In This Together: Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn
Radio cohosts Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn talk about their passion of advocating for children with treatable disabilities through CURE International. They're in this together.
About the Guest
- Connect with Brant on Twitter @branthansen or on Facebook @branthansenpage.
- Learn more Brant on his website: branthansen.com
- Listen to Brant and Sherri's podcast
- And grab his book, The Truth About Us: The Very Good News About How Very Bad We Are—or receive it free with your donation.
- What could living on mission look like in your family? Check out our FamilyLife Today episode with Jefferson Bethke: Family: On Mission.
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Radio cohosts Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn talk about their passion of advocating for children with treatable disabilities through CURE International.
In This Together: Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn
Sherri: I remember walking out of that room, starting to walk down the walkway. I did a video with my nieces, and I said, “I can’t remember what I used to complain about in America.” Any fear, anxiety that I had seemed ridiculous just in this moment. I thought, “This is a place where Jesus is tangible. I can see Him.”
Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on the FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife
Dave: As I think back as a Dad, one of the best things that we did was take our boys on mission trips.
Ann: I agree. I feel like it was life-changing for us, and it was also life-changing for them, because it gave them a global perspective of what God was doing.
Dave: Yes, that was our hope. It was like, “We have to get our kids and ourselves to see the world. When you come back, I’m not kidding. I remember going to the bush in Africa. It was scary, very scary—
Ann: In Kenya.
Dave: — in Kenya, and then coming home and sitting in my master bedroom. I remember looking over at my master bath, going “I used to complain that the master bath that’s a few feet from my bed is not big enough, when I spent the week with people in a hut, whose kitchen, bathroom, everything is within three feet.”
Ann: I remember when we took another son to South Africa.
Dave: Why are you laughing? You’re laughing.
Ann: No, I’m laughing because remember when we took him to South Africa and then we’re in this little mountain chalet with these animals on this prairie, and we’re standing on this balcony and our 11-year-old says, “We don’t have TV this week?”
Ann: “What are we going to do without video games? It was the best week of his life.
Dave: Yes. The reason we brought that up is we have Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn in the studio with us. We want to talk about a mission trip that you guys had an experience on. Welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Sherri: Thank you.
Dave: I don’t know all the details of your trip, but you guys host a radio show that’s syndicated all around the country called The Brant Hansen Show—
Dave: —which is really The Sherri Lynn Show.
Ann: Sherri is the producer.
Sherri: Oh, come on you guys.
Dave: How many years have you been doing this, by the way?
Dave: Ten years?
Brant: With Sherri, yes.
Ann: And then you do a podcast together called:
Brant and Sherri: The Brant and Sherri Oddcast.
Dave and Ann: Oddcast.
Sherri: Oddcast, yes.
Dave: And it’s great.
Ann: It’s so good.
Dave: We love listening to it.
Sherri: Thank you.
Dave: But one of the things we haven’t talked about this week with Brant, and Sherri was here just yesterday, is Cure International [cure.org], and that’s a big part of your heart.
Brant: It is. So what happened. I was emceeing a concert, which is—I’m the worst emcee of all time.
Ann: Oh no, I am. So bad.
Dave: I don’t think so.
Sherri: Do you have a moment to tell a story to tell her just how horrible you are?
Brant: I’ll tell you the worst.
Ann: Tell me. It’ll make me feel better.
Brant: This wasn’t my fault.
Dave: Of course it was.
Sherri: It’s actually—of course.
Brant: I was the emcee for a Toby Mac show in Miami.
Ann: Oh, that’s big time.
Brant: It’s an outside amphitheater, and then there are parking lots behind the bandshell, right?
Brant: Well, I get up there to introduce, “Okay, everybody. Please give a big, Miami welcome to Toby Maaaaaac!” The crowd goes wild. He did not come out, and I was backstage. “What’s going on?” “Well, miscommunication, sorry.” They’re on these radios. [Makes static sound] “Kkkk. Okay, Toby?” “Okay.” Kkkk. “He’s just getting another donut.” Kkkk. “Okay, well let’s—” Kkk “Go, go ahead, go ahead.”
So I go back out a second time. I feel sheepish. “Hey, I don’t know what happened, but let’s do it up real this time. Put your hands together . . . Toby Mac!” And he did not come out again.
Brant: It wasn’t his fault.
