Friday, May 4, 2012

Passion in Peru

Carson has been my friend for more than 20 years, and when I announced almost 2 years ago that I planned to go around the world in 2012, he enlisted. Despite being virtually tied together 24/7 for 10 weeks in less than ideal circumstances, we remained confident that our mutual commitment to open communication, our ability to find humor in most situations, our insatiable appetites for adventure and incurably inquisitive natures made us excellent traveling companions. However, despite similarities, there is nothing like an extended traveling time with someone that can so graphically point out distinct personal differences and habits. Who takes a shower when? How long does one spend in the lavatory each morning? Who is slower at getting ready? What annoying nighttime habits does one have? What kind of eating preferences does one have? All these questions, and many more, can yield answers that affect relationships.  
Carson is currently a pastor in the downtown Vancouver church, First Baptist. However, until recently, he headed up an organization called "Arrow Leadership", which specialized in training young Christian leaders about the art and science of leadership. In that role, he had developed an extraordinary database of relationships and contacts, many of whom were his friends as well. He has also served on a number of boards of national Christian organizations. He has an international reputation as an author, speaker and mentor, for which he was recognized with an honorary doctorate some years ago. He is a credentialed world traveler, and an ideal travel mate as well. He is not particularly fussy, fearful or fanatical

While Carson does not have Parkinson's disease (thankfully), he does have a passion to learn about leadership. So that will be his focus on our trip around the world. He is asking leaders of Christian organizations and churches in the global South key questions that will provide information to be incorporated in his fourth book. He is interviewing these leaders in order bring back to Northern Hemisphere leaders the answer to the question, "What do the Christian leaders of the South have to say to the Christian leaders of North?" Some of the answers may surprise you. For a peek into Carson's perspective on our travels, you will find his blog at:

It was through Carson's contacts that we were introduced to Samuel Sanchez, the humble pastor of a Baptist Church in Lima. Although we were strangers, Pastor Samuel has treated us as friends from the moment we arrived. The first night we were invited to "observe" a midweek service at his church a few blocks away from our hotel. Despite the language barrier, we were welcomed with smiles and enthusiasm, as if we were there by personal invitation. After some exuberant singing, and without warning but a glowing introduction, Carson was invited to preach for 20 minutes. No preparation, no notes and no real knowledge of what was expected, he spoke on leadership and how we are all called to be leaders in one way or another.
On Thursday, May 3, Pastor Samuel drove us around the city commenting (through his university student daughter who capably interpreted whenever required) on the work that he felt called to do in Lima’s barrios perched haphazardly on the steep slopes forming the eastern extremities of the city. He was passionate about the people and his desire to provide them with hope instead of a life lived in destitute desperation.

The pastor, together with other Christian leaders gathered by him from around the city, provided Carson with significant insights into the challenges of ministering to the needs of those in this densely populated city of economic extremes. But he did more than that. For me, he mirrored the tenacity and intensity of those seeking a cure for Parkinson's, and a better life for those living with this degenerative disease.

When you think of it, the pastor and those who are part of the army raising awareness of PD and funds for its eradication have similar objectives. They both have a passion for the people they serve and a strong desire to give them hope. I was inspired by Pastor Samuel, as I have been by those who are part of the World Parkinson Congress. May they all be encouraged and equipped to carry out the pursuit of their passions.

1 comment:

  1. I love you Grandpa BOB! We think of you and pray for you everyday. Your grandson misses you already and so do I . Be safe and have fun changing the world! All those people are going to be better for meeting you and talking to you!