The other night, Rach and I went on a date night for the first time in a couple of months to see, what else, a movie about adoption. The movie is called “Mully”, and as the name implies, it follows the story of a man named Charles Mully. Mully grew up in a small village in Kenya where his family abandoned him when he was a young boy. After leading a life of begging and stealing, he eventually walked three days from his village to Nairobi, where he was able to get a job, save some money, and start a family. He made a series of business decisions where he became a millionaire. One day, he had an interaction with some street kids that brought him back to the hopelessness of his childhood. It shook him to the core, and he came home to his family saying that God told him he needed to give up the business and care for the poor. He began bringing orphans home from off the street every day. They filled their home with hundreds of children, which created so much friction with his biological kids, that he actually sent his eight kids off to boarding school for a year. Eventually the house became so full, they had to move to a piece of land where they could build an entire compound. Over the years, his children have started seeing eye-to-eye with his mission, and many of them help run the organization. Through the years involving a series of miracles, they have brought in, and cared for, over 12,000 children, all of which call him “Daddy Mully.”
It’s stories like these that put us to shame. In America, it’s so easy to live our lives in comfort and to reject any discomfort as someone else’s calling. After every placement, Rach and I have said to each other that we’re done, that we’ve done enough and that we’re tired. Yet somehow, God manages to refocus us every time (to be clear we are still unsure of what our plans are going forward). I’m convinced, that as Americans, we must make the conscious decisions daily to intently put ourselves into brokenness. In the movie, they saw devastation constantly as they walked into the streets, but in many ways, here, we have a buffer between us and getting our hands dirty. If we want to help the poor, we give to charities that help the poor; if we want to feed the homeless, we give to food pantries that then feed the homeless, etc. We must get back to giving of ourselves… not just our resources.
I understand that it really is not everyone’s calling to be foster parents, but that’s not the question. The question is, where can we apply ourselves consistently in which we give of our time, energy, and emotion? The news is full of stories on how our nation is utterly divided. How can you bring about unity, spread the Gospel, and tangibly meet the needs of those in your own community? Maybe you can volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center where you will be face-to-face with a single mother in your own area who is in desperate of a support system. Maybe you can help at that food pantry that you give to. Or maybe you can help with Habitat for Humanity, or Care Portal. Maybe you can even start having monthly block parties in your own neighborhood where you just create community right where you live (for more on ideas like this last one, read The Art of Neighboring by Pathak and Runyon, I highly recommend it). All of these things strengthen community on a level far beyond what we are used to, but they all require giving of ourselves. And that’s where we really need to start. No one can do it all, but we can all do something.