Ann: But it’s not your fault either.
Brant: It wasn’t my fault either, but the crowd doesn’t know that.
Sherri: They’re blaming you.
Brant: So I’m sheepish. They sent me out a third time. “I’m really sorry.” The crowd was not responding to me at this point.
Brant: “Give it up for Toby Maaac!” He did not come out again.
Brant: So what the crowd saw was me walk off that stage, grab my keys, and they saw me walk to the parking lot, and I drove off.
Sherri: And they can see it all because the parking—
Ann: The parking lot is right there.
Sherri: —lot is right there.
Dave: Did he ever show up? Did you ever know?
Brant: I presume he did.
Ann: But you were scarred. You’re scarred.
Brant: Well that really hurts. Somehow I thought this would be a safe place to talk about all this.
Dave: It had something to do with Cure International?
Brant: Okay, yes. So I was emceeing another show and they said, “Hey, can you say something about Cure International?” I’m like, “What’s Cure?” Like they wanted me to give an announcement off the stage and text to give or something. They said, “Well you know how kids have disabilities they can be born with, or they have something happen to them. In this country it’s just taken care of.
“Well, there are millions of kids who have correctable disabilities around the world, so we just decided we’re going to heal them in the name of Jesus and tell them and their families about Jesus. So we started these hospitals. It was an orthopedic surgeon who did it.”
So I said, “Can I visit?” They said, “Sure. We’re planning to build a hospital in the Holy Land here pretty soon. You can come.” I thought that was cool. Then they changed it up. “That hospital didn’t happen. Would you come to our hospital in Afghanistan?”
Brant: My wife and I had to sort through that, but eventually I did. It’s remarkable. What Cure does is orthopedic surgery so kids can walk. They’re told they’re cursed and that’s why they have a disability, and the mom is always blamed. This is worldwide. Mom is blamed. “You must have done something immoral, and that’s why your daughter can’t walk.”
Brant: Usually dad walks off, because he’s like, “I didn’t do this. You’re cursed. This kid’s cursed. I’m not going to be saddled with this.” So the child thinks they’re cursed. People have been running away screaming because they don’t want to get the curse on them. Again, this is a worldwide phenomenon. I had no idea. When they walk through the door at Cure, the staff is instructed to run towards them, grab that baby and say, “Oh, what a beautiful girl.”
They have never heard that before. Never. We do these surgeries for free. They can’t believe that. They will come from hundreds of miles around. I was so drawn to it, because I was like, “That sounds like Jesus to me.” That’s just one Cure hospital. There’s a waiting list. Just the one in Ethiopia has a waiting list of 5000 families with kids with disabilities, just waiting to get surgeries.
Brant: That’s at one, and it’s just a matter of funding it. So what I try to do is I use my radio platform and my books and whatnot to tell people about Cure. We’ve seen some surgeons come on board who have learned about it from the show or people that go be nurses or train people. I’ve been to a lot of the hospitals now. But Sherri just took her first trip to Niger, which is a very tough West African nation to be in for your first foray. It’s 99 percent Muslim, and we’re there healing their kids in the name of Jesus and telling people about the gospel. They let us do it because we’re healing their kids.
Ann: Brant, is it dangerous for you guys to travel into these—I mean, Afghanistan.
Brant: It can be, yes. In fact, Afghanistan—yes. The guy I stayed with, Dr. Jerry Umanos out of Chicago, hilarious. You would have loved this guy. After I’d left one year, he was shot and killed in the parking lot at Cure by one of the guys who was supposed to be doing security, and they killed another doctor.
Sherri: That was in Afghanistan.
Brant: Yes, in Afghanistan. So it is dangerous.
Ann: Yes. So Sherri, Brant’s like, “Hey, you should come.”
Brant: Well, it’s a different environment.
Sherri: Yes, but he still was like, “Just go.” I was always fearful of international travel. So in our job people will say, “Hey, come see this mission. Come see that mission.” One time someone said that to us—I don’t know what mission it was—and they said, “It’s Peru. We’re going to go. You have to go.” I said, “I don’t have a passport.” And they were like, “Oh, okay. Well we’ll get so and so to go.” And that became my thing.
Ann: That was your excuse?
Sherri: Yes. “I don’t have a passport. I just don’t have a passport.” I actually didn’t.
