Dependent Upon God
On Sunday morning we concluded a lengthy study I’d been teaching at New Life Centre Church about covenants. The study of covenants teaches us a lot about God’s character, His faithfulness and mercy to us. At the end of the service, the people had come forward for prayer and as I prayed with them, I spoke of how God is a covenant- keeping God, and we are a covenant-breaking people. God created us from the dust of the earth, so we cannot help but fail, but God’s mercy towards us always triumphs over His judgment. (James 2:13) I spoke of how it’s our inherent human weakness that keeps us dependent upon our loving and merciful God, because it’s only with His help and strength that we can live lives of salt and light on this earth, that we can be anything different from the people around us.
Interestingly, my thoughts this week have traveled from this on to what Jesus said as He looked upon the crowds of people which were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” He said that 2000 years ago, but those words remain true today. Everywhere we look, people are helpless and lost, and those of us in the Lord’s service must have the same compassion upon them that Jesus did then. (Matthew 9: 35-38)The lack of adequate workers in the harvest field is another way that God keeps us dependent upon Him. Many times those of us in the foreign mission field find ourselves working outside our normal capacity and talents because there simply is no one else to do the job. So we must rely upon God to expand and enable us for whatever task we find at hand.
Last week two of us rented a motorcycle and rode the 10 miles or so out to Kabanyi, Pastor Ezira’s village. Ezira, his family, and his parents just returned from 4 months in Congo with family there. We’ve had a church building project going on in Kabanyi but it was halted by the heavy rains we had this fall causing the dirt road to become impassable. The rains have stopped and the back roads have solidified again, but they remain impassable because of lack of maintenance. Thus the motorcycle.
While the family was in Congo, rebels moved heavy artillery onto one of the hills overlooking the village where Ezira’s family was staying. His parents told me how they all went to prayer, and after a few days, they saw that artillery get moved away with no harm having been done. They had not wanted to go to Congo, but their children there had sent them money to come. I suspect this was one of the reasons God sent them there, because I know how these people can pray! Ezira spent much time teaching and training Congolese pastors in the Word of God, in healing and deliverance ministry. These pastors have no Bibles. I thought of the hazards of preaching without Bibles, but on the other hand, saw how it’s another area of dependence upon God. I’ve heard stories of how God leads and guides remote peoples who do not have access to His Word…
We have our SEVO land in Kikunyu which is being developed for a training center. The SEVO people plan to build a chapel as they build the training center for worship purposes. Kikunyu has no church and the people want one. Some of the New Life Centre people went out there to a neighboring village where there was a tiny house church of 4 people, to conduct an all night of prayer. All the village drunks brought their booze and watched and listened all night, and one person accepted Jesus as his savior!
There is another village not far from mine, called Kiiya (chee-ya), a sad place full of drunkards. A growing number of Kiiya people are walking 6 miles one way to attend services at New Life Centre. Some of the drunkards told Pastor David, “We’re tired of drinking. Can you come and teach us about God?”
New Life Centre used to be a tiny village church of women and children only. Pastor David prayed long and hard that God would bring him men for his church. Sunday I saw 4 young men leading worship and prayer prior to the sermon time. The choir is made up of mostly young men and boys. David’s prayers have been answered! As we teach and ground them in the Word of God, we hope to begin sending them out to Kikunyu and Kiiya and other similar, needy places to meet the spiritual hunger we see all around us.
I came to Uganda as a Registered Nurse. At heart I am a teacher, so I have always loved the teaching aspect of nursing. I am not a preacher. But I love to teach from the Bible. Now I find myself behind the pulpit every Sunday teaching the Word of God from Life Ministries Institute. (Foundations For Christian Service by Jim and Jean Stephens, Resource Ministries, Bend, OR) My field is science, not education, and yet I find myself working with and helping to develop our school, New Life Academy. None of us have business degrees and yet we struggle to manage the business and financial aspects of our school. None of us knows construction, and yet we’re working to build churches, schools and houses. We struggle, but we persist.
Jesus said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” So as you pray for your missionaries, pray for God to raise up more workers to send. Consider yourself as a potential worker, even short term. We’ve been blessed by teams that have come and trained in our churches and communities for a few weeks at a time, that have left huge impacts on lives and souls. King David spoke of equal reward for both the front line soldiers and the ones who stayed behind with the supplies. Many prefer to support from behind the lines, but why don’t you consider moving to the front lines in this New Year?