A few things i've learned

I was invited by Women Against Rape (also known as WAR) to come to a meeting a few days ago at their center. The meeting was all about alcohol addiction and Maun. At the meeting were several representatives from other organizations in the community. WAR is putting on a seminar in February to teach people about addiction, how to counsel addiction, where to get help, etc. I’ve been asked to participate and to hold a few lectures during the seminar. We’ll see if it fits with this busy schedule!
Leading the meeting was a specialist from the states who is not a believer. A member of the police force asked her who exactly are you trying to target and impact. Just Maun? The woman stood up straight and boldly responded to him. She said “well, sir I want to start here. I want to drop a pebble on top of Maun in the pond of Botswana and watch the ripple of impact cover this entire country. So, my hope is that we’ll start here with this seminar and eventually see change take over this nation.”

Her words impacted me. What a big vision. What great confidence. Imagine if we as a body of believers would have such vision. Imagine if we would start in one place and have the faith to believe it would touch a whole nation? She understood that she had to find a starting point, do the best job possible, and then have expectation for impact. This woman is determined and I believe it will be accomplished.
I love addictions counseling, so sitting through this day of meetings was a joy for me. I learned more about the culture in Botswana, I spoke with leaders from many organizations, and was able to share my opinions and thoughts as well. However, addictions also drives me insane from a Christian stand point. Let me explain. Most addictions professionals will tell you there is no cure for addictions, even alcoholics anonymous believes that once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. I however know the cure for an addiction. He’s the same cure for perversion, adultery, sickness, lying, depression, etc. His name is Jesus and I’m a liar if I were to say His blood wasn’t strong enough to end addiction. So I’ve set through classes, read through books, sat through meetings, been in long conversations, all about the never ending disease of addiction. We also discuss how addiction is many times a coping mechanism for worse problems. And in America you want me to sit down with a client who has an addiction because they suffer from depression and depend on a substance to cure their misery, and you want me to tell them what they need is to stop using and abusing so they can get back to their miserable life? NO! What I will tell them is I know a God who can turn your depression into joy, and when you taste HIS joy, you’ll never need that substance again. I rant about this because it leads into a story I want to tell!
I worked with a program the other day called reach4Life. I was able to go into a school and talk about making a difference to high schoolers, I talked about Jesus, and that He is what they need. While talking with the woman who helps run the program she told me a story. A man (a non-believer) was passing out condoms at a school and a teacher came up to talk to him. She said to him why are you passing out condoms, I’m a Christian and you should be teaching these kids abstinence, not giving them condoms. The man replied “As long as the church stays silent, the world will come up with their own answer”. What wisdom from a man who wasn’t even a church goer, not even a believer, yet he understood. With addictions, with STD’s, with gang violence, etc all these major problems that our nation, my nation, America, is having as long as the church remains silent the world will continue to make its own band aids. Oh America. We were once founded on Christian principles.

Don’t get me wrong, PEOPLE ARE DOING GREAT THINGS. They are helping people, but none of those fix the root of the problem. A band aid offers protection, it makes it feel a little better, but a band aid does not heal the cut. And so goes with these organizations and programs. They will help, but they do not fix the root problem and that’s they need Jesus. Most people will write me off saying I’m over spiritualizing it, but when you begin to look at people the way I do, there is no other answer. See I look at people and no matter the condition of their body I have to ask, how is their soul? Where will they be when they die. Because you can be rich and go to hell, healthy and go to hell, or you can be poor and go to heaven, have AIDS and go to heaven. Jesus cures addiction and gives joy that replaces the desire for alcohol, Jesus conquered loneliness and helplessness and provides confidence to girls who feel they need to have sex with a guy to feel loved, Jesus causes change that brings about love, kindness, giving, compassion. But most importantly He washes away our sins and makes us right with God.

That is why I am who I am and I do what I do. Because Jesus changes things. He saves eternities, He changes lives, He heals bodies, He gives authority, He supplies our needs, He has conquered this world. I love John 16:33 that says we’ll have tribulation in this world, but take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. In America, Africa, or any corner of the world the answer for the lives of the broken, hurting, starving, sick, disappointed, rejected, and lost is Jesus. So I’m thinking big. I’m getting vision. A vision that is world wide. To make the name of Jesus Christ known and see as He impacts and changes lives. Will you join in?

I’ve learned what it means to truly depend on God. I never thought that would be a lesson I would learn here, because in reality things aren’t bad here for a foreign country. We have occasional water and internet, great electricity, and good facilities. But in this past week, I’ve been sick, tired, weak, and no time to rest. I’m learning to pray because everything depends on it. I’m learning to lean on God in a new way.

Thanks for the prayers. Be Blessed,
J.Tate