reflecting on how this whole thing got started. ctc…comfort the children international (www.ctcinternational.org), the non-profit i run in kenya, started after i lived in kenya for one year after graduating from the university of kansas in 2000. returning to the states after traveling, living and serving in africa i began to reflect much on what was the meaning of life. what is my life about? what does it mean to believe in God and who is Jesus Christ? these questions quickly led me to the mountains of montana where i studied the bible for the first time while working in the er of a nearby hospital.
i spent many of my nites, no television and no computer, wrestling with God, wrestling with the difficult realities that had now entered my world after living in africa and working with thousands of people who were sick, hungry and in need. this exposure moved me dramatically inward. i think now…8 years later i am just now realizing how inward these experiences have moved me. i spent hours upon hours wrestling with God…why do these people suffer, why do you let them live in this way, who are you sending to help them in their poverty? who are you God and why do i feel the strong desire to know you?
in the midst of these questions and late nite wrestling sessions i received an email. the email came from the most unexpected, a friend of my brothers from college nathan dillon. nate and i spent a few weeks together while i was passing through europe during my return from kenya in 2001. nate is a professed atheist, but one in search of the meaning of life and at the time an avid reader…from philosophy, to religion to key influential figures of the world. we spent countless hours over good food and good wine discussing the meaning of life, the purpose of religion and the nature of the human condition. we never quite made it to solving the world’s problems, but i think we’re still getting there!
i remember sitting in this coffee shop down the road from the basement i was renting from this old missionary couple for $200 a month reading nate’s email. nothing too long, just a quick “what’s up” and a question asking me to hook him up with an organization to go to africa.
i walked home that cool evening in montana wondering what was stirring here. why had nate emailed me? all the organizations i knew of were christian organizations requiring that you believe in certain doctrines and profess specific values in order to serve abroad. i had been considering traveling back to kenya after a failed attempt at rounding up members of my fathers business to ship goods to an orphanage in kenya. not much of a story here….the employees did an amazing job donating clothes, toys, books, shoes, etc…and none of these ever made it through kenya customs due to corruption in their governmental system. at that time i knew that if i was serious about really wanting to help i was going to have to return myself.
after walking home that nite and reflecting on nate’s email and i went about my normal routine before bed….brushed my teeth, did a little reading and knelt down by my bed to pray. that nite when i prayed i asked God to direct my heart for nate. “God please open this door for nate. nate does not necessarily believe in you, but he does want to reach out to those in need. please direct me Lord as nate asks me to connect him to an organization where he can make a difference in what is happening in africa.”
like a gentle bolt of lighting…if there is such a thing…i felt Gods voice simply say, “take him. zane you know the needs, you have the connections…take him yourself.”