Preach the Gospel to Every Creature

It’s sometimes said that the hardest thing to kill is an idea. Ideas can plant themselves inside your head, and become contagious. It spreads from one person to the next with one contact. Doesn’t even need to be physically present and it can spread. An idea, when truly believed, can bond mankind together, can topple governments, is worth dying for. A common idea shared amongst a group of peoples has led to revolutions. Has forced president’s out of power. Have caused dictators to flee.

There was one particular group that was started in the earlier part of the 20th century. Like all ideas, it started small and humbly. But as one person shared with others, this group began to grow. Some saw them as nothing unique, others bonded to the ideology of this group. Within 9 months of when a small group of a few men formed their organization, their group had spread to 42 chapters. It grew so quickly and became so exoteric that even national governments began to take notice and attempt to control this new idea. But it was too late to stop it. What started out with 3 people became hundred, then thousands, and even millions, across continents and dozens of countries. This group, as we know it today, is called the True Jesus Church.

Evangelism seems to have become much harder today. Our church grew at a rate of 5 new churches per month in the first year of its inception. But today, we struggle to reach more than one a decade (at least in the US). Mark 16:15 – Evangelism is a command. We’ve heard and read it countless times. We know all the evangelism-related passages by heart, maybe even studied the original Greek text. But more importantly, what have we done about it?

Consider evangelism from 3 points:

(1)    Where did we come from? Recall the past
(2)    Where are we now? Measure the present time
(3)    Where should we go from here? Act for the future

Matthew 28:19-20 – known as the “great commission”. It starts with a command: “Go”. Jesus’ intention is for us to take action. An explicit command to evangelize – Go. Make disciples of all nations. With this command, the apostolic church started, having just 120 people in Jerusalem. Of these 120, many were women, some were uneducated, most had never been outside Palestine. But within a few decades, the gospel was preached throughout the entire Roman Empire. Everyone preached. Apostles. Deacons. Believers. They preached everywhere they went. They preached in good times, in persecution, in prison. Come the Day of Pentecost: 120 became 3,000 members. Then from 3,000 to 5,000 shortly after that

Miracles abounded. Peter’s shadow could heal the sick. Paul’s handkerchief could cast out demons. The early TJC was the same – the Holy Spirit worked mightily. Miracles seem to not be as common today. In fact, they’re rare. There is a correlation to our reduced frequency of preaching and evangelizing. Correlation is not causation, but consider what the purposes of miracles are. They are a sign for unbelievers. If we do not preach, why would God perform miracles? Don’t wait for God to perform a miracle first before going out to preach

1 Thess 1:5 – The word is just the first part. With it comes the power and the Holy Spirit. The same power received by the apostolic church and early TJC is the power we have today

Next important question is “Where are we now?”

Hot? Cold? In between? Are we constantly thinking about our Father’s business and His gospel. Frequently pray for others. Or are we too busy with our own personal business, having no urgency to preach, saying to ourselves, “next time.” We lead very busy and complicated lives today. We’re caught up in our studies or careers. Attending service is relegated to a leisurely activity.

The gospel has lost its impact on us. The apostolic church’s zeal was fueled by an external factor and an internal factor. Externally was the tremendous miracle of Christ’s resurrection. Today we hear the message so often – Christ resurrected from the dead – that we are inured to its significance. But to the apostolic church, it was a powerful push. The death of today’s celebrities make the news for days, if not weeks – when people hear about it they immediately share it with others, even though we didn’t personally know them – this is similar to the behavior the believers of the apostolic times would have had. The resurrection of Christ was such a big deal to them that they shared it with everyone they could tell. If it were today, they would have put it only Twitter right away. #HeisRisen

Internally, was the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they were compelled to preach. Peter told the Sanhedrin – “We cannot but speak of the things we have seen and heard.” They couldn’t help it. Look at new converts today – they are often very zealous about preaching. To someone who has believed for a very long time, the message has become trite. To someone who has just been convicted of the gospel, it is everything in the world. Remember our first love – the moment we first came into contact with the gospel; the moment we first believe; the moment we were baptized; the moment we first experienced God; the moment we first received the Holy Spirit – how great it was.

