At IDEAS we focus on restoring hope to forgotten and overlooked communities. This year during Advent, I’ve been reminded that restoring hope often begins with simply being present.
Do you recognize the words from this well-known Christmas carol? “The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices... it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.”
That Hope became present in a weary world. Hope came to dwell among us, to “pitch a tent” among us.
I’m not a big tent camper for the obvious reasons that camping really isn’t all that comfortable; it’s sometimes cold or wet and often messy. When you pitch a tent, you get down to the very basics of living, as opposed to RV camping where you can take along your bathroom, stove, TV and all the conveniences of life.
Hope came to be present in the very basics of life by entering a culture in a particular place and time, learning a trade, developing family relationships (even experiencing family conflict), and becoming hungry and tired, just like you and me. Hope has come in the midst of the ordinary, weary world. Hope gives life to bless humanity in all places and times.
Our IDEAS Associates go overseas to be present among those whom they serve. They “pitch their tents” in cultures that are not their own so that they can demonstrate and offer the hope that they themselves have experienced. They use the gifts and professional skills they have developed to enter another’s world in a natural, ordinary way to bring value and to build up another’s community. They treat the sick, they grow trees, they teach children and adults, and they bring together those who have lived in conflict. They enter workplaces, buy groceries, live in neighborhoods, raise their children and rub shoulders with those who are weary. They develop relationships in which they share burdens, hear stories, and celebrate victories.
This Christmas, would you consider joining IDEAS to “pitch your tent” in a part of the world that is still weary?
Would you consider going to be present in that world, using your professional skills to restore hope to a marginalized community overseas? It’ll be a camping experience that will bless you and others in ways you can’t even imagine.
About the Author: Barb is the IDEAS Director of Community Life and has lived in Cote d' lvoire and France. Enjoy Barb's other blog posts, including: Shifting Sand or Solid Ground?