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Column by Carol Pipes

Love your neighbor
I met Mr. Balentine in the summer of 1993. I was a college student working for World Changers, now a ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources. A group of 10 high school students and their adult leaders had been sent to Mr. Balentine’s to make much-needed repairs to his home, which sat in a secluded cove of the Appalachian foothills.

What started as a simple painting and roofing project turned into a major rebuild. The only thing keeping the front wall attached to the house was a thin layer of shingles overhead. The entire house had to be razed and rebuilt.

At the end of the week, Mr. Balentine walked into his “new” home. Tears in his eyes, he remarked that his family could finally return and all live together.

His words are forever etched in my memory: “You’ve not only restored my home, you’ve restored my dignity.”

That summer and many mission trips later have opened my eyes to the hurting and neglected neighbors who live near and far. We live in a broken world. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, creation and humanity were scarred. Enter broken relationships. Deceit. Hunger. Corruption. Poverty. Disease. Envy. War. Death. These are just a few of the manifestations of a broken world. But God is in the restoration business.

When God raised Jesus from the dead, He proved there’s no scar He can’t heal. The gospel has the power to transform lives. That life-transforming gospel compels us to share God’s love with our words and moves us to minister through our actions. Christ’s command to love others includes—but is not limited to—caring about and providing for their physical well being. With Jesus as our model, we care for others by meeting them at their point of need and ministering to them physically and spiritually.

In this issue of On Mission, you’ll read about NAMB’s new LoveLoud initiative and how churches are demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human need in word and deed. Check out “Perspectives” on page 5 with guest columnist Al Gilbert, executive director of LoveLoud. In our cover section, you’ll discover how several churches are loving loud in their communities.

We hope this issue will help open your eyes to the hurting and neglected neighbors in your community. There are many more people like Mr. Balentine who need a love they can see—a love that can provide a new home and a new heart. They need to know about a Savior whose healing goes way beyond a new roof. I can almost promise that not far from you is a field rife with hurt but white unto harvest. This truly is the land of opportunity. An opportunity to love your neighbor as yourself.

Carol Pipes, editor | Follow me on Twitter, @CarolPipes

ON MISSION • Summer 2012 3

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