Sherri: For this trip, Brant was like, “Just go. It’s life changing. Just go,” but the fear, the anxiety. If you travel—like you guys have. Brant has. He was so sweet towards me, and he said to me, “I don’t quite get what you’re going through, but just keep taking each step,” because the fear was debilitating to me. But I was determined to do it, because we had raised money for Cure for how long?
Brant: Yes, a long time. I wanted her to see. It’s an embassy of the Kingdom of God.
Brant: I can’t describe it, and I know her passion for the Kingdom of God, but actually seeing this place of healing and joy—
Sherri: And beauty.
Brant: —where people who feel cursed are told, “You’re not cursed. God loves you. He draws close to the broken-hearted. He knows your tears, mom. He sees your daughter, and now she’s going to dance.” I wanted Sherri to see it. I want everybody to see that, but especially somebody I’m working with every day and we’re talking about this. This is the best expression of Jesus I’ve ever seen in my life.
Ann: Sherri, what were you afraid of?
Sherri: I don’t know. It was the unknown. It was the unknown, and I didn’t know what to expect. It just continued to overtake me. But when I got there and I felt the joy of that place, the kids dancing. There’s a story we told about three sisters who had brittle bone disease, so they were constantly breaking their bones and couldn’t walk.
We had told that story for so long. We had made a video about it. I talked about it on the radio and everything, not really putting together that it was this hospital. So the one day I’m in the ward and we’re praying for the kids who are going to get surgery. They said, “Hey, on the other side is where rehab happens and all that.” As I walk around the corner, I see one of the sisters walking towards me. They couldn’t walk before.
I was like, “Is that one of the sisters?” They said, “Yes,” and then the other one came around walking. To me, it was such like a Jesus biblical moment. We had talked about these sisters; we had talked about healing. That’s what that trip meant to me. I believe so much in the mission, but when I felt it and saw these little girls, and I didn’t want to be the big blubbering lady from America. I just felt like I was crying all the—and I’m not a crier. I felt like I was crying all the time.
Brant: That’s what happens.
Dave: Was it tears of joy?
Sherri: It was tears of joy. It was tears of “God, I can’t believe You let me intersect with this. God these lives are changing.” Healing is forever. They’re learning about Jesus, too, so their lives are changing in that way. It’s everything that I talk about—
Sherri: —but I saw it, and it’s real. It’s tangible, here now. Yes.
Brant: We use this language to describe it—it’s an advance trailer of Heaven.
Dave: Wow. What a great, great—
Brant: It is. That’s what healing is. When Jesus was doing His miracles, He’s not doing random stuff. Seventy-some percent are healing. He’s showing us the Kingdom is here, where the lame will leap like deer, and the deaf will hear, and eyes will be opened. This is an advance look. That’s what healing is showing us, right? So we get to see a glimpse of it. I think when we see the Kingdom of God in action, even people who aren’t believers, the reaction to it is goosebumps or crying.
Brant: Because you recognize something’s deeply right, almost you’re nostalgic for Heaven, even though you haven’t been there yet, but you recognize, “That’s my home.”
It happens every day. Cure did twenty-some thousand surgeries last year.
Sherri: Tell them you cry too.
Brant: I cry. That’s so—
Ann: Who wouldn’t?
Brant: I don’t because I’m a total rock.
Brant: And I can see where a weaker person could. No, just being in the OR.
Ann: Oh, you’ve been in an OR.
Brant: Oh, yeah. You stand there, and they pray over the kids. A child has been nothing but mocked, maybe eight years old, maybe four, maybe 14, maybe 18, lying on the table asleep, and their life is about to be changed. They’re going finally to have their legs straightened or something. The surgeons pray over them with the techs, so they’re all praying for this child, and then they go about their medical business of healing.
Oftentimes they’ll listen to worship music in there. I was in there for one neurosurgery on a baby in Uganda. This was in Zambia at the time, and the surgeon is singing along with worship music as he’s finishing up brain surgery. That’s the best worship service I’ve ever been to.
Brant: If people associated the church with that, they’d have a pretty good idea of what Jesus is like, and it’d be pretty tough to walk away from that.
Brant: When people are writing their manifestos about “why I’m leaving the faith” or something, I’m like, “Yeah, but you should come to Cure. You should see that.”
