There are sights in the poverty-stricken areas I’ve visited in several countries that are impossible to forget–they scar the memory. Going to a place like east Congo where so many differences are a product of war, greed, and atrocities, it would be easy to focus on things like trash strewn areas, hovels, children playing in a ditch. As the leader of a nonprofit shooting photos and video, how easy it would be to highlight needs and ply your heart-strings with sad melodies.
However, I set out on my trip with one Bible verse on my mind’s virtual billboard; it played across the ticker-tape of my vision level with my forehead as if I wore gamer glasses with this function.
…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
That God is alive and doing eternal work at the mission is more true than the trash on the street, that our staff pours in time and energy without regard for salary is honorable, that to see needs and meet them in whatever way we can is right, that the children’s delight in your small attentions–the smile or goofy dance–is pure, that the whole journey during the rainy season became a movement from one blossom to the next was lovely, that careful hands prepared meal after meal of African fare we’d never tasted was of good repute, that there was excellence and efforts worthy of praise at every turn, that my LORD says “think on these things” was the foundation of my travel journal and visual documentation.
Another translation says to “dwell on these things,” let your thoughts live, find their home, rest your being on the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent things, on whatever is worthy or praise. I pray this for you today. Let us help one another see these things even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:3) For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.(Psalm 96:4) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)
Kristin King is a Christian author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa. She recently returned from visiting FHA’s education mission in eastern Congo and is blogging from her travel journal about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.