Sep 14 2011
Going Where God Lives

Shaun Groves Third World Symphony iTunes-banner-125x1

I hope you've heard Shaun Groves

I don't mean that you've heard his music, though it's outstanding, and has landed him on the cover of the old CCM Magazine and blah blah blah. Or even his incredible new, indie stuff, from "Third World Symphony."  When I say I hope you've heard him, I mean, I hope you've HEARD Shaun Groves.  Really heard him. 

What he has to say, particularly with regard to God's heart for the poor, the marginalized, the weak, and the vulnerable, is wonderful news: for them, and for us.  As Shaun is fond of saying, we are not merely saved "from", we are saved "for", and that's to do the work of the Kingdom.  We GET to do this.  It's way more exciting than a teaching.  It's a mission.

So I hope you've heard Shaun, loud and clear, even if you didn't know he was a big-shot Christian pop star-feller.  Or is.  I don't know, or care.  I'm not sure he does, either. 

He asked some blogger-types to host a "blog-tour" with the release of "Third World Symphony", and to write about a bit of our own engagement with the "third world", and how we saw Jesus at work.  I've written much about this theme, over time, and as I say, what I've seen in developing nations hasn't just changed my mind on things, or how we spend our money, or my mindset on this or that.  It's done much more. 

It's helped me fall in love with God.

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Where God Lives

WRITTEN FROM NAIROBI, KENYA, 2008

(First, before today's blog entry, let me note that I'm typing to the strains of a tuxedo-clad young Kenyan on the piano in our hotel.  I'm sitting in the lobby, and he's regally playing -- of course -- "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille", by Kenny Rogers.  Many things don't translate cross-culturally, but -- make no mistake -- Kenny translates.  Kenny crosses all boundaries)
 
Susan leaned over, from her seat in the van.
 
"Notice where the children are playing -- look out the left window," she said.  Susan knows this area well, she's worked for Compassion for years.
 
They were playing next to a pile of trash that's well over their heads, and seems to stretch for miles.  The stench hit us immediately.
 
"They put all these schools next to the dump.  All of Nairobi dumps its trash here," she said.  Children of Dandora -- another sprawling, Where-the-Streets-Have-No-Name-type slum -- scavenge through the refuse, looking for food, or something to sell.  Anything.
 
We stopped, and
walked in a Dandora Baptist Church, where children at a Compassion project were singing.  Their voices bounced off the walls, singing praises to God.  Then we met about dozen people in the church who are suffering from AIDS.  The whole community is suffering -- every family, one way or the other -- from AIDS. 
 
A young man -- they called him "Timothy" -- stood up to introduce himself to us.
 
We could look out the windows to the right and left as he spoke, and see children in the filth.  We could see dozens of vultures flying directly overhead, over the trash, over the dirt, over the disease-riddled, dark cardboard homes.  Welcome to Dandora.
 
"Welcome to Dandora, where God lives."
 
Where God lives?
 
Circling vultures.  Men, women and children crying out with disease, children searching through stinking trash for anything...where God lives.
 
Timothy has lived his whole life here.  Someone sponsored him through Compassion International, when he was four.  He's now in his twenties.  He's now has a degree in Computer Science.  He now teaches kids in the program about computers.
 
He knows where God lives.  He knows God does not run away from suffering.  He moves closer.  Dandora is suffering, and God gets His mail here.
 
He also teaches the children -- who are where he once was --about the love of God.
 
"I understand the love of God.  I understand how a God, whom I have not seen, can love me.  This is because someone, whom I have not seen, loved me enough to sponsor me.  I understand the love of God."
 
Where God lives.

Comments (6) -

9/14/2011 2:26:41 PM
Deb United States
Deb
Thank you for sharing this! I sponsor 2 little guys from Nicaragua, Brandon & Julio, through World Vision.  Have seen pictures, but never heard the sounds or smelled the smells.  Never seen the despair up close and personal. Don't think i could handle it.  There aren't enough tissues.  Thanks for making this so much more real.  Especially the part about Timothy understanding the love of God now because someone he never met loved him enough to care.  Been thinking about sponsoring another child.  You may have just tipped me over the edge.
9/14/2011 4:11:52 PM
TMZ United States
TMZ
Such an awesome story. I just started sponsoring a child last month and I love that last line about not being seen and the love of God. Can't wait to start communicating with my child!
9/15/2011 7:56:51 AM
Shaun Groves United States
Shaun Groves
Beautiful story, Brant. Thank you for telling it, friend.
9/15/2011 12:02:29 PM
Lynne United States
Lynne
Another testimony -- praise the will of God, I have worked in Mexico City and Mumbai, smelled the smells, seen the smiles and the tears on people's faces. I saw people throw their arms around one another and laugh at a joke, small businesses providing for their customers and for themselves out of small sections of a small tin shack, people waking up in fields of garbage right next door to a 5-star hotel and 30-story office building, people/bikes/motorcycles/cars, busses/trains flowing without any sort of order or reason, yet everyone getting where they needed to go. And felt awe at God's work.
9/17/2011 6:03:18 PM
Mark United States
Mark
Brant,
You tell an amazing story, truthful but, amazing. I want to go so badly. I know someday I will. You have the true heart and the true head of a true Christian. The amazing part of all that is that you speak your mind, with no fear of what people will think. True conviction. Truly working "The Great Commission". You are an inspiration, I hope more and more people "hear" Brant too.

"Dios Es Mi Fuerza"
10/21/2011 9:54:43 PM
Helson Su United States
Helson Su
thanks for the story..
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