Please Don’t Give – Invest.

If you know anything about venture capitalism, you know angel investors don’t dump a million dollars on MIT kids in a garage just to be nice. They do it because they believe in the idea or an undervalued company and expect to reap boatloads of cash.

Which got me to thinking about my soon-to-be friends Telise and Fidelise in Zambia.

Six years ago, Telise and Fidelise were orphans in the capitol city of Lusaka. They were passed from family to family because nobody could afford to raise them. Finally, their grandmother left them with Pastors Jasper and Zion Mutale – the people I am going to work for in July.

This was them six years ago.

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This is them today.

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Jasper and Zion poured the love and mercy of Jesus Christ into them. Now, Telise (left) dreams of being a pilot or an engineer. Mama Zion says he’s intelligent, really funny and has learned to play the guitar.

But this is where my heart skips.

Take a look at the top picture again. Look at Fidelise on the left, look at her eyes. Zion said she doesn’t talk about it much, but during her orphan days, she was “mistreated” and it affects her confidence. Do you know what Fidelise dreams of doing with her life? She wants to be a lawyer and defend poor people and orphans.

My friends, these companies are undervalued.

These kids have the potential to do massive damage to the enemy that messed with them. They just need some angel investors, people like us who can help get them to the private high school, where they can get an education befitting a future lawyer and engineer.

I’m not asking you to give toward their educations which cost about $1200 a year each, I’m asking you to invest because there’s something in it for you.

Jesus said:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. Luke 6:38

The Apostle Paul said:

Let us not become wearing in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10

Malachi the prophet said:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

Of course, you might donate just because it feels good to give or you’re an attentive follower of Jesus. But if you want to give just to see what will come back, God says in Malachi it’s ok – give it a whirl.

Online fundraising for Team Kirk to Zambia 2013

In July, I’m going to meet these kids face to face and I’m going to tell them about you, by name – Americans who want to help them go to school.

Will you join me? If you click that little widget and make a tax-deductible contribution to SCRUBS Medical Mission, you’re not kissing your cash goodbye, you’re sowing seed into the ground, investing for your future harvest.

I’m Going To Africa.

Three years ago, I decided to quit living my life theoretically. I knew probably half of it was over, and while it had been amusing, the impact I grew up wanting to make on the world, was negligible.

So I picked up The Bible and read it, twice, and began doing what it says. The book changed me.

DSC06746 - Version 2As such, I’m going to Chongwe, Zambia, in July, to work with SCRUBS Medical Mission in a school with 100 children, bad plumbing, a failing well and five unpaid staff.

On top of feeding and educating 100 kids, from their own shallow pockets, Founding Pastors Jasper and Zion Mutale are raising ten orphans. When SCRUBS shows up, pregnant women and new mothers walk for miles for well baby care and health education. There are chicken coops to build, plumbing to fix, kids to hug and medical needs beyond counting.

I grew up wanting to be a person like Jasper and Zion, but at home in Texas, I think about it, get overwhelmed and then go shopping. So I’m going to Zambia for two weeks to learn what faith in action looks like from people who pray “give us this day our daily bread” and mean it literally.

I’m so far outside my comfort zone, I can’t even see it anymore. The Africa part doesn’t scare me. I’m overwhelmed that I have to raise $4200 by April. I’m overwhelmed by the medical, construction and agricultural support this little community is pleading for. I’m overwhelmed that I may be the one to shepherd 20 Texans, some on their first trip out of the United States, through Zambian customs.

So I just keep saying this:

I am determined and confident! I am not afraid or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go. Joshua 1:9 (adapted from GNT)

Maybe you’re looking for something too. Are you looking…

…to do, not everything, but something to bless people who need it?
…to sow into proven, fertile soil?
…to love, as Jesus said, not with words and speech but action and truth?
…to support someone you know whose hands will be dirty on your behalf?

If so, will you help me? Will you consider sending a check (tax-deductible) to:

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SCRUBS Medical Mission
15434 Brittain Court
Lindale, Texas 75771

Please make sure to write the check to SCRUBS and put Erin Kirk in the memo line.

SCRUBS is a registered 501c3 Non-Profit. You can check them out at scrubsmedicalmission.org. Sam and I know them. They are good eggs, doing it right: Board, independent accountant, etc.

I’m taking an iPad to Zambia because you all know I’ll have plenty to say about this. Though we’ll be in a bush village, we are only 45 miles outside of the capital city of Lusaka. We can connect there, so I can introduce you to our new friends.

Thank you for considering this. The rest is up to God.

On Taking Things For Granted

The other night, Tim Garland of SCRUBS Medical Mission described what it is like to be peed on by a child that isn’t yours, knowing a shower is nowhere in sight.

“Somehow, it doesn’t bother me.”

At the Light-Hope School in Chongwe, Zambia, a child, who is literally and figuratively hungry, is likely to crawl into your lap to be held. Sometimes they fall asleep and pee.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls (Photo credit: tonymz)

Why am I desperate to go on this upcoming medical mission trip to Zambia? Why do I want to sleep in a crowded grass hut, in a village with dirty water, hungry children and people who walk for miles for help with an infected tooth. Why do I want to go somewhere for two weeks and make a negligible dent in human suffering?

Because I believe the gospel, but I take it for granted.

What if you never heard of a God who so loved the world he sent his son to save it? What if you never heard of Isaiah who predicted a savior would come and announce:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1

Jesus showed up 700 years later and said: “I’m Him, I’m the one you’re waiting for.”

Doesn’t that sound like good news? Especially if you’re broken-hearted, mourning, captive or poor?

It’s unbelievable of course, and yet here are a bunch of his followers, rich Americans not eating overpriced hot dogs at Disneyland but kneeling in the dirt, hungry and unshowered too, cleaning a wound on a child they don’t know. Why would they do such a thing?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Initially, I believed going to Zambia was about bringing my skills to them, but that’s silly, I’m not that skilled. Rather, I think God just wants my faith, so he can show me miracles. He wants to show me what He can do among people – African and American – who will believe Him without disclaimer.

Why can’t I do that in Texas?

Because I don’t know how. I’m stupefied by my own excess, the petty tyranny of my first world problems and what passes for Christian behavior in our culture. I don’t have enough faith to say “give us this day, our daily bread” and mean it literally.

So I’m planning to take what little I’ve got and lay it before God, and do what he asks:

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8