Fear of failure is another obstacle we must overcome. Admittedly, the rate of success is extremely low. It requires much time invested and the response rate doesn’t equal out. We want to be like Peter: one sermon pierces the heart of everyone listening. But we need to work very hard to persuade one person to change their views. At the school of Tyrannus, Paul reasoned every day with the people there for years (Acts 19:9).

Let God’s love inspire you. Though evangelism is a command, it reflects the nature of God – love. John 3:16 – evangelism is intertwined with love. Everlasting life is only obtainable because of God’s love. In order for others to obtain it, we much evangelize. Don’t be happy merely with the fact that we’re saved and not care about all the people who have not yet heard about Christ. The members of the apostolic church and early TJC may not have been the most educated, but they knew about God’s love, and that was enough to move them to preach to all of creation

TJC is approaching its centennial. In 2010, TJC worship locations were set up in 58 countries. Membership was estimated around 1.5M. Last month, ministers from the UK reported that they were able to establish the first TJC in Malawi, with 91 newly baptized members. But where are we on the home front? it’s time to double our efforts.

Hopeful Waiting

If you’ve ever owned a dog, you may remember how a dog waits patiently and ever hopefully for its owner to come home. When it hears the school bus pass by in the afternoon or hears the garage door opening in the evening, it eyes widen and ears perk up. It dashed to the door and sits there waiting, tail wagging, until the door opens, upon which is unleashes a barrage of loving kisses and pounces.
Being able to look forward to someone’s return or to have hope in something yet to come is healthy to our lives. Hope keeps us grounded and gives us purposes. But two difficulties accompany hope – the risk of disappointment and waiting. If we are to put our hope in men, we will meet disappointment time after time. In contrast, God is faithful and never disappoints those whose hopes lie in Him. However, He does require some waiting.
God chose Joseph to preserve Israel during a time of severe famine. As a young man, Joseph received revelation from God that he would succeed into a position of power and authority. But not long after that, Joseph was plunged into a world of darkness and anguish, pleading with his brothers not to sell him to the Ishmaelites, then being led through the turbulence of serving as a slave in Potiphar’s house, being accused of sexual assault, and being imprisoned for years. Day after day, Joseph thought about when the dream would come true. Day after day, he waited wondering if the chief cup bearer would remember him, until finally, God’s time had come for him.
Perhaps we are still waiting. Waiting for our family to change, for our church to grow, for God’s promised Holy Spirit. As Joseph remained faithful and full of hope, so too must we wait for God’s timing.

Why we play the game

Interesting blurb from a friend’s night float:

“Last night, I responded to a Code Blue while working the night float at the hospital. The patient was a relatively young female who had just completed a coronary bypass procedure. Per training, I began compressing her chest to induce blood flow to the rest of her body. As I pushed, the incision reopened and blood began spewing everywhere. I could feel her ribs giving and cracking from the force of my weight, yet she still remained asystolic (flatlined in layman’s terms) for approximately 15 minutes. From the look in the eyes of the cardiothoracic surgeon running the code, her prognosis was not good.

After a fourth set of compressions, the team and I were able to shock her back into ventricular tachycardia and she produced pulses bilaterally. We continued to follow the ACLS protocols and stabilized the patient. As things looked better, I quickly signed off from the code and left to continue my other duties, barely stopping to think about what I had just done. As I left the ICU, a resident pulled me aside and told me that the patient’s son and daughter were in the room for the entire code.

My insides felt queasy and my heart seemed to fall into my stomach, “How were they reacting?” I mouthed. “Okay,” the resident responded. After completing evening rounds, I went back to checkup on the patient. I saw her family huddled around her bedside and holding her hand. But something didn’t look right on her monitor. I pulled the ICU nurse aside and asked how the patient was doing. She told me that despite all our efforts to save her life, the patient’s family decided to withdraw care.

A second uneasy feeling overcame me. “My scrubs and watch were covered in blood and I sweated like I just ran a mile, and yet all they wanted to do was withdraw care?!” I thought to myself. “But her heart is pumping blood again!” Dumbfounded, I peered away from the nurse, into the patient’s room.

In medicine, we say that there is always a silver lining that families and loved ones search for to help them cope with each loss. For some, it is organ donation. For others, it is knowledge that the patient passed peacefully. As the patient’s family peered out the door towards us, her daughter mouthed the words “Thank You.” And then it hit me. For this family: it was the chance to say one final goodbye.

