Thank You India

Almost 2 years ago, Eric & Tisra Fadely and their children wandered into Conduit Church.   We had just admitted we were a church 3 months earlier.  There were about a hundred of us gathering on Sundays and we were still fully in the mode of discovering what it was God was calling us to be and do.   

As I recall they found us on the Google.  Not sure what the search was.  Perhaps “church with mission focus and a pastor that looks like uncle kracker”  I think it was Tisra who said that they had been searching for a church whose thoughts were towards the world.  She was referring to the disenfranchised, poor, oppressed, marginalized people of the world.  I knew this because I met Dorothy, their toddler whom they adopted from India.  

I was still trying to find out exactly what a pastor did, and they were still trying to figure out exactly what a church was meant to be. On the surface that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.   And there were disasters.  By this time Conduit was neck deep in rebuilding and relief efforts in Haiti as well as in Nashville after the floods swept through.    It was around that time someone asked me if I was a pastor or a disaster relief guy.  I answered.  “Yes.”

That following Tuesday Eric and I met for coffee.  He told me that they were about to give up on church.  They had been raised in it and felt discontent, like there had to be more.   He told me that I was officially the two longest conversations in his life with a pastor.  (he was including the 5 minutes on Sunday morning)

It was less than a year later when Eric and I sat down for coffee yet again and he told me what was going on.  The insecure part of me always has this “feeling” that when someone reaches out with a serious tone to “get together” that this is their leaving the church speech.  It’s remarkable to me how all those childhood abandonment issues weave themselves so deeply.

The Fadely’s were indeed leaving the church. Go big and NOT go home style.   They were going to India.  For 2 years.  All 6 of them.  He was going to quit his job, they were going to move their stuff into storage, rent their home, raise financial support and move their butts to India.  

I’m not sure what my facial expressions were.  My hope is that they didn’t betray what was going on in my head.  Which was something along the lines of “you’ve got to be flipping kidding me”.  He said that there was a message I had preached about Larry the crazy horse guy, and how it spoke to him.  To which I think I replied, “hey don’t blame this on me.”   And then we prayed.  

In the months that followed I watched Eric & Tisra and the kids embark on a journey that required courage and faith.   They worked tirelessly towards raising their support and God provided for them miraculously.   They were professionally homeless for several months longer than planned as they waited for the Visas to come through.  Raising the money should’ve been the hardest part, and the visa the easiest.  It was the exact opposite.  A preparation for things to come.  

They have been in India for 5 months.   

Those words, that short sentence, doesn’t do justice to their lives.  To their courage.  To their faith.  To their Jesus.  But it’s much like a sentence in the book of Acts.  “And then Paul went to Rome”.   One sentence that encapsulates months of time, life, and experience.   One sentence because only in the light of eternity, only from the position of sitting around the throne of Jesus can we fully understand the magnitude.  

I personally can’t wait.  I can’t wait for the time when Jesus says, and “now let me tell you a story about the Fadely Family.”

In the meantime…

Grant is the oldest brother and bravest young man I’ve met.  He leads his young siblings and has sacrificed his friends and family in exchange for giving himself to children who have no friends or family.   Laelle is the sweet, pretty, and strong young lady with the beautiful smile we all miss, but that the children of Sarah’s Covenant Home will be forever changed by.  Dean is the steady, funny, endearing little guy who is the best “best friend” a little guy in India could have. (I know this because my Ethan misses him so much)  And Dorothy, sweet Dorothy.  Arguably the catalyst for this whole thing a few years ago when she first found her way from an orphanage in India into the Fadely Family in TN.

Tisra is the matriarchal figure who embodies the maternal qualities of God.  She broods over the issues that they have faced.  In the same way the Spirit of God “brooded” over the waters in Genesis 3, Tisra brooded over their paper work to get out of America and into India and it was so.   She nurtures and comforts not only her own children who are further away from home for longer than most children in America will ever know.  She nurtures and comforts the children at Sarah’s Covenant Home in ways they’ve never known.  The Holy Spirit is our comforter, she embodies Him.  

