Let me confess my personal agenda behind Building Bravehearts. I want to help equip and give courage to young people to make an impact for Christ in their world. While success by anyone's definition is best achieved with courage, my agenda--or vision--certainly needs it.
I have two dreams that have haunted me. Years ago, in the Chicago Tribune, I read a column by Bob Greene about 12 year old Liliana Ciprianu who was beaten to death by her step-father because he didn't like the way she dusted the house. Apparently a bubbly, sweet girl. I still see her face with long dark hair. Greene wants to know who will come up with answers before another death happens. He says, "The answers to all of this must be out there somewhere." I dream that someone I know will find the answer for child abuse and unreached homes.
My other dream is global. While I worked at Wheaton Academy, Chip Huber led a connection between our high school students and a community in Zambia. We became immersed in the big picture needs of hunger, health care, water, and AIDS. And, we saw ways to help solve those things locally.
Max Lucado in Live to Make a Difference (Thomas Nelson, 2010) says:
"The book of Acts announces, 'God is afoot!' "
"Is he still? we wonder. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?"
"Heaven knows we hope so. One billion people are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Every five minutes, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases. More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. And as a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot."
Lucado says that "God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering." I believe him.
So, Bravehearts. I work and write largely with fairly privileged Americans. Anyone reading a blog has a computer and internet, thus resources well beyond most of the world. I would love, through Bravehearts, to help every child make a difference in his or her world. I would love for some to change the world. We do have everything we need.
More often than anything else, a lack of courage holds us back from making a difference. Fear kept Israel from the best God offered in the Promise Land. Fear keeps all of us, at times, from stepping out in faith to do something special or unique. We live in a world with fears, real and imagined. Courage is needed.
In one of the few passages from the Bible to tell parents specifically what to do, Paul says in Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart." Keeping heart is so important that God tells us to make sure our children don't lose it. A child with a lost heart gives up and doesn't make a difference.
But, a child with heart, a braveheart, will grow and become who and what God intended. He will live out Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
My two dreams are only two dreams. There is a world of other needs and dreams out there, down the street and around the world. Wherever God leads a child, I hope that each is equipped and courageous to make a difference in ways that I can't begin to imagine. I hope and pray each one is a braveheart ready for God's adventure and use.