Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
There’s not much that is more frustrating than feeling powerless in the face of great injustice. This feeling hits me every once in awhile and I’m not sure what to do with it.
I took a class in college (one of those dumb freshman seminars) and the professor was given leeway to teach on pretty much anything he wanted, so we spent the entire semester talking about the holocaust. By the end I knew way more than I ever thought I would about this horrific event in our world history.
A few years later I found myself stranded alone (long, kind of crazy story) on the mall in Washington DC for an entire day. I made my way to the holocaust museum with some questions I’d had for years. How could this happen? Where did the decent people go? Why didn’t the world stop this? Could this happen again?
The museum (if you haven’t been there) was an incredible and sobering experience. A mountain of shoes taken from executed people in concentration camps made an especially strong impression on me. You are given a card as you enter, detailing the life of a person who suffered in the Holocaust. It made it real- made it feel like this could happen anywhere with the right circumstances.
The tour of the museum ends in a Hall of Remembrance. You are encouraged to sit in a silent, sun-filled room and consider what happened and commit to making sure this happens nowhere ever again. But I kept thinking- how? How can I, girl from the midwest, have an impact on whether this happens again?
On my way out, a sweet girl handed me a flyer about Darfur. The holocaust was happening there. Genocide and mass graves.
“But what can I do?”, I asked God. “What can I do?”
Give money? How in the world to know who is trustworthy? I committed to pray- and I did pray for the dear people in conflict there. I told God to show me if there was something He needed me to do. Such injustice. But what can you do?
I’ve asked God that question many times since.
About a week ago I read a message from Dave Patty, the president of Josiah Venture, and God began to answer my question. I realized first of all, that my prayers mattered. I also realized that He has given me something- an action– against this sort of injustice. I’m just going to quote Dave here.
“To be honest, it is hard for me to follow world news these days. The brutality of the ISIS fighters and the devastation being experienced in Ukraine are causing so much human suffering. I feel for these people, but at the same time feel powerless to bring any change.
For me these stories hit close to home since Central and Eastern Europe has seen two such waves of injustice in one generation. The quick succession of Hitler’s atrocities and communist totalitarianism were devastating to this region. People my age remember the second very well, and those my parent’s age had to endure both.
Yet today most of Central and Eastern Europe has unprecedented religious freedom and stability. We can share the gospel freely, even in schools. The torture chambers are silent; the concentration camps have been changed into tourist destinations.
How did this happen? Looking at the present through the lens of the past, here are a couple of lessons for us.
- Prayer does change things. The persistent intercession of God’s people has and is changing this region. Never minimize the effect of your prayers.
- Young people are extremely strategic. A young generation radicalized in the Mid-East is driving horrible atrocities. Young people reached with the gospel in Central and Eastern Europe are at the forefront of transforming an entire region.
- You and I are not powerless – even if we feel like it. All power has been given to Christ, and we have been sent in his name.
Just last week a 17 year old girl named Maruska trusted Christ in one of our Fusion choirs. Her parents are divorcing and she has to move to England with her mom. She asked the Fusion leader to explain how to give her life to Jesus so she wouldn’t have to go to England alone. That day one more life was transformed by the gospel.
There is much evil in the world. And you ARE making a difference through your gifts and prayers.”
I love how he contrasted the young people radicalized by ISIS with the young people reached with the gospel and transforming their nation for Jesus.
Fight dark with light. Fight evil with good.
I’m thrilled to be a small part of God’s movement in Eastern and Central Europe- and I’m thrilled to have you join me in this fight against the dark.
Pray this week for countries that are hosting youth leader training. The goal is to raise up youth leaders from each country to reach their own people with the gospel, and God is providing!
Last week in Serbia, JV trained about 40 young leaders and became connected with new churches throughout the country.
This week, Slovakia held a training conference and had 700 young leaders in attendance.
Next weekend Poland will have about 100 young leaders for training and equipping.
I love this feeling of movement. God is changing lives. God is raising up leaders. God is using you and me to bring light into dark places.