My all time favorite commercial is from the 60′s. In it, an earnest looking middle aged woman boards a bookmobile and asks a question to an equally earnest looking librarian:
Earnest Middle Aged Woman: Do you have any books on … biology?
Librarian: Why, are you constipated?
The earnest middle aged woman agrees that she is, and the librarian gives her advice of her favorite choice of laxative. What I loved was the leap: if you wanted a book on biology, what other reason could you want it for besides constipation help?
I honestly never expected to see a greater stretch, but look at this ad for cement in this week’s paper and I think you will agree that it rises to the level of greatness of my favorite ad. The first two sentences are CHOICE.
Kristy is a force of nature English teacher at RVA. She grew up here, and her mother was murdered in Sudan. It certainly hasn’t always been easy, but she has a wonderful husband and the cutest daughter. It was time for the next baby to be born, and suddenly we were getting news that it wasn’t going so well, and there were complications. We all breathed a sigh of relief when their son was born and everything was ok.
After about a week, complications arose for Kristy. There is a mission hospital near us with amazing doctors, but the technology they need to do sophisticated surgeries just isn’t in Kenya lots of the time. She suffered an infection, and then there was fear of kidney failure. The doctors finally told her: you need surgery in the states that we just can’t do here. You need to go home immediately.
But she couldn’t. The baby didn’t have a passport, and they needed to get one. There are papers that need to be stamped, and they take a long time. They didn’t have a long time, and finally they were able to rush the passport and book their flights.
The mission had a nurse who would accompany them on the flight, and she would be able to administer the IV that Kristy needed to make sure the infection did not reoccur. They were all set to go, and then the airline said that she needed to be in seating that would allow her to lie down, and they hadn’t applied for that, and that would be another day. They were at the airport when they got that news. They called the doctors and the doctors told her: just get on a flight and get back. You can’t waste any more time.
So they went to another airline and purchased tickets without the ability to lie down or use an IV. She had almost 30 hours of flying to do with a newborn.
They made it, but it was complicated.
Tabitha is a young Kenyan woman whom many of you have helped come to the United States to study. She had a great first year of school, with all A’s except for one B+. She is enjoying an amazing opportunity to study at Harvard this summer.
Tabitha’s mother died of AIDS in January. Tabitha has a little sister, and she came back here to become the legal guardian for Joy. Because Tabitha is now studying in America (and therefore rich), many previously silent and unhelpful kin have suddenly materialized to “help” Joy. They think there is money in it. It brings out the very worst in people here. If Tabitha becomes legal guardian, she will try to bring Joy back to the states to care for her while she continues college. A lot for a 20 year old college sophomore.
For me, the last few years have been such a revelation. The longer that I am in Africa, the longer I realize that I get so much more than I could ever give. Africans have shown me a better way of relating to Jesus. They trust Him more than I do, and they handle the difficult issues of life with more wisdom and grace than I ever have. They have shown me by example that I needed saving out of my self satisfied suburban life as much as they need saving out of their poverty.
In my heart of hearts, I believe that Africa will lead the next wave of revival, and it will go deeper than any other revival because Africans have a deeper walk. I have gotten so much more than I could ever give. I’m so grateful that He has allowed us to be here. Our hope is to return to Kenya in August of 2011, and our dream is be here until 2019. In the end, we want to do what He wants us to do, whatever it is.
Nancy and I will be married for 25 years on June 29th. One of my best friends calls her Saint Nancy; you can probably imagine how interesting it must be to be married to me. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that Nancy had developed a nervous tic when I pledged to be twice as hilarious in our next 25 years.
I mocked the cement ad, but my wife’s love has always been the most solid thing in my life.