“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.” Yoda
I have an incredible amount of respect for people who tackle fear head on. The problem with fear is, if left unchecked it will lead you to a dark and lonely place of indecision, inactivity, and misery. Luke Skywalker was born a Jedi, but didn’t know it. He had to be trained. His skills honed to become what he was born to be.
One of my greatest friends, Chris Ladd, is in the process of becoming a Jedi. Chris is leaving Knoxville for a year-long internship in Louisiana. This will prepare him for mission work in Swaziland, Africa. Chris was born for this mission but it took years of training and learning before he was prepared to take this step. A step that will lead to other steps of training and growth.
Almost as long as my wife and I have been married, Chris has been a great friend. I have had the pleasure of being a part of the journey he’s been on for over a decade. Early on in our friendship, we went on my first adventure across the U.S. together (I still wear the bracelets we made from tent rope.), hiked many a trail together, even had, secret from my wife, rainy day video game marathons, and grew our friendship over many family dinners. When Sam and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, Chris was one of the first to know. Chris and I even invented the technique of “team driving”. Not as great as it sounds and not at all recommended; but it got us out of a couple of pickles. No matter the distance or time between us, we have been and will be great friends. He is my brother and part of my family.
I can’t express to you how valued Chris’s friendship is in a few hundred words but hopefully I can cause you to empathize, even a little with his importance to my family and to his calling. He will be working with a non-profit organization called Children’s Cup. They provide the basic life-saving needs of children in poverty. But more then that they are providing children with love and hope. Chris has been called to leave behind his family, worldly possessions, and all the comforts of his Western lifestyle to “care for the orphans.” James 1:27 He will provide the greatest gift…hope and love. I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate person for this mission.
Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope. J.M. Barrie
Here is a man who has quit his job, is following Jesus, and daily punching fear square in its stupid face. Chris, I am so honored to know you, to witness a small part of your journey and to call you Brother. My heart is both broken and excited. Broken for the void your absence will create and excited for the opportunities you will have in the future.