By Ed Lyons
In Philippians 4, Paul instructs us to stand fast in the Lord (v 1), rejoice in the Lord always (v 4), be gentle and kind to all men (v 5), and be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God (v 6). If we follow these instructions, Paul says the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (v 7).
Paul does not stop there. In the next verse, he tells us where to focus our minds. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” It is all about renewing our minds each minute of every day. Guarding our thoughts. Focusing on the good.
In this vein, I would like to shine a spotlight on the Active Compassion of some wonderful ministry partners in Florida. Carol and Lewis began supporting Persecution Project 16 years ago this month. Over those years, they have been actively connecting their community with the persecuted community in the two Sudans. They were doing “peer-to-peer networking” before it became a thing. They just called it “loving your neighbor.”
Carol started her journey by showing PPF videos to churches and youth groups, raising funds for where they were most needed.. She then organized church bake sales in Lake City and Live Oak, Florida.
A local faith-based school asked Carol to speak at their chapel about PPF’s outreaches, and she showed them one of our DVDs. Carol and Lewis then started organizing three “Walk for Water” events. Two were in O’Brien, FL and one was in Lake City around Lake Desoto with nearly 200 participants. These events involved babies in strollers to 80-year-olds with walkers. The younger participants had sponsors.
Carol called churches and spoke to pastors. She followed up by sending them a pastor’s pack, which included PPF materials and information, and asked if they would be interested in having her speak to their congregations or to small groups within their churches. This led to speaking engagements at churches, senior luncheons, and women’s groups throughout north and central Florida. Lewis travels with Carol, faithfully driving her wherever she speaks.
Carol includes PPF newsletters with some of her Christmas cards, and writes letters of encouragement to Nuba pastors, Dr. Ahmed, Medina, and Cabina. She has added many ministry partners to our organization because of her Peer-to-Peer contacts. She talks about our medical services with her physicians, signs all of our petitions, and donates in memory and honor of others, so others can hear about our work. She wears PPF t-shirts to start conversations, and most recently (during the Covid quarantine), she arranged for a live international radio show interview for us. In addition to all of these activities, she prays for PPF and our donors and sends encouraging notes to PPF staff and board members.
If love is a verb, then Carol and Lewis are overflowing with love. Just listing all of their activities on behalf of the persecuted Christians in Sudan is inspiring. They are truly pouring themselves out for others and are examples for us all. May we all learn to make the most of every opportunity and Get Active for the Persecuted!