The GOSPEL OF JOHN CLASS concluded on Friday afternoon and there was a natural tendency for me to start to relax. But the Holy Spirit encouraged me to stay focused and to prepare for teaching and ministry in two churches on Sunday.
The second church in which I taught was the Fountain of Worship Center in Langus slum. The sprawling commercial and squatter area outside Eldoret, Kenya is impoverished, crowded, crime-ridden, dirty and dangerous.
Three years ago a disputed national Presidential election exploded into tribal violence and genocide in several areas of Kenya. One of the worst places was Langus slum where people from local tribes hunted down and murdered tribal minorities who had immigrated into the area.
The open field adjacent to the church was used as the killing ground. Many people were butchered—their bodies burned—their decapitated heads displayed on the church’s picket fence. Many other minorities were driven from Langus.
Into that chaos the Global Field Evangelism team rushed, setting up public worship events in the midst of the violence.
Under grave threat to their own lives, the young men and women conducted lengthy outdoor praise and worship sessions.
Eventually the violence lessened. But the church property was abandoned as its members and leadership fled for their lives.
A young ministry couple named Joseph and Phelis Mbaye also prepared to leave the area. But the Holy Spirit intervened, telling them to use the empty building to evangelize, worship and pray in the smoldering aftermath of the month-long violence.
So they stayed in Langus with little security and even less financial support. With love and faithfulness they now pastor about 75 people. Through their devotion, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taking root in difficult and bloody ground.
Sunday I preached at Fountain of Worship Center. The small building is constructed of rough poles covered with used metal sheets. The floor is dirt. The people are grindingly poor.
But their spirits are rich in Christ. They welcomed our team with love and their voices were filled with joy as they worshipped in the presence of God. I truly enjoyed the lengthy praise time and was sorry when it ended.
At the last moment, the Spirit instructed me to teach on “The 7 Signs of Jesus” in the GOSPEL of JOHN. The Apostle John selected those seven miraculous works of Jesus from among many to reveal the divine nature of Jesus.
About half way through the teaching (which the people received enthusiastically), the Spirit directed my attention to a woman with a crippled leg.
He instructed me to pray for her. I made a mental note to do so at the conclusion of the teaching. A few moments later, the Spirit told me that my moment of opportunity to pray for this woman was passing.
So I stopped teaching and asked her if she would want us to pray for her. She said yes, so I met her in front of the platform with my interpreter.
I wondered if God intended to heal her leg. But as I listened, my instructions were to pray in such a way that God himself would speak a needed word to Mary.
This I did and in the quietness of the moment. God did speak to her and she began to cry quietly. She told us she felt peaceful and that God had assured her that everything would be alright.
I finished teaching and there were other prayers and an offering (money, food and other items being placed in a big bucket at the altar).
After the service the pastor and his wife expressed their amazement at the accuracy of the ministry to Mary.
Turns out her eight year old son had gone missing. She had been verging on an emotional collapse for two weeks while the church helped her search for the missing boy.
When we prayed, Mary experienced peace for the first time in two weeks and she received the assurance that God had not abandoned her. We are still praying for the return of her son.
When God brings Joseph and Pelis (and Mary) to your thinking, please pray for them. They are in a pitched battle for the eternal souls of the people of Langus–with very limited resources.
That afternoon I started the long trip home. I flew to Nairobi on a small commuter jet. Then a midnight British Airways 777 for eight and one-half hours to London. A four hour transfer, a nearly ten hour flight on an American Airline 777 to Dallas. Another three hour
transfer and a one hour flight and I was finally in Little Rock.
When I got out of bed this morning, Betty asked me how I was doing. I told her I felt like every inch of my body had been pounded with large fish.
But my enthusiasm is high as I reflect on the stupendous way the Lord began 2012 and as I consider the best is yet to come.
I know many of you prayed for me the past few weeks. Your prayers provided a secure spiritual covering over this entire process.
The meetings were infused with God’s presence, lives were transformed, people were healed and a perceived threat to my safety was easily averted.
God’s grace was in abundant supply and I am one of the recipients of his grace.
Your financial giving provided the logistical platform on which God did what only God can do. I couldn’t do this without you.
Thanks to each one of you.
I didn’t want to finish without sharing the closing day testimony of Pastor Shadrach (who cheerfully reminded me that his name comes from the man in The Book of Daniel who was FIRST to enter the King’s fiery furnace—and survive!) Shadrach is a former military man who is bright, disciplined and bold.
He told the class that earlier in the week he left class for home after I taught on “Doing the Ministry of Jesus”. On the way, God told him not to go directly home, but to find a place to meditate on the day’s lesson and to read passages in JOHN for the next day.
He spotted a nice shade tree in front of a gas station where he sat down to meditate on ‘doing the ministry of Jesus’.
After a while, a large cross-country bus packed with people pulled into the station. The driver got out to run an errand. The Spirit said to Shadrach, “This is an opportunity to do the Jesus stuff.”
So he got up, entered the bus and introduced himself to the passengers. He asked if anyone would object if he shared with them about Jesus. No one did. So he preached a short, powerful message on the JESUS WHO IS.
After which three people gave their lives to Jesus.
The pastor prayed for them, the passengers pressed a small offering on him, the driver returned, Shadrach went back to his tree and the bus proceeded to Nairobi with three new citizens of God Country.
Jesus calls us his FRIENDS—those of us who love and obey him—and he daily invites us to join him in the work he is always doing around us.
I hope you will be available to him. I hope you will be active in doing the Jesus stuff along with Jesus.
I hope you will enjoy The Great Adventure as much as Shadrach and I do.
(a final Trip PS to follow)