Greetings from the Meads!
We returned from our CURE International meeting with medical directors, spiritual directors, executive directors, and U.S. CURE staff. We joined together in Pennsylvania to celebrate and discuss the business of CURE. The highlight of the meeting for me occurred Thursday. We had a celebration dinner. Construction of the first CURE hospital was started 20 years ago in Kijabe, Kenya. Amazing! Since then, many children and their families have visited CURE to be provided emotional, spiritual, and physical care. CURE has expanded widely across the globe. CURE’s founders, Dr. Scott and Sally Harrison, also attended the dinner and shared the history of CURE’s birth. I love to hear the stories of how God will take an opportunity and then use it in unexpected ways.
The meeting allowed me to get to know some of the CURE team serving around the world. Some of the people I have worked with for years, and others were new to me. We were, indeed, a diverse staff: tall and short; light and dark; European; North American; Caribbean; Indian; Middle Eastern; African; Australian; and far Eastern. We spoke a variety of languages, and favorite foods varied widely. Most did not like the cold.
Yet, within this diversity, there is unity. We have joined CURE to care for children with physical disabilities in the developing world. We believe that physical care is only one aspect of truly caring for people. Our medical platform allows people to hear why we do what we do. We introduce them to Jesus. CURE does not turn people of other belief systems away, nor do we make a family sit through a lecture to receive medical care. Rather, we love and care for their children first. We work on developing a relationship, and we allow each party to share their heart. For many, this is the first time anyone has taken time to listen.
CURE International is not a perfect organization. We make mistakes. CURE is working across the globe in many difficult regions and cultures. Despite trying to understand and work within a specific culture and country, we will step on toes. Our medical work will appear to be a threat to some working in the same country. CURE will be misunderstood by people, governments, and even our own staff. As with any organization, you can look and find problems and methods you disagree with on occasion.
But CURE is out in the world doing “something.”
Many people will sit comfortably in their chairs fully-fed and sharply dressed in a warm home, and then complain about the state of the world. “Someone needs to do something!”
Change starts with you. You must decide to get out of the chair and do “something.” What that something is varies from person to person. The choices are vast in number, but they all start with you.
Maybe today you will decide to become a better dad or mom. You will love your spouse as Christ loves you. You will reach out to the homeless. You will become a better neighbor or friend. You will become the best boss or worker possible. You will volunteer your time, talents, and treasures to change that one thing that stirs your heart. No, this first step will not change the world. A one-week trip to central Africa will not change the whole culture, stability, and economics of a continent, but it is “something.”
Many people making small changes over and over will affect change. One man or woman with a vision of what could be, should be, and needs to be now can initiate a cascade of change. Wilberforce—through repetitive striving and sheer determination—pushed through the abolition of the slave trade in the U.K. Scott and Sally Harrison stepped out with a vision of a network of teaching hospitals caring for children with physical disabilities in the developing world. Someone envisioned a man walking on the moon. Really? Planes, trains, and automobiles all started out as an outlandish vision of a person saying, “Why not?”
“Why not” are my two words to drive 2017. You can look at “why not” in two ways. One person looks and starts by listing all the reasons we should remain in the status quo no matter how miserable. They have all sorts of valid, or not so valid, reasons not to change. The other group is those who see problems as challenges seeking solutions. “Why not?” may require a complete change of approach and thinking. “Why not?” often encounters trials, opposition, and pain. The other end of the tunnel of change opens up a different world. Change does not magically occur as you sit comfortably in the present. Change requires you to see that vision, take a risk, and step out boldly. A bold vision will demand careful planning, counsel, and time. Opposition will come. Few people enjoy change during the process. Others will not understand or accept your vision. You may be tempted to retreat to the comfort of the past, seeking your easy chair.
Theodore Roosevelt created a quote I love. He talks to those stepping out.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
I like to think those serving at CURE International, and all our valiant supporters, are in the arena. We are in the fight to make change. We are striving in His grip.