#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

Another rerun. As it happens the trip mentioned got canceled due to some difficulties on the ground in Haiti. The truth here cannot be canceled.

Ever.

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

The story goes back to 1964. My Dad took on the head football coaching job at Courtland High School. We lived there four years. I never met Nancy Steele. I was a white kid. Nancy was an African-American kid. Schools were segregated. Churches were segregated. Water fountains were segregated. She is two years younger than me. We could have played together if the world wasn’t so screwed up. So I never met Nancy. What a shame.

Thirty five or so years later I was working a youth conference. There was this amazingly poised, productive, and devout woman of faith who shared leadership and shaped my life. Her name was Nancy J Fuqua, Reverend Nancy Fuqua. We shared some conversation and some laughs and some hopes for the Kingdom of God.

Twenty five or so years later Nancy and I crossed paths again. Now she is Dr. Nancy Fuqua. She pastors a thriving, lively, loving congregation (they reflect their pastor) twenty or so miles from my place of ministry. She is a force in her denomination. She is a force in the lives of those she meets.

In the course of the next few months Nancy and I began a close relationship centered on our shared call to doing Kingdom work in Haiti and in North Alabama. The day after she heard of the need she raised the money to pay a teacher for a year in one of our schools in Haiti. I couldn’t foresee where this would lead but that is the way of faith.

You see, Nancy has kidney disease. She is on the transplant list. Her markers are good and there is hope for the surgery. I pray for Nancy. I hope you will too.

But now the point of this story. Nancy told me a few weeks ago that she is going to Haiti with me come February. I told her that I would pray this could happen but we’d better see how her disease progressed and what will happen with the transplant surgery. Pretty good preacher words, eh?

So Nancy bought her airfare! And she bought a non refundable ticket. And she told me she doesn’t even need the airplane because she is so lifted by the Spirit that she is flying already!

I get chills when I see this kind of faith. And I am cold a lot because I see so much faith lived out so well all around me. But Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. You bought a ticket. A non refundable ticket. Because you have faith that God will get you to the destination. You bought the damn ticket!

Nancy Steele married and became Nancy Fuqua. There is much that separates folks at times in our lives. But there is a grace and power that brings us to change and the things that matter. And I am forever changed by the way you saints are living this out.

We bought the ticket. We believe that the way of Jesus is the way for us. It’s all in. There is no refund.

Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff!

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 5 days ago