Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Gary A Haugen: Just Courage

I recently heard Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission, speak during the Leadership summit at Willow Creek. I stepped out of the auditorium, bought his book, stepped back in and asked him to sign my copy. And now I’ve finished reading his book, Just Courage. I think If I had not already been full-time involved in mission and an AIDS ministry in Swaziland, I would have been inspired to join them. I see people around me – Christians – who will die one day without having made the slightest difference to God’s Kingdom on earth. OK, this is unfair. I shouldn’t think like this, because God may be using people in ways that I cannot see or understand. But I do believe that there are many Christians today (and I say this because some have told me so) who are losing out on the adventure to serve God.
Gary was the director of the United Nations genocide investigation in Rwanda, and being confronted as a young lawyer with the atrocities that had happened in this country, he realised that there were millions of people in the world who were suffering in some way because of gross injustice and he decided to devote his life to become a voice for these people. During the Leadership Summit, video clips were shown of some of the work this group is doing. It was painful to watch but at the same time also gave me hope, knowing that there are people out there making a difference.
There are times when I have to ask myself whether we are doing enough. Obviously the answer is “No.” When will we ever be able to say that we’ve done enough? When all the injustice in the world has been rectified? When AIDS has been stopped? When poverty has been eradicated? Fact is, we’re living in a sinful world and until the Second Coming of Christ, we will be fighting against injustice, sickness, poverty and many other forms of wrong.
My ministry changed – in fact, my life changed – the day when I decided that I want to get directly involved in the AIDS problem of Swaziland. We’re not solving the problem. Neither I nor our church will one day be hailed as the people who had brought the solution to Swaziland. But some people at least have experienced hope through what we have done and I pray that we will be enabled to do much more. And even if this was not true, the least I can say is that my Christian life has truly become an adventure – something which I will not want to exchange for anything else in the world.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 - Posted by | AIDS, Church, HIV, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Hope, Mission, Poverty, Social issues, Support teams, Swaziland, Theology


  1. This is a great post because you bring up a good point that I think some churches and Christians are missing….the fact that we can’t solve the problems, the poor will always be with us and until Christ’s coming, and problems like AIDS, poverty etc will continue, but as Christians we still need to minister to people’s needs. Maybe we cannot solve the problem, but I don’t think God called us to solve the problem, he called us to share his love and share how they can know Christ and have a relationship with Him. We can do this by ministering to their physical needs. And yes, it’s an amazing adventure that I wish every Christian could experience!

    Comment by Michelle | Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks Michelle. I appreciate your response.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] slavery. His book, Just Courage, is a must-read. I wrote a review on this book which you can read here. Although I love reading, I do find that my time is getting more and more restricted and a book […]

    Pingback by David Batstone: Not for Sale « Mission Issues | Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Reply

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