Every year American churches send their youth groups to a third world country (usually Mexico) to get a sense of the wider world, a taste of serving Jesus beyond one’s comfort zone, and an experience of poverty that is hard to find in the United States. Parents are often glad to let their kids have a brief view of the other side of life, often expressed as hoping they “will appreciate how good they have it here.” But what happens if a young person is moved beyond comparisons to action – to be the hands and feet of Jesus in another land?
This aptly titled book is a call and a challenge to be the hands and feet of Jesus amidst the darkness of the world. Yes, it is a book by and about the contemporary Christian band Audio Adrenaline, but this is no Christian celebrity romp filled with pious platitudes and behind-the-scenes personality trivia. Audio Adrenaline has something very specific in mind: to build and sustain an orphanage in Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth. The book is an invitation to get involved in a tangible way with this project, or to pursue being the hands and feet of Jesus somewhere else.
The connection of a rock band to Haiti came through band member Mark Stuart, whose parents moved to the island the day after Mark graduated from high school. Years of short-term mission work turned into full-time service for Christ in Haiti. On his visits there, Mark came to love the Haitians, particularly the children, but he also saw firsthand the poverty, malnutrition, crime, and despair which overtakes many people there. Haiti’s unique needs eventually led Mark and his fellow band members to make the Hands and Feet Project their own. This is no pet project to them. It clearly occupies much of their attention and time. One realizes how deeply committed they are when Mark Stuart says, “Audio Adrenaline is a thing for the moment. This is for a lifetime.”
This reviewer was in Haiti in the spring of 2005. The book’s descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells, and culture of that sad land are faithfully rendered here. In Haiti reside many North American social workers, aid workers, and missionaries of all stripes. Orphanages abound but there are not nearly enough. The Hands and Feet Project is about more than survival for the children they plan to house. The goal is comprehensive: love, care, education, evangelism, and instilling in the children a desire to better their own country as responsible, contributing Christian adults. The plan is to do everything well for a limited number of children now, with the hope that someday God can use them to make a better nation. Realistic? Who can say. It is easy enough to be pessimistic about Haiti, but the present needs alone are enough to make the project viable and worthy of support.
The book catches one’s attention with a vision of what can be done, forsaking generalizations about what should be done. From the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude, the authors ask, “How many loaves do you have?” Even a little is a beginning from which the Savior can produce great things.
One can quibble with some aspects of The Hands and Feet Project as a book. We are given a simplistic view of Christian unity, unnecessary swipes at denominationalism, a suggestion that parachurch ministries are more “real,” and a questionable theology of the kingdom. But this is a worthy read for seeing and being inspired by the hearts of these men along with their commitment to the Lord’s work above their own success and celebrity. Here is a challenge to change the world for Jesus. The authors say it best with these words: “Life is too short to sit in a pew.” – Wayne Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
The Hands and Feet Project, an orphanage founded by the band members for impoverished children who desperately lack the resources most of us take for granted.
Although Haiti is only an hour away, it is one of the poorest nations in the world. Superstition and voodoo still cast their spells over the Haitian people. Through this travelogue-style journal, full of journal entries and personal stories, you'll discover what it's like to live in the embattled country of Haiti - and how it is possible to change the world, one child at a time. In fact, the core admonition in James is to rescue the orphans from their suffering. When you impact the lives of orphans, you impact future leaders of communities, cities and a nation. Find purpose and passion in changing the world through God's love as you make this exciting trip with Audio Adrenaline!
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. - James 1:27