When all seems lost, we are taught to carry on. We might not be able to save every patient, but we still persevere even despite a poor prognosis. This is why we play the game.”

“Follow Me”

A couple years ago, I was driving across the US with a friend. On of our stops along the way was Bryce Canyon National Park, where we spent some time hiking and camping. Bryce is in southern Utah and is famous for these structures in its canyons called hoodoos – tall, thin spires/chimneys of rock formations that can grow to be hundreds of feet tall. Nowhere else in the world are they as abundant as in Bryce Canyon. There are pictures on this blog if you scroll back far enough. But who really has the time for that.

These hoodoos typically form in desserts or arid areas that are also rocky and are caused by rapid erosion from a process called frost wedging. At Bryce, the temperatures fluctuate wildly – it was 80F while we hiked and upper 30s while we slept. This was in June. The area experiences over 200 frost/thaw cycles/year allowing the frozen water in the rocks pry open and crack the rocks. This plus summer rain storms create these hoodoos.

One particular spot was called Inspiration Point, where a cliff that overlooks the whole canyon and the canyon forms an amphitheater around it. We got there and just stopped and stared out. Let it all soak in. It seems like human nature for us to stop and reflect on our own lives when we experience or witness something extraordinary – that day I looked out from Inspiration Point and thought to myself how perfect it would be to drop everything else in my life, and move here, to enjoy this every day

Two thousand years ago, Matthew also witnessed something spectacular, and with that life-changing event, dropped everything to follow Christ.

Before coming to know Christ, Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors in those days was a career that was associated with the worst reputations in Palestine. (Luke 5:30) – always associated with sinners. In Lk 18:9-11 – the pharisee likens the tax collector to extortioners, the unjust, and even adulterers; though the moral of this parable was the humble yourself as the tax collector does later on, rather than exalt yourself as the Pharisee did, you can see the reputation that proceeded tax collectors

Matthew was no exception. He was a Roman tax collector, at the time known as publican. Publicans were public contractors. Roman tax farming system was very profitable for the publicans, who were seen primarily as tax collectors by the New Testament times. Every few years, the right to collect taxes was auctioned for a value that theoretically approximated the taxes that are available for collection in a region. Individuals would bid on a contract from the Roman senate for collecting various types of taxes. The rights were typically given to a native of the area because they would know the customs and populations well. A publican would make the payment to Rome as a loan and the publican, would receive interest. Any excess collected (ie. Anything beyond their winning bid to Rome) was pure profit for the publican. The main risk to the publican is that they would end up collecting less taxes than the bid they paid to Rome. For example, they could charge for people travelling on a road, particularly if you were transporting or carrying goods. This is one that Matthew did. The publicans would estimate the value of the goods being carried and charge accordingly. If payments were unmet or goods were not declared, the good could be confiscated. This could even include confiscating an entire flock of sheep. Since there was no regulation, they charged and collected in every way they could, and were easily given into greed. We are sinners before we follow Christ. The greed we feel in our heart, envy, covet, is no different than the greed the tax collectors felt leading them to this tax fraud.

Before being called by Christ, Matthew lived in sin. Just as we do today; before we are called by Christ, we also live in sin. Before we decide to follow His calling, we are enslaved by the sins of the world. This does not just mean before someone is baptized. Often, even after we are baptized, we are still prisoners to our sins. But one day, Matthew’s life was completely changed…

Luke 5:27-28 – seems so simple. Jesus tells Matthew to follow. And Matthew simply gets up and leaves everything behind. What motivated Matthew to make just a drastic decision in what seems like a spontaneous event? In each recording of Matthew’s calling, it follows a particular miracle that Jesus performed. Lk 5:17-26. A paralyzed man is brought to Jesus, carried by his incredibly faithful and determined four friends, who lowered in through the roof. During this event, Jesus said something unheard of at the time. “Man, your sins are forgiven”

Jesus showed how he could forgive sins, just by declaring it, something never before seen in a region inhabited by Jews. Jesus does it intentionally, and proves the authority of His words by commanding the paralytic to get up and walk, which he does. Then the people glorified God proclaiming the strange things they saw. From the following verse, we know that Matthew’s office was right by the house where all this took place. It’s safe to assume that if Matthew were not there to witness the event, then he would have heard the words from other people leaving the house who were proclaiming “we have seen strange things today.” This news certainly spread quickly. The statement “We have seen strange things today” implies that those who witnessed the miracle were telling other people who were not present.

