I recently took a short break from meeting with the believers in order to meet new teammates arriving here in Mada as well as taking time to attend a meeting with others who are ministering here. These type of absences are, in my opinion, good for the believers as they learn to feed themselves and depend more on the Holy Spirit living within them.
As we reunited after the time apart, I listened as they filled me in on what God had been doing in their lives. I was encouraged with the news that they had shared Christ with three people who in turn accepted the good news and became followers of Christ. I listened as they introduced the new believers and shared their stories with us.
After a while the news shifted to the reality of counting the cost of following Christ. I listened to one story after another of persecution coming from friends and family who are rejecting the changed lives unfolding in front of them. Again I was encouraged as they prayed for one another and found peace in God and each other.
Near the end of that day’s time together there came a commonly asked question concerning following Christ with your whole heart. Some of the believers still struggle with leaving the trust in idols and traditions, mainly due to the pressure from others who don’t follow Christ. As I usually do, I took us all back to God’s Word for wisdom and strength.
The following time we met together we reread Scripture from the Old and New Testament pertaining to Holiness. As God’s Word poured wisdom and light into the situation I could see peace and joy returning to the believers as they reclaimed their faith in Christ and committed to His ways alone.
As God’s Word poured wisdom and light into the situation I could see peace and joy returning to the believers as they reclaimed their faith in Christ and committed to His ways alone.
Throughout the time together the believers shared how they knew God was with them even when others were against them. I was amazed to listen how they fleshed out how to be separate through their obedience to His Word. I was encouraged to see them determine to not stop sharing their faith and always being broken for those who have yet to hear the good news.
During the lesson time I was describing God, and I used the term for Creator God. After a moment of staring and eyes popping out, the people in the room began to laugh nervously. I asked what I had said wrong. Victor humbly told me that I had said that that the one true God and the god that they worshiped before, their ancestral god, were the same. He said that they are not the same because ‘our god’ is dead and gone, but ‘The God’ is alive and living within us through faith in Jesus Christ. While I appreciated the language help, I could barely contain the joy of seeing the believers all agree that the Living God reigns!
These type of moments with believers is the only food we need. I look forward to tomorrow when I meet again with the believers. I can’t wait to see God at work.
Oh, and the new believers I mentioned at the top of this post were baptized by Victor on Sunday. Victor leads the group on Sundays when the two groups I meet with all come together in a central location and worship together. Next week we’ll learn about the Lord’s Supper and observe it together for the first time.