I made writing to you a priority ever day for ReLent — you know; ReLent, which is “Lent Again” for those of us who forgot to do it the first time around. Whenever possible, minus a few extraordinary circumstances along the way, I’ve kept my promise. Writing drivel at times, yes. And using a very liberal interpretation of “extraordinary circumstances” because I believe to my toes that you, like me, know that “can’t keep going” and “need rest” and “have to watch Outlander” count as extraordinary.
But I’m writing to you today because I DID make that promise, so I won’t go all quiet and dark here even though I don’t really have time to pen this.
This time, it really is an extraordinary circumstance. Of the kind not just my fellow Mombies will understand.
On Saturday, an earthquake hit Nepal.
And my Other Life, outside my life with my family and my life here with you in this space, is that of Humanitarian Aid worker.
I work also at Medical Teams International.
I keep that quiet a lot, not because it’s a secret, but because I say Weird and Wild things here, and I never want my wild ways or weird theology or bumbling words to reflect poorly on these people I love who spend their lives to save and improve the lives of others.
I work at Medical Teams because it’s our mission send medicines, doctors and nurses — real help — to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.
Now, I’ve talked about Jesus here before and the ways I do and don’t fit in with Other Christians. You’ve let me process my faith, and I’ve adored you for sharing yours, especially because we’re sometimes different and sometimes the same, and there’s incredible beauty in finding all comers in this place and talking with each other instead of at each other. So, if you’ve been in this space much at all, you’ll know how sad it makes me when terrible words and deeds are done in Jesus’ name, how I almost abandoned the word “Christian” to identify myself until an athiest friend set me straight (although it occurs to me I may not have told you that story and I probably should), and therefore how healing it is for me to get to work for an organization that just loves people — without regard to faith or creed or status or symbol or ANY OF THE THINGS — just LOVES people who desperately need it, AND are Christians at the same time.
Imagine! Christians out there giving aid to people because they need it!
Just help and hope.
THIS is the church I want to be part of.
THIS is the way I want to spend my life.
I know; I’m a mushy mess.
So I work at Medical Teams International. In the president’s office, no less, although I keep waiting for him to realize I’m a nutjob. (Confession: That cat might be already out of the bag.) And there was an earthquake in the poorest country in South Asia last weekend. And we’re spending this week in emergency response mode. Because there are people who need help. And we’re uniquely positioned to provide it.
I want you to know — I’m going to try to honor my ReLent promise to write to you. And I also want you to know — if I do it, my writing may be even more disjointed and irregular and weird than usual. Because I’m working hard, and my heart is with the people of Nepal.
My heart is with ALL the people, as you know, who are sitting in the dark and waiting for the dawn.
Holding Hands in the Dark — with you and Nepal,
P.S. Medical Teams International is one of only 5 U.S.-based organizations vetted by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to send foreign medical teams to Nepal to respond to this disaster. You can learn more about the Medical Teams International Nepal Earthquake response here.