On June 12, 2008, a woman in Zimbabwe died as a result of political violence.
She was not the first, and she was not the last, but for some reason her death, on that day, changed my perspective.
At the time I was on a prayer campaign for Zimbabwe, trying to to enlist people to cover Zimbabwe in 24 hour a day prayer for three days; the day before, the day of, and the day following the run-off election.
I am not bringing this up now to do lesson on Zimbabwe's politics.
I am bringing it up because on that day I felt like I had to do something to let someone know what was going on in this country half way around the world.
I had emailed my prayer contacts about the escalating violence and the death of this woman, but I got no response.
I felt like no one cared, and that the world continued on without as much as blinking an eye at the atrocities taking place.
I had to get my feelings out there, so on June 12, 2008, I started this blog. My first post was about this woman who died. Her name was Dadirai.
I am saying this now because today I remembered why I started blogging.
I wanted to be a voice.
I didn't know if any one would ever read what I would write, but I left that in the hands of God. I thought maybe, if there is someone out there who He wants to recieve this information, He will lead them here. And I thought maybe, if even by accident, someone stumbled upon this blog, they would read something that moved them. And, even if it was by accident, I thought maybe someone would care.
This brings me to today. I have used my blog to tell many stories over the last couple of years. Some of them light-hearted, and some more serious. Some fun and some meaningful. All this to say:
I believe that what God has placed on my heart to share with you this next week will be more important than anything I have ever written.
I do not write those words lightly.
I planned on sitting down this afternoon to write a light-hearted post, because I realize so much has been serious lately.
But this morning I went to a conference. A Voice of the Martyrs conference.
And right now I am so overwhelmed by what my brothers and sisters are facing across the world, that it would be empty for me to write about anything else.
Today I stood in a room with members of the persecuted church from across the world. We sang together, with no instruments, no trained worship leaders, just our voices and our hearts surrendered. The words to 'I Have Decided to Follow Jesus' never had more meaning than today, when I sang them in a room with men and women who had sacrificed everything for their decision to follow Jesus.
Even through beatings, fires, churches blown up, homes destroyed, friends and family martyred, attempts on their lives, they sang "No turning back," and I saw what it meant:
NO TURNING BACK.
In the following days I will be posting stories of real people that are happening in real time.
I must warn that some will be intense. Some information will be more than you ever wanted to know. But I ask that you read them.
I will do my best to be a voice for Christians facing persecution around the world. I ask that you would honor them by reading their stories. I ask that you would honor them by allowing their voices to be heard.
And to all my friends who have stumbled upon this blog and stuck around, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. And thank you for caring.