Monday, April 1, 2013

Faith Alive Book Dedication with Bags of Cow

How many authors share their book dedication with a cow slaughter? Just me, as far as I know. 

The slaughter actually happened in the morning on January 9, evidenced by blood stains in the grassy playground, and freshly watered-down basketball court, at Faith Alive's Kiddies' Park. 150 black baggies (filled with pieces of fresh cow meat) sat in plastic buckets ready for staff to hand out like Christmas gifts after the dedication. 

I started the book dedication later that afternoon in Jos, Nigeria at the Faith Alive hospital by saying, "Thank you all for coming to the Faith Alive book dedication. I'm going to talk about the book, but I know what most of you are thinking--cow, cow, cow." We laughed, but I had spoken the truth. Most of the staff (and some Muslim patients who'd heard Dr. Chris Isichei's invitation that morning to share the cow meat) hadn't been paid for a few months.The hospital's main donor hadn't paid for a while, leaving many of the staff to beg and borrow from their relations and friends for food, housing, and school fee assistance. 

Given that stark reality, what message could I offer to my Nigerian family? 

"I wrote the book of true stories about the hospital and some of you so that others around the world might have hope that God redeems even the worst suffering and pain. Yet I look at you today and think that the book is for YOU. When you read these stories, remember that God is faithful, He has not forgotten you, and that He will redeem even this difficult time."

Praise God, things are now working out with the hospital's main donor. Staff are again getting paid for their hard work. 

The hospital's situation reminds me that the Faith Alive book--and its message--aren't a "happily ever after" fairy tale. Life is hard. It's especially difficult in Jos. But God has redeemed, is redeeming, and will continue to redeem our struggles. 

If you doubt that, consider that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and is ALIVE so that we, too, might live abundantly. He is risen; He is risen indeed!

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