Eric Fadely has been growing into Eric Fadely the Pastor.  He’s been in India for just a few months and has already performed more funerals than I have.  He stands at the gates of hell with courage.  He loves on, cares for and defends the fatherless and the widow.  He is pastoring his family and the orphans of Sarah’s Covenant Homes.  If you don’t believe me, read his latest blog at www.fadelyfamily.com

On Monday I’m headed to “do coffee” with Eric again.  And since the Starbucks at 5 Points is a little out of the way for them, I’m flying to India.   Not sure if they put curry in the coffee there, but I don’t much care.  I’m just excited to see my friends, the source of so much inspiration, to watch first hand what it’s like to worship God with your life.  

I’m taking a couple of suit cases full of stuff for the Fadely kids.  Legos and toys that remind them that there are people here loving and praying for them.  School books for their home school. Medical supplies.  And some jelly bellies for Eric.  If you feel led, you can donate towards the cost of the stuff and the bags.  It’s about $500 total.  I’ll put your name on a card that we hand to them to let them know you were part of it.  

And in November, at some dates that are about to be determined, I’m going back again.  I’d like to take a team with me this time.  If you’re interested, please email me: darren@conduitmission.org    

Majed El Shafie, Tortured & Persecuted in Egypt. Coming to Conduit

Rev. Majed El Shafie is a Christian who was arrested, tortured and imprisoned for a year and a half in Cairo, Egypt because of his Christian faith. He now spends his time and energy speaking out and fighting on behalf of the Christians around the world who are currently being persecuted for their faith.

Last year 165,000 Christians were murdered because they were Christians. We simply must not close our eyes and look the other way.

Jesus command in Matthew 25:36 to “visit Him when He is in prison” was a command told in the context of Matthew 24, 25.
Specifically in regards to people who would be taken to prison, persecuted because they were Christians. He doesn’t just say, “when you do it to the least of these”.. he says the least of these “brothers of mine”.

When He says in Matthew 25:26 that “you came unto me when I was in prison”. The word for “came unto” means to come before, and there is an element in the original language that means to “come before the public”. 165,000 Christians were murdered and the vast majority can not come before the public on their own. As Christians part of our duty, our honor, is to bring these stories before the public. Via twitter, facebook, blogs, we have an opportunity like never before to “come unto” the least of these brothers of Jesus, and bring in front of the public.

Please spread the word, I hope you’ll join us on Sunday November 6. For directions and information about Conduit Church you can go to www.conduitchurch.com

Danny Pye At Conduit

http://darrentyler.podomatic.com/swf/joeplayer_v18c.swf

Danny Pye was held in a Haitian jail without charge for 5 months without charge.

For more information about Danny you can read here.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/16/florida-missionary-released-haitian-jail/

Danny spoke at Conduit on September 25, 2011. The above is the audio of his talk.

Update From Togo

I just got this email from David Whetstone in Togo Africa, It was just too good to pass up. Please be praying for David and the team as they open the primary school in Gbentchal, Togo Africa.

Here’s what he wrote:

I called around the other day to get to the top of the Government to get approval for the school and to get things moving along so we can start school here. I also wanted to get the land moving along and the final NGO status here in Togo.

I met the head guy for lunch at the Belleview. He was a head guy of Parliament here, which I had no idea. He sat and listened to me over lunch. I did not know what he was thinking but when I was finished giving the pitch he calmly said, “You are free to do anything that you wish.” He said, “you will not pay high fees for the NGO, and you will have the final letter within the month but I will give you a license receipt to use for the next 2 weeks. (this will allow us to cross the border with no problem even with our vehicles. It gives us the go ahead with all the legal guys so the police will not be able to charge us when they want, as well as we can ship things in the country for next to nothing. The man also told me that, he is very high in the government so let us know when we ship a container and he will help us personally.

He personally went with me to our Lawyer and shared with her that we will not pay all the fees. He then drove us to all the High up Government people and introduced us personally. We met the minister and many others.

At then end of our time, I politely asked him why he was so eager to help us. He said, “David, I am Moba. When I was a child someone came to my village and helped me. There were 64 of us kids (WHICH IS THE SAME AMOUNT OF ORPHANS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW.) He said I was the only one that really went far but I know what my people are capable of if they just had someone to believe in them.

Then he closed with this, “Also David, the chief in your village is my NEPHEW.

Of all the people God could have led me to. When I called his office, I asked him if he could meet me the following day. He said I want to meet you today. When I got to our meeting he said, “I was so excited that you called my office today. The reason I wanted to meet you today and not tomorrow is because I have already heard about you and what is happening in Gbentchal. I was so eager to finally meet you.”

Ha ha I am getting chills over as I write this with tears flowing.

