,” but our boys are happy, healthy, safe and all in all—doing really well.
Sooo why the ramblings today? I guess because it’s not rocket science. Maybe to some people, but I’m not a scientist. And I want to motivate others to start asking questions, start letting your dreams get the better of you and go after the thing that scares you. It doesn’t have to be rescuing child soldier. Our team just believes in who God says he is and believes he can really, really use our “yes”. Is there something that’s frustrating you? An inequality, prejudice or discrimination? There’s a beauty in passion and love, and letting it bubble up into activation that throws us into the seas of injustice. (That was a mouthful. haha)
Nevertheless. What are some projects you’ve been dreaming up and what would you say is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome to accomplish them?
(Feel free to start a dialogue in the comment section below!)