One month ago today, as I stood on the Dome floor at Urbana 12 and filled the orange World Vision bag with bars of soap, latex gloves, washcloths, and anti-bacterial cream, I thought about my sister-in-law Rachel.
Working as a doctor in Kenya doing research to care for kids with HIV/AIDS, she sees the faces of weary and hopeless African mothers when they bring their sick children to the clinic. She has to explain to seven-year olds how taking their anti-retroviral medications will help fight the HIV in their small bodies as they excitedly clutch the stickers she’s brought for them.
There are times where all she can do is play the piano out of grief at the pain and seeming hopelessness all around her in Kenya each day.
What was the moment of connection for you at Urbana 12?
I could picture the faces of the children my sister-in-law has worked with for years, feel her sadness at the lack of sufficient medical supplies, like the latex gloves we were packing into the kits.
How Heart Connections Happen
My moment of connection came through serving rather than simply consuming. It is easy (though often sad, of course) to read a blog post about AIDS orphans from a comfortable chair in my home. It is easy to accept compliments on the beaded necklace I’m wearing (handmade by women from Kenya) and feel like I am doing justice. It is easy to jot down my credit card information to give to the Urbana offering and feel like I’ve loved mercy.
But it is far more difficult to walk humbly with my God.
By participating in supplying a need, entering into the world of caregivers, pastors, and patients in Swaziland and praying for them, my heart began to feel more connected to these brothers and sisters than it ever had before.
This is what the Lord wants—he wants our hearts to be connected to his people across the world, not just our good deeds.
Greg Jao eloquently said that the reason we packed care kits that night at Urbana was because caregivers in Swaziland were praying for Urbana participants as well as for the medical needs in their country. God led a team from InterVarsity and World Vision to Swaziland to learn from caregivers what they needed and then to raise funds to supply medical items that couldn’t be bought locally. And he shaped us, formed us, challenged us, connected us to his people as we participated in his global mission. That’s how he answered their prayers.
The Join-In at Urbana 12—the largest single medical-kit-building session in World Vision’s history—was a powerful moment during the conference. But I’m praying that it will spark many more moments, days, and years of service to Jesus as we humbly learn how to serve and give to those in need.
So what was your point of connection at Urbana 12?
And how are you deepening that connection now, a month out, on your campuses and in your communities and churches?
Jessica Fick serves as InterVarsity’s Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes East region. She blogs at Sidewalk Theologian.