By Sam Harrell
“I am because we are” — Ubuntu — is a way of being, arising from the Bantu peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. I found it surprising then that I was so strongly reminded of that way in the context of a Passport Mission Camp worship service in Danville, Virginia. Full disclosure, I was there on a brief visit to my son who happened to be working his second summer with Passport, this time as worship leader.
Apart from obvious pride, what struck me was how for that one hour I sat surrounded by the future, a promising future. Kids from all over, kids from our churches — all races, nationalities, genders — hearing and celebrating messages in song and word of God’s faithfulness in times of pain, a message of love and inclusion modeled by the way of Jesus.
There were no gimmicks here, just a quality message delivered by a Passport-trained staff comprised of college and seminary students, delivered with an integrity and simplicity that would make any church envious.
No need for envy, however, these are the ones who will be leading our churches, beginning already and for our foreseeable future. And what they are communicating is not only a personal message of hope, it is a missional one. Not only do they offer their hands and feet in service to local communities, their offerings go to support the work of CBF field personnel serving in all parts of the world.
This summer’s offering will go to support the work of Jonathan and Tina Bailey, who have various art and community ministries in Bali, Indonesia. Passport offerings over the years have had a tremendous impact on our collective efforts. I know because our ministries in Kenya when my wife and I served as field personnel were the recipient of this offering on more than one occasion.
I came away feeling expanded and hopeful. With good reason too, because the “we are” that I witnessed during one hour at Passport in Danville, on the heels of the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro the week before, left me full to overflowing. Thanks be to God!
Sam Harrell serves as the CBF Associate Coordinator for Global Missions. To learn more about CBF partner Passport, Inc. and their opportunities to connect, visit www.passportcamps.org.