Saturday, March 24, 2007

In the Spirit of Joshua and Caleb

Tonight (Saturday), for about 3 hours, I spent some special time with a group of men that I believe God has called together for the purpose of scouting out some new territory for Christ! To be prudent, I don't feel I should mention the area where we will be headed, nor the exact timeframe. All I need to say is that we have been there before, and we encountered a majority of people who did not understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ! We wish to share with them that Good News!

Some other men in our churches have accompanied me there are 2 different occasions, in the years 2002 and 2004. I feel the timing is God's and the people He has chosen are those whom He wants to use. We will be there for a week very soon and while we will spend time in the Word, in prayer, and in visiting local people, we will also be sending out these men by 2's into neighboring villages where we believe people are more receptive to the Gospel of Christ.

Myself and Yaovi, who serves as the President of the local leadership council over all 7 congregations, have spent weeks discussing the plans and choosing the participants. It was exciting to gather all of them together this evening for the first of several meetings about this upcoming mission journey. I opened up the Word to Numbers 13 where the Lord calls out some of the Israelite men to examine the land of Canaan...only to find 2 who wholeheartedly were willing to go and fight the giants and take the land for God. As we read through the passage, I could sense the anticipation, the excitement, and the challenge facing these men. Would they have the faith of Joshua and Caleb? When we go in a few weeks, will they see the "milk and honey" (blessings!!) or will they see the overwhelming forces at work against us? Will they be intimidated by the size of the task and the reasons why it could "never work", or will they return back to their other brothers in this "tribe" and ask, "whom among us will go?"

I was encouraged at the end end when Yaovi challenged the group about praying for this trip, not allowing anyone or anything to discourage anyone from participating. He immediately called for a half-day of prayer and fasting, coming up soon. I was challenged and very much encouraged by his leadership.

It is fun to sit there tonight with these men, dreaming, planning, praying and even simply wondering about the future and the role we all play in sharing the love of Christ with those who do not yet know His Name. Especially when we speak about leaving behind our families, friends, and our familiarities and head into a land strange with new languages, new customs, new ways of living life and drastically different ways of interpreting the events of life. When someone doesn't worship the God you worship in the WAY in which you do (J-14.6), how do we tell them about Him? The patience and love of God demands we try and share His love with others, even going into lands much unlike our own. Yet while the urgency of the Gospel message demands we not delay, we also must proceed with an optimal strategy and plan, not of our own, but led by His Spirit.

As I close out my time here among the Aja people, I believe it is unlikely that I will spend much time in this new area. But those men at the meeting tonight...possibly one or more of them could end up moving up into that new land to work for God. Or it could possibly by one of their children who does it? We never know. But we go in faith, believing we are following the commands of our Lord and therefore, we walk confidently in His will. We will proceed with eyes of faith, and pray for God's hand to guide us to those who want to know the power of Christ's Resurrection.

The reason for my 'vagueness' has to do with my respect for this country. I am a foreigner. I am working here as a guest. I believe God sent me here and I work for Him, but I believe I can work passionately because of my beliefs without enciting others to evil, anger, or harm to us or those with whom we share these beliefs. I recognize that in this day, there may be a number of visitors to this blog who are citizens of this country and may not agree with my beliefs. I do not wish to start a war of religions in a land well-known for her peace. The battle is not with mankind. We know where the battle originates. We are familiar with our opposition, yet do not cower in defeat or discouragement. We believe the message of Christ is unique and therefore offers great hope in light of all the suffering of this world. I pray that as we work among the Aja people, and elsewhere, our witness is that of the love of God and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. We are not here to wage human war with our words or our actions. We wish to share the love of Christ. Simple as that. Our obedient reaction to God's love in our own life compels us to share the message with as many as possible. We trust God to open the hearts of men and to chose the Way of life that is best.

1 comment:

Greg Bailey said...

Sounds great Randy! Thanks for dreaming big with theses guys. I am sure God has put it on your heart for a reason. Wish I could have been there with you.

I had such a blessed trip. My family plans to spend some more time today praising God for the trip.

I am excited for the sweet reunion that you and the kids will have with Kelly tomorrow! May God bless you all as He brings you back together!

What do you hear from next door? Keep me updated as much as you can. Mawu a yra mi,