This is What Love Does – Part 1

Erin Kirk:

At the end of this month I’m headed to Chicago for the Storyline Conference with Donald Miller, Bob Goff, Shauna Niequist and Glennon Melton. – writers I talk about a lot around here.

I attended the first ever Love Does Conference about 18 months ago in Seattle. I wrote about it and how Bob Goff regularly changes my life. Thought it was worth a reblog. Happy Saturday.

Originally posted on Going to the Sea:

This is the first in a series about the 2013 Love Does Stuff Conference, hosted by NYT bestselling author, justice seeker and Jesus lover Bob Goff.

Photo Credit: Lisa Long

Photo Credit: Lisa Long

On my flight home from Seattle yesterday, I imagined what it will be like when Bob Goff meets Jesus Christ in person.

Of course, I hope that doesn’t happen for another 50 years or so, because I need Bob in this world teaching me how to love people like Jesus did. He’s better at it than anyone I know.

Bob is a living, breathing disciple of Christ, a first-century apostle on a stage with balloons, hollering about fireworks and felons and child soldiers in Uganda, exhorting us to expand our territory and L-O-V-E  people so extravagantly that the world thinks we’re nuts.

Because that’s what Bob does. That’s what love does.

But when he’s done here and we are all…

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How It Looks When the Blind See

When people ask me what Mercy Ships does, I usually have to take a deep breath and gather myself, so I don’t startle them.

The official answer is: Mercy Ships operates the largest, civilian hospital ship in the world. It’s a floating, western, surgical ward doing orthopedics, fistula repair, cleft palate and plastic surgeries on the poorest of the world’s poor – primarily in Africa. We follow the 2,000 year model of Jesus – the blind see and the lame walk.

I tell them that, then I tell the eye stories.

Mercy ShipsClick here to watch this one minute video, as the bandages are removed from these women.

The women were featured on a Swedish television show last week. It was a cooking show, wherein the host goes interesting places and cooks things. A few months ago, she came to the Africa Mercy, while it was docked in Pointe Noire, Congo. If you have time and speak Swedish you can watch the whole show. Evidently, one-third of the Swedish population did.

During our ten-month field service in the Republic of Congo, our volunteer eye surgeons performed nearly 1,000 cataract surgeries. In other words, 1,000 people who were blind, can now see – including these two. In addition, Mercy Ships staff performed another 1,900 cataract procedures and mentored eight local ophthalmologists and nurses.

You see, if you develop cataracts in the United States you can make an appointment for a 15 minute surgery and regain your sight in a week. If you develop cataracts in Africa – a malady particularly common in the equatorial nations – and you’re poor, you just go blind. That means you cannot work, which usually means you and your family cannot eat.

Following Jesus’ example, Mercy Ships is restoring people – one by one. Restoring their vision, their bodies, their dignity and very often their place in the community.

You can help us you know. To get involved click here.

*The views expressed herein are my own and not that of Mercy Ships.

Why We’re Better Together

Welcome NiceLaughter bubbling out of a room full of women is my favorite sound. Especially when, two hours before, they didn’t know each other.

At Love Dinner #10 last night, one woman made a comment about God opening doors for us. But lately, she said, hers feel like a trap door to a slide. Everyone died laughing. Each of those gorgeous women sitting in my living room, sipping coffee, or cross-legged on the floor poaching blackberries from the fruit salad, know that feeling. Articulating it makes us allies.

Everybody brought something hard to the table last night and then we prayed. We’ve learned that fueling up together readies us to get back out in the world and do what Jesus said: Love God and love each other. We’ve also learned that the second command doesn’t work right without the first.

Luckily, once you get to know Jesus, it’s easy to love Him.

When Jesus is in your midst, it’s like listening to the best piece of music you’ve ever heard, while drinking a glass of wine and watching the sunset turn the mountains pink.

All that goodness, all that grandeur is at once overwhelming and still somehow incomplete. That’s why we jump up and run into the house looking for someone to share it with. Then when we stand shoulder to shoulder on the deck, in a moment of unscripted silence, just gazing at it, absorbing it together, that’s when it’s finally perfect.

That’s the magic of Jesus + us, and the purpose of Love Dinner. To be so overcome by the dazzling presence of Jesus, that we run brimming and sparkling, back out into our broken, sad world saying “Come quick. You have to see this.”