Archives For July 2016

Give a car, change a life

This month, as a part of Compassion 100k we held an End it Now rally. Hundreds of Adventists from Atlanta gathered at Berean SDA Church to declare our opposition to the sinful practice of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.

The part that was most special to me was the ending. We gave a car to a domestic violence survivor, a mother with three children that is visiting one of the local churches. I am not an emotional person, but even I was moved to see how a mother that has a job, but no reliable transportation, kept repeating over and over to her kids: “look, this is for us, this is for us!”

These three things I learned:

1. Just because we can’t help everyone, doesn’t mean we can’t help someone.

One of the questions people ask is: “wouldn’t this create requests that will be overwhelming?” The short answer is not. This isn’t the first time its happened and we haven’t seen it happen. There are many Domestic Violence survivors in Atlanta. We just changed the life of one. We are grateful to God for the resources for that.

2. Unity maximizes impact.

During 2016 the city churches have been participating in an initiative called Compassion 100k. It was great to see Korean, Anglo, African Americans, Hispanics, Rumanians and many more gathered together. Some had never been in that area before. In a country sometimes deeply divided, the gospel shows that unity maximizes impact.

3. This is part of a process.

The next step is to provide free health care on Sunday August 28th. (volunteers needed, ask me how or wrote khernandez@southernunion.com) Then an evangelism initiative. Compassion needs to become a lifestyle not an initiative.

 

Thanks for praying for us!

Do we believe black people?
This week was a tough one. The loss of life, from different walks of life, was difficult and painful for all, but especially for the African American community. Since I am an Adventist pastor I will share one question from an Adventist perspective that has been on my mind for a while:
Do we believe black people? Specifically, black Adventists?
Do we believe them when they tell us that they live in fear of the police? Do we believe them when they say they experience racism on a regular basis? Do we believe them when they share their anxiety at the judicial system? Do we believe them when they talk about their life experience? Do we believe them when they say that typing #blacklivesmatter does not mean others don’t? Do we believe them, period?

I wish I could say we did.

The silence in the pulpits, deflection online, calls for patience when justice is warranted and negative reaction on social media say otherwise.
A good example is the call for prayer from the NAD Administration. I am so proud of my NAD leadership showing compassion in a time of grief. The reaction on social media was varied, mostly split by racial lines. Go check it out. Statements like (I paraphrase)
*Slavery was good because it made black people more spiritual
*I am ashamed of my church
*Stop stirring race wars
*This is part of the liberal agenda
So the question is, again, do we believe black Adventist or not?

Here are three final thoughts:
1. You can use your platform to express your condolences, and acknowledge that the pain is real. They need to know we get it, we grieve with them, and we love them.

2. Supporting a grieving community does not mean you are anti-cop, a follower or George Soros or pushing a political agenda.

3. The black community cares about the murders in Chicago. Stop using that as a deflection. When my wife comes to talk to me about a problem she had at work that day that caused her pain, I don’t tell her: hey but what about the problem you and your mom had last night? I listen and acknowledge the pain THIS problem is causing, RIGHT NOW. Let’s believe them when they say this is a problem!
Take some time to listen to our African American brother and sisters. I just want to say, at least from me and my house. We love you. We hear you. We believe you.