Ann: We had one of our sons’—I think he was in his twentys. He went to Egypt with a ministry over there, and the same thing was happening where he met this family. They would have a party for the disabled.
Ann: He was sharing about a mom talking about—it makes me teary—the dad left, and they had a son that had Downs and they kept him in the back yard with a leash on his neck like a dog, and he was chained in this back yard. The mom was ostracized. No one came and no one talked to them because they were cursed. So she heard about the party. She didn’t know it was Christian.
She didn’t know, she just thought, “They want to have a party for my child?” She’s all alone, and so she takes her son and the same thing. They run, they laugh, they’re like, “This is your son? What a joy and a delight to meet him. Oh, it’s such a privilege to get to meet you!” And the mom was like, “Where am I right now?” They put hands on him, they prayed, they delight in him, they help meet needs. Our son came back like, “What just happened?”
Brant: He saw the Kingdom in action is what happened.
Brant: Where the first are last, and the last are first, and these people become VIPs. And you can also find out, too—it’s striking in Niger or wherever—people will come from a thousand miles away. They will spend their life savings on a one-way bus ticket to get their kid to that hospital. And then you can think, “That’s just like how they got to Jesus. They would come from everywhere.”
Ann: They would open a hole in the ceiling.
Brant: Right. And He honored that desperation.
Brant: To me it’s like healing is not just another thing. We have all these things. “There’s some good stuff here, and that’s another good thing.” No, no, no. This is Jesus sent out His disciples to heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom. In Luke 9:2 that’s what it says. The idea to me is really encouraging at Cure, as a believer, because not just the surgeries where you kind of hope that they know that God loves them. Maybe they’ll ask.
No, no, no. It’s intentionally telling them and their families about the Kingdom of God and explaining the gospel to the kids and the parents, so everybody who comes through Cure’s doors gets to hear about a God Who loves them, gets to hear about Jesus, and gets healed. They don’t have to become Christians, but something like 20,000 did last year in the Cure hospitals.
Brant: Because we explain the gospel and we’re healing their kids. They’re told by faith healers in their communities, “You did something wrong. Your ancestors are upset at you,” and then they’ll have to give them all their money, and it doesn’t work. And then they come to these strange Jesus people, and they’re loved like never before. “It’s not your fault. The cost is zero, and now look, your boy can run.” To me, there’s nothing else like that.
Your story from Egypt is just very common. There’s one boy; he’s running on all fours. 15 years old, and they called him “the baboon” in his own family, because of his own bone issues. He had someone find on a mobile clinic from Cure in this remote village. Well, they brought him in with a distant relative. He could not understand why people were talking to him. People are joyful and happy. They’re smiling at him. He didn’t know how to relate to that.
Well, he’s now upright. I saw the video not that long ago. He’s on the therapy bars. He’s standing up beaming, beaming. It’s one thing to heal somebody, but to also say your name. His name is Adam. “You’re not the baboon. God know who you are. You have a name.” Seeing that, and coming from a background of religious stuff, where I’m like, “What in the world is going on here?” I needed to see Jesus at work, and this is the best example I’ve ever seen.
Ann: Sherri, you have some nieces that you’re really close to.
Ann: Did that make you want to allow those people that you love in your family to even see these kinds of things?
Sherri: I did. I made videos for them.
Ann: You did?
Sherri: Every day, and I sent it back to them. So they would watch them and then they would respond, and then I would do another video. I’d just go around. They had this beautiful mural of animals painted for the playground, but all the animals have a little disability, so the little giraffe has a little crutch or something. I thought, “Yes, I want them to see this. I want them to understand it.” So I did do videos for them.
It’s so funny because someone at Cure was doing a story and was asking me about what I went through and everything, and they were going to do a story about it. They said, “Do you have any pictures of you with the kids?” I said, “Sure, let me get back.” I have so many pictures, so many videos, none of me. The lady said, “You were so caught up,” and I was, with everything I was seeing, all the kids. I just have pictures of kids, kids dancing.
At one point there was a little party. Some of them hadn’t had their surgery yet, so they were in their wheelchair dancing and everything. It was such a joyful party. I remember walking out of that room and starting to walk down the walkway. I did a video with my nieces. I said, “I can’t remember what I used to complain about in America. I don’t know what I was complaining about. Whatever that was, those kids, and the reason why that joy is there is because this place has given them a place of beauty that looks like Jesus.
