Engaging Others…

Lane Davis in Sudan

Photo by Taylor Martyn while on assignment in Sudan

Last year I had an incredible opportunity to travel for 9 months for a New Zealand based Christian humanitarian, development, and relief organization.  My job was to visit many of their partners across Africa and Asia, listen to their stories, hear their hearts, see their life and try in the best way possible to capture a glimpse of that through photography.  To many of you, this is old news and I’ve been very grateful for you all that followed along the journey with me.

It’s now been just over 5 months since I first came back.  It’s so hard to imagine.  Really.  At times it seems like it was yesterday.  At others it seems like ages ago. Time has a weird way of messing with your mind I reckon.

It’s been hard to process all that I saw.  Maybe “hard” isn’t the right word.  I think it’s more often I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to “process”.  Honestly, what does that really mean?

Since my time back in the states I’ve been asked to speak at multiple engagements.  Churches, chapels, Rotary meetings, Colleges, etc.  As I’ve prepared topics for each talk their seems to be one recurring theme as I think about things I’ve learned from my travels.  I saw it everywhere I went.  The story was the same.  Sure… different people, different circumstances – but the same story.  People have an encounter where they are introduced to Jesus, they accept, begin reading the scriptures (often times the gospels), and begin to see a need in their community that the scriptures they are reading calls them to respond to. So they do. They begin meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of those around them.  In their community.  It’s simple.  It’s like witnessing a modern version of the Book of Acts everywhere I went.

I often talk on this subject.  And I think we in western christianity have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in the third world.  We make this whole christian thing way too complicated. It’s not supposed to be that way.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been thinking more about this and how it affects me personally.  For over a year and a half I’ve been a vagabond.  The longest I’ve been anywhere in that time was here in Dallas these last 2 months at my friends Apt. and even then half of that time I was out of town. I just signed a six month lease on a rent house and it seems weird to be “settling down” again. I’ve grown accustomed to living out of a suitcase. But this vagabond thing has been an excuse. It’s been a wall to hide behind from engaging others with the love of Jesus. I blame the fact that I don’t have a home, a community, a base, as a reason to not engage people. “I’m not anywhere long enough to get involved in a ministry” I tell myself. I look at these stories and think “Yeah, if I had a community or somewhere I lived, I could do the same thing.”

The reality; however, is that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s not about programmed ministries that we in America are so great at building. It’s simply about loving people. Having a heart for others and being aware of those around us… wherever we are, for however long we are there.  Whether that be five minutes or five years. Jesus wasn’t planted in some town and did his ministry only there. He engaged and loved people everywhere he went.  Take a moment today and notice those around you.  Engage.  Love.