I recently went to Bulgaria and Greece to work with A21 and the local church in the fight against human trafficking.
I met a man called Chris who is 20 years old and just won an award as the “Most Inspirational” for the country of Bulgaria. Yes, you read that correctly, Most Inspirational in the country of Bulgaria. He’s in University in Sofia for film and his work has already shown Bulgaria to the world.
I met another man, Kero, who built a turf soccer field in the middle of a Roma ghetto and spends every afternoon coaching the children. The Roma people, commonly known as Gypsies, are marginalized, discriminated against, and constantly in a vicious cycle of poverty. This soccer field is a haven in hell. Dozens of boys and girls learning teamwork, discipline, practice, and respect through a game that gives them something to look forward to day in and day out.
I stayed with a woman named Monika whose laugh can light up a room. She carries joy in her smile and in her eyes and in the way she hugs you. Monika has dedicated the last 7 years of her life working with those rescued from trafficking. She works directly with the victims to help them recover from the trauma that was their reality.
I spent each and every day surrounded by a team of about 20 who took time out of their jobs and their families to love on the unlovable, to serve the unseen, and to inspire the hopeless.
Our culture is filled with people who are trying to find themselves. Each and every person I spoke of above, has figured it out. They are world-changers. And what makes them world-changers is not a one time dramatic gesture, or an inspiring speech, or perfection. What makes them world-changers is their reckless love. It’s their willingness to say yes to what is right in front of them, and to leave everything else behind. In John Chapter 12, Jesus speaks to his disciples about losing our lives in order to find it:
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
John 12:24-25 MSG
So how do I find my life? My purpose? In letting go and loving recklessly. Seems simple and beautiful, but in reality it’s raw and messy. How do I come back from Bulgaria and Greece? The comfort of my oversized home, my full refrigerator, my bursting closet. How do I sleep at night when the sweet children I’ve met have no parents, no home, no running water. How do I laugh when I know that over 50,000 people will be trafficked out of the country of Bulgaria in 2018 alone?
The harsh reality is that the evil I saw, the poverty I encountered, the desperation of these people is found everywhere. Desperation is found all over the world, in the U.S., in your state, among the streets of your hometown, a block from your house.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I cannot bear the evil of this world on my shoulders. I am forced to again recognize my need for a Savior, my need for Jesus. In going to His word I was able to find my direction: “let it go, reckless in love.”
Each day is a new day for me to let go of my preconceived notions, my prejudice, and my plans. Each day is a new day for me to let go and be reckless in loving the people that God has put around me. I encourage you to not be daunted by the size of our world’s issues, but rather to begin in love. To remember that the world will be changed by small acts of reckless and imperfect love by each and every one of us. And in the midst of our reckless acts of love, we can have perfect peace knowing our sweet Jesus has it all in His hands.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”
John 16:33 AMP