Matthew heard of what happened, but perhaps he was less focused on the fact that a paralyzed man was up and walking and more on how Jesus could forgive sins. And with that, thought of his own life. Keep in mind, Matthew is a Jew. He worshiped the true God. He knew the commandments. He knew what was right and wrong. Perhaps he meditated his condition and realized his life of sin. Then came Christ, the One who can forgive sins. And in that instant in which Jesus Christ speaks to Matthew, Matthew has reflected on his own sinful lifestyle, and not only does Matthew know this man can forgive sins, but this is a man who is willing to associate with sinners like myself. Jesus Christ is a friend to sinners. He is willing to associate with sinners and the likes of tax collectors, when no one else would. And thus, Matthew gets up, and in a symbolic action of leaving his sinful life behind, leaves his tax office and follows Jesus.

Finally, now that Matthew has decided to follow Jesus, we see that he begins to serve immediately. Lk 5:29 – After deciding to follow Christ, Matthew holds a great feast in his home. Among the guests are many tax collectors. It makes sense that Matthews friends are tax collectors, after all, no one else in society wanted to be associated with them, so they had their own cliques. So Matthew immediately begins to serve God by inviting his friends to know Jesus Christ. This is an example that we need to follow. He found the One who can forgive sins. We have the true baptism that can wash away sins. Just as we have freely received forgiveness from Christ, we should freely give this message to others, so that they can also receive.

Mt 10:8 – Not just give freely in terms of charitable deeds, but also the gospel message. We have all been called by Christ. His blood has already been shed, He has already died for us – He has called us. But not to idly sit in the chapel. He called us to spread His gospel and to serve Him.

Matthew was a sinner, but Jesus was willing to call him. And in a short instant, his life was changed. So he would go out and preach this good news and devote his life to this purpose. Traditions indicate that Matthew went out to preach from Parthia to Ethiopia, and eventually was martyred for the sake of the gospel in Ethiopia in 60 AD. How did a man go from the life of a tax collector, to becoming a martyr for the gospel? What compelled him to give up his life? Why was he so willing? Because He knows who Jesus is. Because Jesus was willing to forgive his sins. So when Jesus said “Follow me.” Matthew followed.

The calling of Matthew plays such a vital role in the gospel that it is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – because in these few and brief verses, it describes a whole journey of faith. From a life of sin, to experiencing the calling of God, to living a life devoted to God. We may all be at different stages of this journey, but what’s important to know is that even in our worst state, be it a life of rebellion or greed and sin, Christ is there to love us. So reflect on the love and salvation of God. Let His love compel us to live for Him, so that we can respond to his calling and serve Him by sharing the news that Jesus Christ can forgive our sins.

Where Logic Fails

Being an engineer by training, I have built life based on decisions that I believe to be logical. Facts. Numbers. Reasoning. My opinion typically follows the path dictated by logic. And yes, my favorite character in Star Trek is Spok. Aside from the handy Vulcan death grip, his logic is sound. Pun intended. Sacrifice of one for the greater good? Makes perfect sense to me. My major life decisions (at least thus far) have been heavily influenced by decision trees and algorithmic approaches (ref. my reviews of grad programs as an example). But there will always be a time when logic becomes unreliable, because of the existence of uncertainty. There may come a time, when we are asked to abandon logic, when God demands it.

In Gen 26, Isaac encounters famine and goes to Abimelech in Gerar. But here, God tells Isaac not to go down to Egypt. Egypt was a land that was flourishing. There was food. In today’s terms – if you are living in a country whose economy collapses, daily necessities become a luxury. The job market deteriorates. Facing such situation, the logical thing to do, if you are able, if to move to another economy where the market is stable. Somewhere where jobs are available. This is what many do today. They depart from their home in search of a better opportunity. Based on logic, Isaac should have done the same. There was nothing in the land but famine. He could have gone down to Egypt as his father had done before. Instead, God tells him to stay. The result? – Isaac reaps a hundredfold that year. Not only does Isaac go against all reasoning, he gains 100x as a result. He becomes so prosperous that the people of Gerar have to ask him to leave, because his possessions were simply too great.

