Monday, November 03, 2008

true north

As I write, Stephen Mogga Wani is on his way back to Sudan.
And I am sad . . .

I've never met anyone quite like Stephen. He had favor with God and men wherever he went. As my daughter, Candyce, put it: "People just threw money at him. And laptops!" And he never asked for anything. Stephen just shared his story--when asked--and people responded.

From the first time I met Stephen, the biblical description "pure and unstained by the world" came to mind. As he became more comfortable in our culture, I worried a bit that he would be corrupted or tainted by it.

But I needn't have worried. Like a compass pointing toward true north, Stephen kept his heart aligned toward Jesus.

Stephen didn't have a judgemental bone in his body and never spoke a word of condemnation against the western church or American culture. But his orientation toward the Truth often revealed how out-of-alignment my own heart was. As he retired to his room each night to pray and worship, I was convicted of my own prayerlessness. As he sat on our couch and watched endless episodes of reality TV with the family, Stephen always a kind of faraway look in his eyes--a yearning for the true adventures that come with following God. He never complained, but I became uncomfortably aware of my laziness and lack of compassion for the lost.

I will (and already do) miss Stephen. But I know that he is a gift from God and that this humble African man will consistently remind me where True North lies.