While doing the 21-Day Experiment, I was struck by Jesus’ description of real love: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Putting aside our own wants, needs, and even our very life so that another can live? The thought is staggering.
In Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of God, I describe a dangerous prayer: “Break my heart, God, for the things that break Yours.” This prayer would eventually lead me to many places, including the Sudan. Our team traveled to the remote Nuba Mountain Region, where we met a young man from Florida named Ryan Boyette.
Ryan was just twenty-two when he read a Christian magazine article about the crisis in Sudan, where nearly two-million people, largely Christian, had been systematically slaughtered by their own government. Putting his own education and career plans on hold, Ryan has lived and worked in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan for eight years. When war broke out again last June and all foreigners were evacuated, he secretly stayed behind, forming a grassroots coalition to document the ongoing genocide. “A lot of people tried to convince me to leave,” Ryan remembers. “But this is where my wife is from, this is where I’ve lived for eight years. It’s hard to get on a plane and say, ‘Bye, I hope to see you when this ends.’” His courageous love has drawn attention of media outlets around the world. Some are calling him “the man who stayed behind.”
As I reflect on the powerful narrative of Christ’s life, death and resurrection in John’s Gospel, I think about this kind of costly love. Ryan Boyette is a living, breathing example of what can happen when a follower of Jesus decides to lay down his life for his friends. And now, unless the watching world takes swift action, the Nuba people who are fast becoming another Darfur, will face massive starvation as food sources have been cut off. Find out a few simple but powerful steps you can take to help save Ryan and the Nuba people. How can we not stand with Ryan as he stands for Christ among the people of the Nuba Mountains? You can begin with prayer.