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The Best Dance Party Ever

The Best Dance Party Ever

Yes, that’s a disco ball on the cover of my book.

There’s some irony there, given that I’m an awkward introvert who’s anything but cool on the dance floor. But there it is, because I’ve been to the Best Dance Party Ever in a place you have to see to believe.

If you look at a satellite photo of the dusty city of Niamey, Niger, there it is: A huge field, maybe a square mile or two, that is nothing but a smoldering trash heap. That’s it. It looks like a scar from the sky. 

But a corner of that trash heap has been walled off. And inside those walls… it’s green. It’s clean. Things are growing. There are flowers and trees and grass; walkways and gardens amid a complex of buildings. And if you could peer through the roof of one particular building on a Thursday afternoon, well… that’s where it’s happening.

Inside the walls of the CURE International Children’s Hospital, things just... thrive. Vulnerable things, like the little flowers, and little children too, many of whom have been treated as though they were refused, themselves, because of their disabilities. They come for life-changing surgeries that can allow them to walk, run, play, and dance for the first time.

The staff turns on some fun music, and everybody gets down. Some dance on crutches; others use canes. Some sit in wheelchairs and dance. Some love to join in by being picked up and held.

I’ve had the distinct honor of being part of this. I bring my dance moves, and they’re goofy, but… who cares? The best parties are the ones where no one is trying to be cool.

The whole thing, from satellite view to the dance floor, vividly captures something that was the favorite subject of Jesus: the Kingdom of God. It’s the Good News, He said. It’s breaking through. It’s here. It’s available.

  • And if you’re wondering what this particular Kingdom looks like, well, this hospital’s a pretty good start: it’s where the sick are healed, and outsiders become insiders.


Niamey is a tough place to live for anyone, let alone a little one with a disability. The heat and invasive dust are ever-present. But inside these walls? There’s the pop of color, and it’s not just the flowers or the vegetables being grown in the gardens for employees and locals and their families. Kids and their moms wear their brightest, and the soundscape is singing and laughter.

If you believe in this Kingdom of God — and I sure do — well, here you go. Here it is on earth, as it is in Heaven. Amazing what can happen when we Jesus’ followers actually do what He said:

Proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. — Luke 9:2

A field of trash and ashes is reclaimed, chaos turns to beauty, the sick are healed… and the music starts for the best dance party ever.

Adapted with permission from Life is Hard, God is Good, Let’s Dance by Brant Hansen, copyright Brant Hansen. 

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Your Turn

How does one live joyfully in the middle of a trash heap? In heat and dust? Just follow Jesus! Jesus went to the sick and He spoke words of life to them — He healed them. That’s our call, too! Jesus gave us this enormously wonderful job on earth: proclaim the Kingdom and heal the sick. But, will we do it? ~ Devotionals Daily