Beyond the Headlines – The High Cost of Service

Three days ago, tucked in the back pages of newspapers from various news organizations around the world, was a story about three aid workers kidnapped in Somalia. You may have missed the story – I certainly did. Maybe it’s because three is not a critical mass. Maybe it’s because the story is not sensational enough for our tired ears. Maybe it’s because the aid workers don’t know the right people. For whatever reason, we have not heard much beyond these short stories.

The aid workers were from a Danish organization and included an American woman, a Danish man, and a Somali man. They were abducted mid-afternoon on Tuesday by Somali gunmen. The workers are part of a humanitarian effort to remove landmines and bring mine risk education to the area. Somalia has struggled for years to have a proper government and the Shabab as well as other extremist groups are active in different territories.

So what brought it to my attention? On of my friends and readers taught the sister of the American aid worker. It’s a Kevin Bacon case of six degrees of separation and reminds me that the world is sometimes smaller than we think. As I read the little information available about these workers, I am reminded that there is a high cost to service. The words in newspapers describing the situation are not adequate to convey what brings people to leave a place of comfort and help in a desperate situation. Words are not enough to communicate how worried the families are in this situation, how desperately they want to know that their daughters or sons, sisters or brothers are safe, and how the nights are sleepless as families pray that they will be released unharmed.

There is a high cost to service. For every story that ends up in the headlines or in a best-selling book, there are hundreds more untold stories of people sacrificing to serve, motivated either by idealism, humanitarianism or God.

I want to end with the words from my friend with hopes that they will compel some readers the way they compelled me. She writes this:

I read or hear these things on the news and have grown somewhat callous to the reality of the individuals and their crises.  Then suddenly it becomes personalized and I am ashamed to not have been concerned earlier.  It is such a strange world we live in… and yet the fact that God brought this to my attention makes me think that He would have us praying for this dear girl of faith, as well as her family. As a fellow mom of  “designed to travel” daughters who shares a sense of admiration mixed with  fears that we try to keep in check for our adventurous offspring I ask you to remember this “anonymous aid worker” and those like her in your prayers and ask others to do the same.