Sometimes in life, God leads us on a path that goes against our logic. We may not know exactly what is ahead, but all we can do is trust His good will.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

(Pro 3:5-6)

The Day of Adversity

The past few weeks have seen much coverage about the bombings at the Boston Marathon, in which 3 people were killed and hundreds were injured, many losing limbs to the explosion or requiring amputation. Look even more recently, you find that a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, a tragedy whose death toll has now surpassed 1,000.

In a world of tragedies it can be difficult to see the love of God. Some will renounce their faith saying that while witnessing the tremendous suffering in the world, they could not believe that an omnipotent God whose love is infinite could possibly exist. In a world where suffering is seen everywhere, where calamities and tragedies have become part of our daily news, where global and personal disasters have become a part of life, how do we reconcile such a world with our faith? How can we find God in light of such misfortune? How can we avoid being discouraged?

Let’s look at the most devastating natural disaster in the history of mankind – the great flood

Gen 6:9-14, 7:1,10-12,17-24

Find the Ark. The ark is a prefiguration of body of Christ, ie. church (Eph 1:22f)

Noah built this ark in exact accordance to God’s words and instructions. The church must follow God’s words faithfully, and fulfill them, for even if we call on the Lord but do not obey His will, we have no heavenly inheritance (Mt 7:21-23). In obeying His words, God will abide with the church, just as He did with the ark. (Gen 7:1) – God didn’t just shut the door of the ark with Noah’s family inside,  He Himself was also inside (“come” vs. “go”)

Obeying His words, meaning to enter the ark.

Enter the ark – As Noah’s ark prefigured the saving grace of Christ, we must enter His saving grace, through baptism. (1 Pe 3:20-21)

Here is a new perspective of the flood – normally we’d think that God was destroying the wickedness of the world and saving Noah from the destruction. Peter says they were saved THROUGH the water, not FROM the water. God was saving them from the destruction of the wickedness and evil that existed in the world. He used the floodwater to save them. Just as the polluted world at that time was cleansed by the immersion of floodwaters, we are cleansed in the immersion of baptism.

In light of tragedies, it is important to find the ark and enter the ark so that we don’t face the ultimate tragedy of eternal condemnation. But this is just the first step. This is just the start of being rooted. Next, these roots must grow & spread.

Stay in the ark. Noah obviously knew not to leave the ark while the rain was still falling and the earth still flooded. For us, it’s not so obvious. Thus we must stay in the ark to hear God’s voice. That’s why we must pray for God to open our eyes so that we can become aware of the spiritual battle that takes place around us, just as Elisha’s servant’s eyes were opened when the King of Syria surrounded the city by night with an army or chariots and horsemen. He saw that there was an even greater army of horses and chariots of fire (2 Ki 6:15-17). Remaining in the ark, where God abides, we can be attentive and aware – Remain in the church, because that remains the only place you can be saved

But Noah’s situation went further than that – Gen 8:13-16. After Noah sent the dove twice, it returned with an olive branch. After 7 days, he sent the dove again and it did not return. So he removed the covering on the ark and saw that the waters had receded. However, if you look at the numbers, Noah stayed in the ark for another month and 27 days. When he removed the covering, Noah had already been in the ark for 324 days. Imagine yourself in that situation – you want nothing more than to get out. But Noah didn’t. Even though he saw that the land around him was dried and the water receded, he waited nearly 2 more months in the ark until finally God instructed him to leave the ark.

Just as he followed God’s words in building and going into the ark, he continued after his life had already been saved – continued to remain in the ark and listen for God’s words. Today, we may be in the ark, but are we still following God’s lead? The Spirit of God will help us to willingly and humbly obey God’s words and to remain in the ark of salvation until Jesus comes again to say “Go out of the ark”

By staying in the ark, staying in church, we can continue to nourish our roots, allowing them to grow deeper into the soil. We must also strive to understand God to strengthen those roots. Understand God, and in this case, understand suffering

Understand suffering from God’s perspective. No one enjoys suffering or tragedies. It brings pain and disrupts our normal cycle and balance in life. In severe cases, it threatens our existence or the existence of an entire society. We don’t often think about it, but Noah’s situation was absolutely an extreme case of suffering – over a year in a ship packed with animals, tending to them. While your home and entire world are destroyed. The Bible describes various forms of suffering – tribulations, sickness, disasters, death but also defines it as a necessity for Christians (Acts 14:22) – “we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God”

Why is there suffering? Suffering for sin – God is righteous and will not allow a sinner to go unpunished. Every choice has its consequence. Paul says that he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption (Gal 6:8a). After sin, the only way forward is repentance (Joel 2:12f). Suffering for righteousness’ sake – in a world of sin that can no longer tolerate deeds of the light, suffering for righteousness’ sake is not only unavoidable but on the increase. Sinful lifestyles have become legalized, blurring the distinction between right and wrong. Some Christian beliefs are now labeled as bigotry and hateful intolerance.

