Listen: Bestselling author, lawyer and charity founder Bob Goff chats to Duncan Robinson.
You don’t need to create a hashtag, design a logo or wear a branded shirt to love others and change the world—in fact it may be better if you don’t have those things at all.
That’s the opinion of Bob Goff, founder of an international charity and the best-selling author of the book, Love Does.
In a chat with Hope 103.2’s Duncan Robinson, Bob shared a series of stories about his adventures with his charity Love Does.
He explained the guiding principal that had led him to build an international charity working in five nations: not a desire to make a name for himself, but simply to follow Jesus, love people and make a difference.
“Look for ways to engage the person across the street,” he said. “We don’t need to call it ministry any more, just call it ‘Tuesday’ instead of trying to call it something. If we do something great, we don’t have to make a hoodie every time. Just make a great deal of Jesus and all the rest will follow. We only want the applause of one person, Jesus.”
It Started With a Trip to India
With a background as a lawyer, Bob was on a trip to India in 2003 when he saw people being exploited and trafficked, and wanted to do something about it. He founded Restore International (now renamed Love Does), to free people from slavery.
The charity now works in five nations including India, Uganda, Somalia, Nepal and Iraq.
With a focus on education, safety, food and shelter, the charity has helped stop forced prostitution by arresting criminals and placing children in safe houses, restored the lives of the abused, and educated hundreds of children to give them a better future.
Liberating Children, Educating Witch Doctors
One of the more fascinating initiatives to come out the Love Does charity, is the rescuing of children from abuse by witch doctors, as well as the education of witch doctors themselves.
“We started trying cases for young people that were in jail that had never stepped foot in court,” Bob explained. “In the process, we found out about this horrible practice of child sacrifice, and took Uganda’s first case against a witch doctor to trial, and got a conviction.”
Bob went on to explain how they then looked for ways to help the abusers as well.
“Not only does God love justice, he also loves people we don’t understand,” he said. “He wants us to love them. He talked about loving your enemies. These witch doctors are a group of people we don’t understand. Since the trial, we have started a witch doctor ‘school’ and have gone around meeting with witch doctors—900 of them so far, and the one common thing I found, they don’t know how to read or write.
“At the school we teach them how to read and write, and the only books we have at the school to teach them, are the Bible, and Love Does. Witch doctors are coming to know Jesus.
“I don’t think we lead people to Jesus, I think Jesus does! It’s been really fun to see things happening in their life that only Jesus could explain to them.”
Wherever Jesus Leads, Just Follow
Bob also shared the story of a boy he took into his care, who had been mutilated by a witch doctor. He flew the boy to the USA to have restorative surgery.
“Part of this child sacrifice, sometimes, is body parts,” Bob explained. “They took body parts from a little boy and a doctor here heard the story and said he’d fix him. So we flew the kid back here to the US, I became his legal guardian, and the doctor made all new body parts for what had been taken by the witch doctors.”
When the boy turned 10, Bob continued a tradition he’d started with his own children, and offered to take the boy on an adventure anywhere he wanted in the world. The boy chose to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Like every story Bob tells, he turns the experience into a spiritual lesson; this one about following the footsteps of Jesus.
“The crazy part about this hike [on Mount Kilimanjaro] is that people keep asking what the views were like, but really, all I did was look at the guide’s feet,” Bob said. “Wherever his feet went, my feet went. That would be another simple explanation for what it means to follow Jesus. Wherever Jesus leads, just follow.
“On Kilimanjaro, I kept tripping—but when I did I’d just bump into the guide. Just follow Jesus closely, you’re going to trip a couple of times, and you’ll just bump into him again. Don’t you want to fail trying, rather than fail watching? That’s a guiding principle for me.”