Sherri: Yes, hope and joy. It was breathtaking. Any fear, anxiety that I had seemed ridiculous just in that moment. I thought, “This is a place where Jesus is tangible. I can see them.”
Dave: When they get healed, is there community after? Are there moms coming together? What happens after?
Brant: Cure tries to do an outreach with local churches in communities they’re in. Sometimes it’s really far away, but they still have developed networks for that. Each hospital has pastoral staff for that purpose, so they get integrated. They also get sent home with materials about Jesus, coloring books and things for the kids, Bibles and whatnot to continue that relationship.
The impact, though—there have been situations—not exaggerating here. This will remind you of the New Testament. Somebody comes back into a village that they were like, “Your kid’s cursed because you did something wrong.” The faith healer here said that’s the case, couldn’t heal you. The kid comes walking back in, and people are like, “Who did this?” “Well, this Jesus loves us. They told us there’s a God Who loves us, so we became Christians.”
We’ve had entire villages get baptized as a result, because their thing didn’t work. But then they found healing through this. Well, what’s real? To me, it’s the sweetest thing. I even understand Scripture better now, like when they brought the blind guy to Jesus, they’re like, “But is it his fault or his parents’?” because that’s still going on. It’s like, “Somebody did something wrong. That’s why this happened.” And then His response was that this happened so that God could be glorified.
Brant: So at these hospitals, being able to be involved with it, helping to fund it or whatever, I get to be a part of glorifying God by taking these kids that couldn’t walk and now can run and dance and play. That’s pretty cool.
Ann: That’s really cool.
Dave: Now is there something our listeners could do?
Brant: Oh, yes. If you’re a brain surgeon, please apply.
Brant: Cure.org. You can actually see the kids that are in the hospital, see their back story. You’re going to be blown away. You can give to cover surgery. You can give on a monthly basis. It’s a matter of funding, so I’m happy to tell people that. Again, having 5,000 people on the waiting list—just a matter of funding it.
Dave: Can an average person do what Sherri did? Can they go and see?
Brant: Oh, yes. Yes.
Brant: If you go to Cure.org you’ll see you can go. When tragedy happens, people are like, “But where’s your God now?”
Brant: I have an answer. Follow me into one of these hospitals. I’ll show you where He is.
Brant: I will show you, because these are people that are the rejected of their own, not just poverty-stricken. Rejected by their own families and communities, locked away, finding new life and hope and joy. It’s brightly lit, and it’s beautiful colors, and the people are wonderful. People don’t want to leave.
Ann: I wish you guys were excited about this a little bit.
Brant: Anyone that goes becomes a raging lunatic.
Sherri: Yes. I definitely second that.
Dave: I was just thinking where we started, I would say to a mom or a dad, “Take your son. Take your daughter who’s a teenager, and change their perspective on all of life—
Dave: —to one of these. Have the trip Sherri just had.”
Ann: And also, FamilyLife is starting to do family mission trips, so I know that Shelby will be telling you how you can do this, and where you can go to find out the mission trips that FamilyLife is doing as well.
Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Brant Hansen and Sherri Lynn on FamilyLife Today. Such an incredible story of how God is working all over the world. And yes, we want to encourage you to take your family on a life-changing mission. There are so many great opportunities with FamilyLife mission trips. You can take your family on mission together, mom, dad, and the kids. [URL:.familylife.com/missions/home]
Our goal with this is to help families grow in oneness, grow in their ability, and grow in God’s kingdom. We all know that the old adage is true: More is caught than taught. And what better way to disciple our children and fill them with a life-long vision for walking with and serving Christ than by doing ministry together? Not only that, but families will minister alongside other families, and you’ll get to see kids influencing other kids to walk with Christ.
Our hope is to impact families who join us on mission to experience Jesus more deeply for themselves, and for them to have greater impact in the kingdom wherever God has placed them. If you want to learn more, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. You can check out the opportunities within FamilyLife to take your family on a missions trip.
Next week we hope you’ll join us when Dave and Ann Wilson are joined by Nana Dolce. She’s written a book called The Seed of the Woman. She’s going to talk about exploring God’s character through women in the Bible, discussing how women were tempted, how they went through suffering, and how God remembers us and sympathizes with us. That’s next week. We hope you’ll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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