As I write this it is about 5:45 in the morning. Yesterday we bid goodbye to all our friends at Calvary Chapel MIdigo. I know the entire team was so sad to leave.
We were especially saddened by the news that Pastor Charles’ younger sister had passed away tue evening before. He has told us at dinner that she was in the hospital with cerebral malaria and was unconscious. We all prayed together and then about an hour later he told us that he had just gotten a call that she was awake and eating. We all rejoiced with him in what seemed to be an incredible turn around. An hour later she passed away. It was devastating for my friend Charles. His little sister was only 36 years old. She had four children and was a single mom. The greatest solace he had was in the knowledge that his sister was a Christian. He said she was his greatest supporter. When other family members opposed his following Jesus into the mission filed she was the one that encouraged him to go. They were truly not just brother and sister but best friends. Please pray for Pastor Charles and his family as they bury his sister. Though they know that she is in heaven the sense of loss is so profound.
We spent time yesterday at Calvary Chapel of Arua with Pastor David and his wife Madeline. We went to their midweek study at their church. They are currently in a temporary structure with a sheet metal roof, a dirt floor and straw mats for walls. As we approached the church we saw a number of people in a field in front of the church making bricks. They were helping to construct the new church building and children’s home. Thirty people of all ages knee deep in mud as they hand scooped mud into forms to be taken, dried and then fired into a deep red. I was struck by the look of emptiness on some of their faces as they toiled in back breaking labor. I wondered what their life was like. I wondered if they knew Jesus.
As we entered the make shift church I was struck by how simple the surroundings were. The church is the people not a building. There were about 10 people waiting for us as we entered. We were about 30 minutes late so we immediately began worship and then I taught for Roman’s chapter 8 on the blessings we have with God as our Abba Father. As I spoke and Pastor David translated I saw the workers begin to stop their work and come over to see what was going on. The front side of the building had no walls and so they were able to come up and look inside. More of them gathered and began to sit on the grass outside the church. When I finished I asked for anyone who wanted to ask Jesus into their heart to come forward. At first no one came forward. The people on the outside continued to peer in. My heart was broken for them as the Lord prompted me to tell them that without Jesus they will always be on the outside looking in. Not able to partake of the joy of being in the family of God and worshipping Him. Worse yet, if they died in that state they would miss out on the glories of heaven and be forced to endure the agony and pain of hell. I again asked for them to come forward to accept the Lord. Soon one person came from inside the church. Then someone from outside. One by one they came forward as the bystanders became fully involved in the worship of Jesus. One by one, men, women, and children came up to ask Jesus into their hearts. Soon about 20 people stood in front of me, all praying the sinners prayer. It was such a glorious sight!
Now the outsiders were no longer outsiders as they took seats inside the church and filled the room. Each of the our team members got up to introduce themselves and share a word of encouragement. Many said how they were struck by the brick makers and related it to our walk with the Lord. Perseverance, patience, faithfulness were some of the comparisons that our team made. I don’t think they will ever forget the day the American team came to their area.
Please pray for these new believers. Pray they will be rooted and grounded in their new found faith. Pray for Pastor David as he now begins the task of discipline these new believers.
God bless you!