Just when we think that God can't surprise us ANYMORE with His attention to the details of our lives...we experience something like "een-ya-goi-ya"!! Now, this is the phonetic spelling of the word, I have no idea how the "real" word is spelled or what it means. All I know is that it is a place. A very interesting little neighborhood about 2.5 kilometers from our house in 25 de Junho and until 2 weeks ago, we didn't know it existed. This little neighborhood has a "community center" of sorts. They have a soccer field and some really run down basketball courts. There's even some covered parking there that we think people in the community are able to rent. Yesterday, they were having a "Sunday Matinee" in one of the buildings. People were watching a movie with the sound blaring.
In an abandoned building, war torn looking and with only half a roof because the other half collapsed, we worshipped on Sunday with 100 or so young people. About 7 or these young people, we have known since the beginning of our time here in Mozambique because of our friendship with the National Director of Youth For Christ. As a matter of fact, all of these 7 young people were part of the team of Mozambicans and Americans that helped us in neighborhood outreach at the start up of the church plant in Djuba in 2004! We didn't even know that they were trying to start a church together, only 2.5 kilometers from our house! The only way we found out is that Fernando, the leader of this work, needed a tooth pulled and came to the recent dental clinic.
It was a great service! Lots of music and corporate prayer. Rodger preached and then Fernando asked him to tell the congregation about our ministry here. If one-on-one conversations with young people hadn't been enough confirmation of what God is doing in the hearts of young people in this country and how the ministry God has put on our hearts to do fits that need, the response of the congregation just burned it into our hearts and minds! As Rodger began to talk about living in the community where you are serving, a guided study on soul care for Christian workers, practical help for ministry experience, creating a sustainable business so that church leaders can provide for themselves and their families, their excitement grew. They clapped, they "amen"-ed, they shouted "Halleluhah", they made the missionaries cry because of their excitement!! At first I wondered if it was about the fact that we were talking about creating jobs, and that still could be, but it was well stated that their were only 8 openings for people and that the pastors would be helping us to choose the candidates. I think they were most excited that someone finally "gets" what they've been trying to say all along. They want to serve the Lord but they need mentoring, need to not have to choose between their church work and supporting a family, need to be able to survive in the community where they are serving.
They entire congregation then had a time of prayer for us. They prayed for protection for our family from the attacks of the evil one. They prayed that they might be co-laborers and an encouragement to us. They even mentioned in their prayers that we be able to live like Martin Luther King Jr. talked about, having a dream and black and white working together to realize that dream, as brothers. They prayed that everyone would see that "God Reigns" in Mozambique.
On the way out of the neighborhood, the young leader of the work said that they are praying for a tent or covering for the half of the building without a roof, so that they can use that space as well. Guess what? We have a tent! The one we used for starting the work in Djuba! Coincidence OR God building our faith and the faith of this young man?
So...not to get ahead of God..., it just seems all too strange that, without even knowing it, we moved right down the road from these kids we love, that we already have a relationship with, that are already trying to do a work very nearby!! Isn't He AMAZING!!!!! It makes me get out of bed every day thinking, "What will He show us next?"
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Can you see the paw print of a lion?
A few months ago I had the privilege of tracking lions in the bush of South Africa. It was an amazing experience. As we left the bush camp, we were on foot equipped with two trained trackers, one shot gun and a very excited missionary who was just thrilled to be along for the walk. As we walked through the bush I kept my eyes pealed looking in every direction in hope of impressing my guides and being the first to spot the lion. After a while we came upon some tracks. It took me a while to see them as they were somewhat difficult to see in the sandy ground. Obviously my guides were far more experienced than I as they could see things that to which I was oblivious. At one point they stopped and began to dig around in the sand and sift through it as if to search for something. Then one guide did the unthinkable. He smelled and tasted the sand. He held up a handful to my mouth for me to take a turn. They proceeded to tell me that the Lions had spent the night here and had killed a small animal to eat. All I could see was sand, sticks and the usual bush like terrain. They could tell by the placement of the grass, smell and taste of the sand that lions had been there recently. So as I was trecking through the African bush looking all over and in every direction for Lions, my experienced guides were looking to ground and the small nuances of the landscape to find what they were looking for; a lion.
As followers of Jesus we too are constantly struggling with our faith trying to locate the footprints of God in our lives. We seem to be looking in every direction trying to find God and know his ways. We need to train our senses and spiritual eyes to see, taste and feel the movement and working of God in and aournd our lives. Sometimes he feels elusive as a lion, but as we train our spiritual senses and learn his ways we will be able to see things that only the trained can see. In doing so, tracking The Lion will become a wonderful adventure of discovery and memories of God's mercy and justice in our lives as we seek to find him in every aspect of our lives.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you! Jeremiah 29:13,14a
Lets get Trekking!