Conduit, God has his hand all over this….I dont know how to express the miracles that are happening over here. Keep praying and lets see many more in Parliament be our born again orphans! ONE day…..ONE DAY!!!

Islamic Resolution

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

December 2010.

She was dressed in black literally from head to toe. Because of the lack of information that is so often allowed out of an Islamic Republic we don’t know if she is married or has children or how old she is. Her crime isn’t known. (Speculation is that she wore trousers.) We don’t even know her name.

Her punishment however is plain for everyone to see. It’s all captured on video and posted on the web. It’s hard to watch, but I think we must. It’s too easy to look away, to not think about.

She is surrounded by police and by standers and no one intervenes while she is beaten. She is flogged 53 times. At one point she grabs the whip to try and stop the beating. She is told she must accept her beating or spend 2 years in prison. At another point she desperately cries out for her mom. She’s terrified, in excruciating pain, surrounded by people but all alone.

The police? They laugh and beat her more.

Two years earlier, in 2008.

She was 23 years old when she was convicted of adultery before a Sharia court. She was buried up to her neck, and then pelted stones until she died in front of an audience of a thousand people. They were sitting in a football stadium gathered around like they were watching a game. The only game they saw was her begging for her life.

The reality that later came out is she was a 13 year old girl who had been raped.

(see story here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7708169.stm )

This didn’t happen in the tribal areas of Pakistan or Afghanistan.

It happened in Africa.

It’s not that Pakistan or Afghanistan are less important, and I do NOT want to imply that. It’s just that so many of my friends are so passionate about Africa don’t understand the threat that radical Islam is posing to the “least of these” in not just the Middle East but in Africa, in Europe, and yes even in our own Country. There is a very purposeful, strategic and successful push from Islam to take over the entire continent of Africa. Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, etc have already been infiltrated and overcome in varying degrees. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda and many other nations are being actively targeted.

They are starting with the children, with the poor. In a nation where the average lifespan is under 40 years we are potentially just a couple of decades away from an entire turn over in the religion in the population.

The problem of radical Islam is a real one. And while we’re sitting around in America debating whether or not Islam is a religion of peace there is a woman in northern Sudan who was beaten 53 times, a 13 year old girl in Somalia who was brutally murdered who probably could have answered that question, if they were only allowed to talk.

These are truly the least of these that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25. He didn’t give us a pass from helping them based upon their oppressors being scary or not. In fact, in the context of Matthew 24 and 25 it was specifically persecuted followers of Christ that He was speaking of.

We look at this and my tendency is to say this is too great, to dire, what can we do? And because we don’t know what to do, we don’t do anything. Fear paralyzes. Confusion disorganizes. But not Jesus, He said “go and do likewise”

That was in reference to someone who was beaten, robbed and left for dead. When we encounter someone(s) who have been beaten, robbed, left for dead. We are to bring relief. I know this was a parable Jesus was speaking of in Luke 10, but what if the idea of the person in need of help could also be taken literal and not just metaphorical. We have seen a people, albeit on youtube, but we have seen it. I believe that what we saw the “good” Samaritan do in Luke 10, that we must go and do likewise. That is after all what Jesus said.

I’m blessed at Conduit. I’m surrounded by a group of folks who are passionate about doing something. In a world full of folks looking the other way. In a world that is full of “slacktivists” (People who retweet and move on with their lives, thinking they actually did something) I’m surrounded with people who are actually doing something with their money, with their prayers, with their lives to make a difference in this world.

We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and we know this in Haiti. We are serving a group of people quite literally with food, clothing, education and most importantly Jesus. We are doing it in Togo, Africa. We are doing it in our own back yard.

But what of those being of those being oppressed, marginalized, tortured and murdered by radical Islamists using their own Sharia law as the justification. The Bible not only speaks of giving money to the poor, it also speaks of justice for the poor. We know what it looks like to feed and clothe them. What does it look like to fight for justice?

That’s the very question we’re going to ask in the coming weeks at Conduit Church. As a church we have been silent on this issue, but not any more. What does it look like in Africa. What does it look like in Israel? What does it look like in our own back yard?

As a church I’d ask you to keep this matter in prayer. I believe we need to move, but we need clarity and direction. I know we’re supposed to move forward in this area, go on the offense, but we need to be led of the Spirit in how we proceed. Would you pray? And if the Lord speaks anything to you please let me know?