When did you last meet someone inspirational? Last week? Last month? Can't remember?
There must be a ton of inspirational people in my home country: I guess I'm not that good at looking (or are they in short supply?).
However, it hit me the other day: I've been in Africa for over four months and have been swamped by inspirational people. This is a tribute to SOME of those people. Once you've met them, you never forget them. They wouldn't want me to write their names. They're not those kind of people.
I know a guy who lives in a remote village where the bullets fly, the snakes are lethal and every day is a struggle. His wife and four young children are at risk, no question about that. Spend a little time with this man and you can see that he loves his kids as much as any father. He explained to me that whilst it is hard to risk your own life to share the good news about Jesus, it is considerably harder to put your own family in the firing-line next to you. He feels the weight of that decision every day. He and his wife know God called them to that place, whatever the cost. Every day they could press the eject button and plant their kids into a 'safe' neighbourhood, but Christ will always come first for them. They have to share the hope they have found, with the destitute and those who gave up on hope years ago.
I know a young lady who screams as loud as anyone about large bugs with wings, lightning-fast spiders, cockroaches in the bathroom and an endless variety of the slimy and the venomous. But she came to Africa anyway, choosing to live off the grid, far from hospitals, in the thick of 'insect alley'. Why? Because she wasn't going to let her fears get in the way of what God wanted her to do.
I know a Muslim lady who heard about Christ as a young girl and realised that it was the truth. Knowing that becoming a Christian would mean that her family would throw her out and perhaps even kill her, she converted anyway. As a result, she was pursued by an angry mob of youths, wanting to murder her. Desperately she ran. The last few moments of a life? Blind with fear, she stumbled into the house of a kind Christian couple, whilst the thugs surrounded the house. As she quivered in a heap on the floor, the man of the house went to his entrance, and suggested that if anyone wanted to see her, they would have to get past him first. The crowd evaporated. Today, this girl has grown to be the mother of several wonderful children and is a pastor's wife.
I know a couple who have invested their whole life into one community, helping them to have a Bible written in their own language: the words of eternal life in their own tongue. The couple's whole life became focused in on this single purpose - to supply a Bible for a forgotten people group. Only last month, they found themselves stuck overnight in a swamp in bandit country and days later were shot at from point blank range. Miraculously, they were unharmed. They have been dodging death for decades!
I know a man who has inspired ALL these people (and me) - Jesus Christ. They love him. They follow him. In the words of Jesus: (Matthew 16)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?