Hope is Alive!

The past couple of weeks have left me with a terrible ache inside. I’ve heard stories and witnessed scenes of oppression and suffering both here at home and overseas. I doubt I’ll ever recover from seeing trafficked women on the streets of Zurich that have deeply impacted me. But along with those disturbing realities has been a steady stream of reminders that God is at work, mobilizing his sons and daughters to bring the double good news of Jesus’ salvation and justice to those who are suffering at the hands of others. 

L to R: Abey George, Marney & Tracy Danz, CCJ,
Tammy Friesen, Soni, (Pastor) Rob, & Kristin Peterson
The International Justice Conference at Thornapple Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids revealed a growing passion among church members for justice issues and their corporate determination to turn passion into action. It’s hard not to hope when people are on their knees for the world and wrestling with what God wants them to do. 

In Zurich, 165 women gathered for the first of six one-day seminars conducted by Lifesprings School of Ministry. Dr. Nate Feldmeth, Fuller Theological Seminary Church History Prof, and I were the two presenters. As part of this eighteen month program, each woman will read through The Gospel of Ruth and will develop and initiate a project based on needs in her area. This school isn’t just about taking in. These women will also be giving out, and I love to imagine how much good 165 ezers can do!

Lifesprings School of Ministry in Zurich

I was deeply impressed and encouraged by the ezers I met in Geneva (below) at a gathering that included women in the U.N., the World Health Organization, church ministries, and Lifesprings alumni engaged in initiatives in Africa. Some are addressing global health issues—advising nations on which medicines to purchase and which drugs are most effective against major diseases, improving sanitation issues to address one of the leading causes of disease and deaths. Others are focused on raising funds to improve education for children in poverty. These ezers are on fire for God’s kingdom, and what I’ve described is only the tip of the iceberg. God’s ezers are everywhere!

Bishop Thad Barnum

This past weekend, I was with Church of the Apostles and Living Hope Church in Connecticut, to speak on The Gospel of Ruth. I wish you could have heard the prayers of these people—asking God to show them what to do in response to the suffering around them—and Bishop Thad Barnum’s impassioned urgings to become people and givers of God’s hesed.

I’m still slightly jet-lagged. And that ache hasn’t gone away. But I have seen strong reasons to hope. Yes, the Enemy is powerful, and the darkness is deep. But God is at work. He’s raising up his people, and the light we carry cannot be extinguished!

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About carolyncustisjames

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