Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hide And Seek

Not too long ago David and I babysat for some friends who went on a much needed date. Within the span of a month this sweet couple had a newborn baby AND adopted a 7 year old from Congo. Needless to say, they were busy and I think it had been months since the two of them had actually been out alone. So, David and I headed over to their house and sent them on their way. We decided to take our first-born baby and her husband along with us. (Did I just say ‘our first-born baby and her husband?!!) Yikes! Say it ain’t so!

As soon as we got there Ben, our daughter’s husband, took the baby, who is extremely attached to her mama, and began to feed her a bottle. The baby didn’t fuss or cry; the baby was totally content. Jessica looked at me with great surprise. My mama instincts told me it was not just surprise that I was looking at but rather, great PLEASING surprise! She was impressed. Uh Oh! The mental pictures began to fly through my mind so fast I about fainted. This frame of thoughts ended with a blaring picture screaming, “You’re gonna be a grandma one day!” God help me, I need MY mama!

Well anyway, while Ben took care of the baby Jessica and I decided to play hide and seek with Julie, the 7 year old. Two of us would count while the other one hid. (I am not sure what David was doing.) It was obvious that Julie had played this before, probably with her daddy, because she had some pretty good hiding spots. She loved the game and especially loved being found. She would start giggling when we would get close to her hiding spot and inevitably end up giving herself away.

When it came time for me to hide, I made sure it would be nearly impossible to find me. I could hear Julie and Jessica counting and then the ole’ “ready or not here I come.” They began their search. They looked and looked but could not find me. They even opened the door and looked in the closet where I was hiding. I was tickled that they didn’t discover me! But then I began to tire of hiding in that dark, small and cramped closet. I began wishing they would find me. I felt conflicted over this. I wanted them to find me but at the same time, I liked that they couldn’t find me. I waited and waited. I thought about coming out and pronouncing with glee that I had won because they couldn’t find me. But somehow that didn’t seem right. I wanted to be found. I then had the thought, “if they got David to help them they could probably find me.” Wouldn’t you know it? That is exactly what they did. When I realized they had employed the big guy to help look for me, a sudden panic set in. I knew he would know where I was because he knows me. I knew I was about to be found. Sure enough, David walked right to the place where I was hiding, opened the door, looked further into the closet, and discovered me. I promise he did not see me hide. We all laughed and giggled and I think Julie decided she preferred doing the hiding.

Afterwards I thought, “This is such a picture of how we are with God.” We hide from Him, enjoying it at first because we think we are getting away with something. But then it begins to get unbearable in that dark and secret place away from Him. We want to be discovered. But there is conflict. We somehow like hiding and we are not totally sure we want to be found. And yet our soul cries out. We think about coming out and just saying, “I give up. Here I am!” But pride sets in and we think and decide we will stay right where we are a little longer. We must not give in. Or perhaps fear sets in and we wonder what will happen if we come out of hiding. Will we be rejected? Will we be humiliated? We somehow think that coming out of hiding is admitting failure or losing. But is it really winning staying in that small, dark, secret place where no one knows where we are?

There is nothing that quite compares to the relief of being found. I think in all of us there is a deep desire to be found and known. Some of you reading this want to be found! You want to be known, truly known by someone. When the Big Guy starts getting close it stirs up a little panic and we are tempted to resist or move further away and deeper in. But stop. Stay put. Don’t resist. Give in. I promise relief is coming. You aren’t being found by just anyone. You are being found by the One who knows you, really knows you. He knows exactly and precisely where you are hiding and He is still coming for you!

A great man once said that he counted all the things he had lost as mere rubbish compared to gaining Christ and being found in Him. My prayer for you today is that you will be found by Him and in Him. This is freedom! This is true life! This is winning! I pray “that you may have the power to understand...how wide, how long, how high and how deep God’s love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19, New Living Translation)

Joy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Flickering Flame

It has been said that the way a thing begins often has huge repercussions and may even determine its end. In East Congo there is the beginning of a new movement. Through a strong leader in the city of Bukavu and with the help of necessary input from an ATC staff member, there is a whole new prodigy of missions in that country. It is a simple process that has sparked a flickering flame, but has been profound enough in its implementation that I believe soon this flame will consume much of the enemy’s work in that broken region of east Africa.

I was at a missions gathering recently and we were being reminded that Jesus said we would do greater things than He did. The speaker then proceeded to explain this concept primarily around the explosion of technology that we are now experiencing. This explanation of that passage I find lacking. I do not believe Jesus’ reference at this point was to television and internet and the employment of this technology in the spreading of the gospel. Clearly His reference here was kingdom ministry that substantiates and gives credence to a kingdom message. A demonstration, if you will, that the rule of God has come and with it the dominion of darkness is being squelched.

The employment of technology then, is not the greater things that Jesus refers to, but it is a good thing and a valuable tool. This has been the case in east Congo. Some years ago a group of pastors interested in missions gathered for the launching of a missions class. Of these 50 or 60 pastors, 18 displayed enough drive to begin training in missions and church planting by way of the internet. An entire missions curriculum course was developed by an ATC staff member, translated into French, posted on a website, and classes began. As of this month all 18 of these students have graduated and stand ready for assignments in the unreached bush of Congo.

You see a profound implementation of a simple strategy. The potential is almost unlimited. With a process in place, how many national workers can be trained to impact an entire region of this Dark Continent? It is limitless.

The most exciting part of all this occurred at the conclusion of this training. The entire class came together and decided that each one of them would come up with fifteen dollars of their own. This may not sound like much to you and me, but fifteen dollars in Congo is significant, particularly to a people who have almost nothing. Fifteen dollars would educate one of their children for four months. Fifteen dollars, in some cases, is one month's rent. It is possible that fifteen dollars would feed their family its meager subsistence for more than a week.

This fifteen dollars was to have a special purpose. The sacrifice of saving and collecting fifteen dollars was in order that each participant could print all of the material they had studied to keep it as a reference. I suppose that if we had known we would have done it for them. The ways of God are higher. There has seldom, if ever, been a mission’s movement of God that was not born out of sacrifice. I am sure that in the end these flickers of a flame, now fanned by the winds of sacrifice, will with blazing heat destroy the works of the enemy as the kingdom is ushered in.

It has been said that the way a thing begins often has huge repercussions and may even determine its end. I have expressed my thanks to these pastors of Congo who now find themselves both prepared and armed with sacrifice, commitment, and humility. Their commitment and sacrifice have already proven to be an example that I want to emulate somehow. It is my prayer that their dedication to the cause and call of Christ has also been an example to you.

David