Great picture of our Compassion child Ruth (2nd from right) and her family, after receiving our youth group’s gift. Everything in the picture was provided with the money (including sneakers, bookshelf, honkin bags of potatoes and rice, etc.) Thanks, Michele, for scanning this for me:) And thanks, PBC students, for your continual support of Compassion. You guys CAN change this world. And maybe, you already are. Love you.
This is Braddigan’s Dia De Luz (Day of Light) that they celebrated in Managua. I love, love, love the message of hope here.
He’s gone from main stage to garbage dump. And in his words, he’s better for it.
Braddigan is a nickname for Brad Corrigan, the lead singer of the band, self-titled. Brad sang with the indie band Dispatch until their 2002 disbanding. For Dispatch’s farewell concert in Boston, between 10,000 and 30,000 were expected. The estimated attendance ended up being 110,000 – the largest concert in independent music history.
To meet Brad, you would think that he would have the rock star vibe going on. Instead, he was one of the most humble, wise, and deeply committed followers of Christ that Paul and I have ever been around. So much of what he said was straight scripture, like he lived and breathed the word of God.
I’m sure the humility comes from walking with God. But I think much was also born in the trash dumps of Managua, Nicaragua, where Brad spends half of his time. To hear him speak of Managua, you would think that he was talking about his home – a forsaken dump, filled with ever burning fires, garbage, rotting carcasses, and hundreds who have lived and died there. To hear him speak of the people, you would think he was talking about his own grandma, children, dad. Some would consider these individuals a project. He regards them as family.
Love Light and Melody, a non-profit organization founded by Brad, was created to battle the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual affects of extreme poverty in this trash dump. Love Light and Melody is built on a simple concept: “When you walk with someone you’re saying to them, ‘I am with you.'”
I love that premise, “I am with you,” cause I’ve heard those words before. Jesus hasn’t left us alone in this place. He walks with us – in our strength and in our weakness – in the beauty of our lives and in the trash that we find ourselves in.
As Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death, He says, “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live….I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:19-20)
The world can’t see Him, but His followers can. The world can’t see Him, so we’ve got to live His life. How do we make God real and apparent and visible? I’m still trying to figure out what that means for me, with long term goals and in this hour. But I sure know that Braddigan is making Christ tangible – through handshakes and flying kites with kids and song – in a place that can no longer be deemed as God-forsaken.
God was living in Managua all along. But the people couldn’t see Him. Now, even through the smog, He’s a little more visible. Now they just might be able to hear those words, “I am with you.”
My God, He is just.
He is a refuge for the oppressed.
He is a stronghold in times of trouble.
He has never left those who seek Him.
He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.
In Psalm 9:16, it says that,
He “is known by His justice.”
I love that about Him. Like crazy.
He hears those who cry.
He sees their brokenness, my brokenness.
He invites us to intervene.
He’s the One who heals.
We are the recipients.
But we are also the givers.
Justice and praise are all wrapped up in each other.
Entangled and intertwined.
Co existent and co dependent.
Because God is a God of rescue,
He beckons us
Out of our comfort
To love as He loved
And to seek justice for His people.
And when, when we’ve discovered that our purpose
Is more than attaining a quality of life
And less about remaining comfortable and secure
Then, we will find delight in treasures untold.
God, I want to praise you with all my heart.
I want wonders to tell about.
Help me to live within Your passions.
Because mine aren’t worth dying for.
And Yours were.
(Reflections from Psalms 9 and 94)