Coming Alive For Christ

Hutha is a dead man come alive who risks all for the sake of Christ.

The FCA India leader holds tight to the words of Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

God set Hutha apart to be a messenger to the nations, and he enthusiastically follows the call. After all, if it were not for Jehovah Rapha, he would not be touching the lives of hundreds of villagers throughout his country by his story and a soccer ball.

As he began to know God in 2004, Hutha fell mentally ill in a spiritual attack. While he prayed for healing, his village ostracized him, thinking he was drunk or wild, calling him “Mental Man” and refusing to use his real name.

He remained in a hospital for one year.

His family, steeped in black magic and the Hindu culture, sought help from witch doctors, who suggested they use the blood of a chicken as sacrifice. Hutha refused and said he would rather die in the name of Jesus.

 

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It is an absolute privilege to share this incredible story of my good friend and spiritual role model, Hutha, over at FCA.org. Please click the link to read the miraculous journey of this leader.

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The God of healing is restoring hearts through sport, and there is even more of His work to be done. The vastness of Hutha’s region in India requires resources to travel and gas to power Hutha’s motorcycle. Please pray for volunteers to join Hutha in his work, and for finances to be able to go where God sends him across the region.

Click here to support Hutha’s ministry, and visit fcaworld.org to learn more about what FCA is doing in India.

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Slow Breath, Sting of Soul

I take a slow, steady breath. Close my eyes, lean in to the stillness. Open them again to a soft coat of clouds covering a gentle blue sky. I sit on the front porch in my blue-painted chair with brightly colored cushion, potted plants of mums and bluebells at my feet along the walkway. Songs of sparrows surround the air, pale coolness of autumn touching my skin, turning maple leaves to coral and amber.

It is a quiet morning, and all is still on my sleepy street.

But the horrified cries of terror and grief of a people in pain rings in my ears.

Brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, struck down in front of family. Burned alive, beheaded, callous execution by cruel evil. Howls for pardon, knees sunk low in the grass to be set free.

I cannot get away from their suffering, even when the scene in which I sit now looks completely opposite of their reality.

For weeks, I had been hearing of the refugees flooding into Bangladesh seeking asylum from the horrors at home. The persecuted Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-filled Myanmar, are often described as the “the world’s most persecuted minority” (Aljazeera.com). They’ve been targeted, tortured and slaughtered by government soldiers in Myanmar. But I only listened with half understanding.

Until I came across an article in The New York Times that ran on Wednesday, regaling the unimaginable atrocities up close. Now, it was personal. Now, there were names.

Rajuma, the woman who told her tale without tears, so traumatized her body would no longer recognize the pain in self-protection. Her baby, ripped from her arms and tossed in a fire.

Jesus Christ.

The plea in my voice for Him who holds the world when no other prayer will do.

This is reality. Hard to hear as I watch the American flag hooked to my front porch pillar rustle smooth in the light breeze, its fabric soft casting smooth sound, such freedom in the stripes and stars. I pray I never take for granted. I pray I could make my way to this woman and simply sit with her hand in mine, human touch that tells she is not alone.

We who clutch our lattes close and gripe when the wait gets too long, do we realize the hurting hearts that cry for comfort? Those who have left all they’ve known and wander cramped camps where children grapple for a pair of jeans?

My heart can’t take the hurt, the atrocities without answers. But bleed it must, for we are not called to comfort, but compassion. I pause and let the wails of the Rohingya bowl me over. I weep, and I plead to God. And I take their lives as my own and own up to where I have fallen complacent. The weight of the world is burden no one can handle. It is reserved for God to handle. There are no words, only deep howls of injustice and raw longing for this world to be made right.

Rohingya women waiting for food. Photo courtesy from SERGEY PONOMAREV FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Though Rajuma and others like her arrive in Bangladesh with nothing but the clothes on their skin and perhaps a small bag of belongings, they do not go alone. I may be far across oceans, but I hold them in my heart and do what little I can to make their voices heard, share their stories. We need to remember that we are not meant to walk through this life without one another.

 

But bleed it must, for we are not called to comfort, but compassion.  @SRennAwake http://bit.ly/2gbjxvZ

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The songbirds whistle their melodies from the crabapple tree at the edge of my hard, its leaves turning gold at the edges. Another slow breath, sting of soul. God Almighty, this world is beautiful. Even in the broken, the strained, the dank pockets of pain, there is room enough for light to stream through. There is hope again at crossing borders to lend a hand to one that’s been waiting for this offering, been waiting to grab hold.

The world is wide enough for us all to lean in close.

 

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Read The New York Times article on the Rohingya refugees here.

 

Please consider helping the Rohingya refugees, providing food, shelter, medicine, or just meeting immediate needs. #SaveTheRohingya

Strength and Wisdom

When FCA South Asia leader Adam* and his wife first married six years ago, they began to pray for a child. They prayed and waited, and prayed some more, yet no baby year after year. In the fifth year, God answered with a little girl. It was all, Adam acknowledges, God’s ways in His timing.

So, he knows a thing or two about patience, prayer, and perseverance, traits that serve him well in sports ministry. Adam carries himself with gentle strength and wisdom shaped by experience, attention and humility. He is dedicated to transforming lives and has a heart for the coaches and athletes in his region.

Adam, who joined FCA in 2012, first realized the potential for spiritual impact through athletics at an in-country sports conference. He met coaches whose lifestyles and hearts were different than of those he usually saw in the athletic arena and this piqued his curiosity.

Influenced and intrigued by these leaders, Adam then locally attended the Sports Leadership School in 2008, followed by a 3-month training in Africa, and began volunteering in sports ministry. He pieced together a blueprint for his own developing ministry within soccer.

 

 

Read more over at FCA.org.