There are few words more powerful within the craziness of life than "me too." When someone can honestly say that they have been where we are, that they have experienced what we are experiencing, that they made it through what is currently killing us, it extends light and hope into our situation. Loneliness is conquered by the stories of people who have been where we are because they offer a sense of finality to trial that can often only be gained with the perspective of time.
Everybody has a story.
I now have the honor of staffing a Discipleship Training School of 16 students. All of them are from different places in the world. They all have different families, backgrounds, experiences, and histories. The diversity of the group became apparent this week during a time of very real openness with one another. Every person had a different story; a battle with addiction, hard family lives, broken homes and broken hearts, betrayal, mistakes, hurt, and a lot of shame.
And as they shared, the miracle became apparent. It makes very little sense as to how these 16 individuals could have made it to this same season of their lives at the same time without some divine, governing purpose. There is power in their testimonies because the very fact that all of them are alive and here at this moment is a tale of the miraculous, and I believe that that has everything to do with the purpose of this DTS: Within their stories, they have everything - life, power, victory, success, freedom and love - to give.
I get to take a group of six of these students on outreach in September to Ghana and Togo, where we will use our stories to touch the lives of the people we meet. We will relate with those that the western world has forgotten because we ourselves have at some point fallen through the cracks. We will reach out to those who have been cast aside by culture and society because we know what it's like to be chosen last. We will tell our stories, and we will also tell theirs, for everyone has a story worth sharing. Every person deserves a voice, and in september of this year, we will set out and we will be a part of that Voice for the Voiceless in West Africa.
And as we share these stories, we hope and pray to see the world become a smaller place: Where we identify with one another regardless of race, where we learn from each other, where we see and we hear and we know how to treasure the stories of our brothers and sisters, because these are the stories that will change everything.