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15 Years in the Making: Don’t Give Up, Give In, or Give Out

This summer I had the wonderful joy of visiting Norway to attend the annual gathering of the Baptist World Alliance, then on to Paris for a few days, and Madrid for a week as part of a gift from our Board of Trustees recognizing my 10th year as president and CEO of Buckner International. While in Paris, my family visited the Louvre and stood in line to see the Mona Lisa, the most visited piece of art in the world. Leonardo Da Vinci painted Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a friend over a period of 16 years. The Mona Lisa is valued at $1 billion and generates $3 billion annually for the French government. Da Vinci did not give up, give in, or give out and could not have imagined the value this painting would someday hold.

When I arrived at Buckner 16 years ago, I thought it would be wise to consider Buckner ministry in Mexico, our neighbor to the south. We started in Mexico City and later moved our ministry to Oaxaca. Next week I’m headed to Oaxaca, Mexico, with staff and donors from the United States. We are hosting a gala celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Buckner Mexico NGO, which will be attended by nearly 150 local donors and dignitaries. On Wednesday, August 23, we are cutting the ribbon on a new Buckner Family Hope Center® in Oaxaca. We will also be giving a child in Mexico the five millionth pair of new shoes collected and distributed through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®. I am meeting with several local pastors and lecturing at a Catholic university and a Baptist seminary. In addition, our Communications team is collecting video stories of Buckner ministry. We have not given up, given in, or given out over the years, making the celebration of our work there even more meaningful.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christian churches of the region of Galatia with these words: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” One commentator suggested Paul included not giving up, not giving in to the latest philosophy, and not giving out in terms of energy regarding their witness. Giving up, Giving in, or Giving out means losing heart, losing enthusiasm, or becoming exhausted. The thrust of “opportunity” conveys a God-given, decisive moment, strategic nature, and part of his redemptive mandate. Finally, Paul stressed Christians should do good to all people, conveying the universal nature of his appeal. And, of course, especially to the family of faith. My enthusiasm for the growth of Buckner ministry has reached a new level of excitement, anticipation, and energy. I look forward to all the Lord has in store for us as we follow the example of Jesus by serving vulnerable children, families, and seniors.

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