After I moved to Africa, a couple living in the US contacted me and said, “We’d like to make a financial contribution to help you with your ministry in Uganda.” Because my job at the time didn’t require that I raise funds, I thanked them but declined their generous offer.
When I was hiking in a park with my grandfather, our trail lassoed a lake at the bottom of a valley. As we walked, several smaller paths broke away from the main trail. Each time we came to a fork in the road, my grandfather let me choose which way to go. I always picked the steepest, rockiest, most difficult choice. My grandfather sighed a few times, but he took on the most challenging path for my sake.
In 2011, marine biologists around the globe were fixated on a pod of sperm whales in the North Atlantic Ocean; they had adopted a bottlenose dolphin calf. Jens Krause, a German behavioral ecologist, told one news source that sperm whales have “never been known to mingle this closely with another species.” Apparently the young dolphin had a spinal defect and couldn’t swim fast enough to keep up with other dolphins. But surprisingly, the sperm whales gathered the struggling dolphin into their fold.
Many odd and antiquated laws can be found around the world. In the UK, it’s an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing a British monarch upside-down, and in England specifically, it’s illegal to eat mince pies on the 25th of December. In one US state, women must get written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. In Milan, it’s a legal requirement to smile at all times—except for funerals and hospital visits.
She burned down her house and lives off the land in Africa. Her name is Jja Ja Nakibuuka. Leprosy has claimed her fingers and toes. She owns nothing, so children sometimes offer her food and small presents. When she greets the children and their mothers, Jja Ja Nakibuuka always says the same thing: “God is good, and He is coming back.”
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 15 years old. When my dad found out, he was heartbroken because of his differing religious beliefs. He couldn’t sleep well for the next several nights. He felt that he had failed as a father because he couldn’t keep his family together. His daughter had deserted the family tradition and chose to follow a “Western god.”
Nine-year-old Eileen approached a pack of older boys in a schoolyard. They were beating an autistic student who was lying on the ground curled up in the fetal position. She asked the bullies to stop hurting the other student. The boys did stop, but only to push Eileen to the ground, where they cursed at her and stepped on her before fleeing. The local autism center later honored Eileen and said, “She defended this boy because of her courage.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner lost a son to a degenerative disease—premature aging syndrome. He later wrote the bestseller When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Trying to maintain his belief in God, he said that God is either not good enough, since he allowed the sickness, or not powerful enough to prevent it. He chose the latter. According to Kushner, God created the world but isn’t in complete control of it. In other words, God hopes for our good and sympathizes with us in our pain, but He’s powerless to do anything about it.
Recently, I took a 17-hour road trip and my family and a foreign exchange student we were hosting were also along for the ride. To save time, we attempted to cut through a bordering country. We were turned away at the border, however, because our exchange student did not possess the right paperwork. Good security resulted in bad news for us. Disappointed, but undeterred, we took the long way to our destination.
Christians believe that Jesus is coming back again. A terrifying time of unprecedented persecution and suffering, destruction and death will precede His return, however (Revelation 6:1–16:21). Satan will cause havoc, severely persecuting those who believe in God.
In Indonesia, scientists have located remains of an ancient people that may have—over the years—shrunk due to what they call “island dwarfism.” The researchers have used the name hobbit to identify the remains. Though hobbits are fictitious creatures, we’re naturally curious about what might cause humans to grow smaller.
In the spring of 2013, North Korean church leaders requested that believers around the world pray for their country and the Christians who live there. They called for this intercession due to the saber-rattling of North Korea’s government, which had been conducting military exercises with war written all over them. One North Korean church leader stated at the time, “I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support. We know that our journey will not be an easy one. . . . Please pray for us.”