Noah also suffered for righteousness’ sake; As God cleansed the earth of the polluted wickedness, Noah had no choice but to wait patiently.

Benefits of suffering: if we’re able to see past the pain, we can find some positives. It may be hard to realize the value of suffering to our spirituality, especially having lived in our comfort zones our whole lives.

A humbling process – “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” ie. When things are tough, those who will succeed are those who take action. Learn to pull ourselves out from the vortex of negative feelings and depression. Do this by taking a step back and refocusing our lives on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we’ll realize that we are not as invulnerable as we thought we were, that our relationship with God is not as solid as we had believed.

Connecting suffering to God’s grace helps us see – we cannot do anything without Christ, begin to see our worthlessness and start to trust God above all else. This mindset helps reinforce the importance of humility – read Micah 6:8

A refining process – Just as God sent Moses into the plains of Midia to train Him, God also uses difficult times to train and refine us.

Sometimes we are aware of our shortcomings and we desire to return to God. But despite our full determination, we still do exactly what we abhor, and fail miserably, lacking self-control. This may torment us at first, but with repetition and time, our moral conscience becomes numb to this. We eventually accept our wrongdoings as the norm, becoming complacent to our lack of principles.

In order to overcome this persistent dilemma, suffering mus tplay its role. Drastic action must be taken to end our stubbornness which has become our stumbling block, inhibiting our spiritual growth. Isaiah describes the refinement of the house of God, showing how Israel was radically purged. Just as gold is passed through fire to be refined, Israel had to be delivered into the hands of their enemy, since the warnings of prophets had no avail. This was the only way to create a willingness in them to return to God and repent.

Hebrews 5:8 describes how Christ learned obedience through suffering. 2 Cor 4:16f – the wearing away of our outward man renews our inward man

Knowing that suffering can build our faith by humbling and refining us, knowing why suffering exists, our roots can be prepared to endure the suffering that comes our way. The suffering we may witness in the world.

Ecc 7:14 – Disasters and sufferings cannot be escaped. God has created both prosperity and adversity. So we should prepare ourselves to suffer. Take root. Find the ark through which we can be saved. Remain in the ark. Understand what we can gain from suffering. And remain unwaivering in faith.

More or Less?

This past Saturday a classmate of mine from my college graduating class was killed by a suicide bomb while on a diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, in what is the first killing of a U.S. diplomat since last year’s Sept 11 events in Benghazi, Syria, which took the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens. Though I didn’t really know her (Anne Smedinghoff), but her connection as part of the same class at Hopkins garnered more of my attention and thought that most current events about the Middle East do.

The long-argued questions arise – What is the role of the U.S. in foreign nations? ie) should the U.S. really be trying to police the world? (not just the U.S., also many other nations and the UN). In the face of atrocities against humanity, I believe everyone would say it is the responsibility of those who are capable of helping or intervening to do so. But how are these “atrocities” defined? And what price should be paid for such intervention? If sacrifice is required for change, who should be sacrificing?

More or less? In the position of Anne’s parents, would you feel that more diplomatic missions need to take place so that the changes she sought become a tangible reality, not leaving her sacrifice in vain? Or less, because the price is simply to great to bear? If the moment a diplomat leave the embassy, they become an easy target, even though they are only delivering textbooks for local school children, does that mean that more needs to be done because such vile people exist, people who would be willing to shoot a girl in the head simply because she wanted the chance to go to school? Or less, because it’s costing the lives of our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our friends and family.

To all my other friends in foreign service and diplomatic missions – Godspeed. Stay safe.

http://releases.jhu.edu/2013/04/07/smedinghoff/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/us/us-diplomat-killed-on-afghan-mission-she-coveted.html?_r=2&

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/07/us/diplomat-killed-profile/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

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