56 hours in 4 days is a lot to expect of anyone, much more so of little people. Nevertheless, that is what was required of Scarlet and Maverek this week, as they are our children and have to go where ever Kelly and I go. Our days began with breakfast at 7 a.m. and ended with dinner being served at 9:00 p.m. We found it amazing what all could be crammed into that span of time.
One highlight this week came when we got to see the coordination of two lives saved. A man in his late twenties came to the park where we were holding our sports clinics on Monday afternoon. He held in his arms a small trembling dog with golden shaggy hair. Both dog and man seemed cloaked in sadness. His name was John and we began to talk. I took the dog into my arms as he began to explain that his grandmother could no longer care for the dog, so sent him out to kill it. In the midst of the conversation, Maverek’s keen animal awareness led him into our circle. