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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remember, His Kingdom Has Come

Have you ever noticed that when the Kingdom of God is advancing there is always opposition? Well, I will tell you that this last trip to Congo was no exception.

Having traveled a lot in the past few years, you begin to expect “normal” travel delays or inconveniences. However, as we arrived in Kamembe, a small town on the border of Rwanda and Congo, we began to sense something more than travel inconveniences. After stepping off the plane and meeting our contact, Bishop Desire, he tells us that the visa requirements for entering the country had changed within the last week. He indicated that it might be difficult to get in. Knowing this, we crossed the border to see if there might be some grace that would allow our entrance into Congo. As we arrived at the immigration office, I recognized the man behind one of the desks. Maybe some conversation with him would persuade him to let us in. After much conversation and Bishop Desire making his pleas we proceeded back to Rwanda to spend the night while Desire went through the process of contacting the Chief of Immigration to resolve the situation. At this point, I’m texting and emailing everyone about the situation and asking them to pray that our visas will be granted. In a situation like this a seasoned team is a bonus and I was thankful to have one. They took everything in stride as we settled down for an unexpected evening in Rwanda. As we set on the back patio of the hotel, we gazed across the 200-foot stretch of river that separated us from the prize, Congo.

To lighten things up, I told Desire we could just take one of the small fishing dugouts across the river and we would be in. He said with a little sarcasm that for people like us that would not be wise. So with that being said, we closed the evening out with some unexpectedly good onion soup, worship, and prayer.

As the morning broke, we were hoping Desire had good news. As we are checking out, one of our team members was coming down the back stairs of the hotel and tripped, fell and broke a window cutting open his arm. God’s grace was definitely protecting the fall because the cut that he obtained was from the concrete stairs and not the glass in the window. By the time we bandaged him up, Desire arrived and informed us that we should be able to get our visas.

Again, we proceeded across the bridge and up the hill a second time towards the immigration office. By the way, we started traveling on Sunday morning around 6 am. and it is now Wednesday morning around 9 am.

After the conclusion of our first training session, Desire leaned over to me and said, “I know now why it was so difficult for you to get in.” You could sense the presence of God all through the room with hope and encouragement pouring from the faces of the 30 missionaries, pastors and elders.

Our goal for this trip was to continue training the leaders on story telling the scriptures as a means of planting churches and spreading the Gospel to all of Congo and beyond, like in the book of Acts. January of this year I led a team that taught eight stories from creation to the coming of Christ. At the end of that trip, we did an outreach to a village where there the presence of the Church was minimal. The pastors actually acted out and told the stories we had taught them. A crowd of about 75 to 100 people gathered around in the middle of a banana plantation to hear the stories. At the end, almost all of them stepped forward to receive Christ as Savior.

As we returned this time, testimony was given of how the church in this village was growing having baptized 15 to 20 in the last 6 months.

When the Kingdom of God advances, expect that there will be sparks and the enemy will try to discourage us in every possible way. However, as we stand firm, as Paul writes about in Ephesians 6:10-21, we see His Kingdom advance with His presence coming in new followers who will be witnesses of His grace and truth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hidden Treasures

Before leaving this past summer for Central America I did something I always do prior to leaving for a trip: put my jewelry in our safety deposit box. It was the day before I left. Along with packing and a million other errands, going to the bank to ensure safe keeping of my treasures was squeezed into this jam packed day. I came home and thought to myself, “I should hide the safety deposit box key.” So, I did just that.

The next day off I went for my 3 month stint in Central America. The problem came when I arrived home and couldn’t remember where I had hid the key.

I searched the house frantically. I emptied drawers, looked under rugs, I even retrieved my ladder from the basement to look in the places where I couldn’t reach. Now, it occurred to me that I never got the ladder OUT to hide the key; however, that mattered not one-ioda because I was desperate! I wanted my jewelry. I called the bank and explained my dilemma. They told me I would have to pay a nice price to bust open the box. So, I returned to my search. I got out the ole' ladder.

While on top of the ladder, searching in paraphernalia I didn’t even know I had, the Lord began to draw some parallels. I realized this is what I do many times in life when I don’t have the answers to something I want answers to. I analyze things to death, exhaust every possible scenario, tilt my head towards heaven and beg the Lord in desperation because, surely HE HAS THE ANSWERS! I usually include in my plea, “Why aren’t you telling me the answer? Don’t you know that I am seeking you for the answer?” I drive myself crazy and probably the Lord as well.

God has gotten a lot of mileage out of this parallel. I knew standing on top of that ladder that He did in fact know where the key was. I also knew He wasn’t going to show me where it was right then. At that moment it wasn’t about the key or the jewelry. He wanted to show me something about me and something about Him.

You see, God knows all that we don’t. He has the key to all of the questions locked up inside of us. There are things we want NOW that God says we can’t have until later. Things in our lives that have perplexed us for years are the things God has been molding and shaping into masterpieces one day to be revealed. The losses in our life are opportunities in His hands for our redemption. The delayed longings of our heart are the Lord’s joy to fulfill, in His time. He is not holding treasures FROM us; rather, He is holding them FOR us. ALL things are kept securely in the hands of our loving Father who knows exactly WHEN.

I have had to exercise discipline not to spend the money to go bust open the box. When I would think about the beautiful pieces of jewelry my husband has given me and long to be able to wear them, the Lord would remind me of the lesson He was teaching me that day on the ladder. I knew He would show me the key one day. So, I have been waiting.

Today, as I was getting something out of one of my drawers, one that I had explored during my frantic search, I found the key. I got so excited! I ran to put my jeans and flip flops on, threw up my hair, grabbed my keys, and got myself down to the bank. There were treasures to be had THIS day!

Joy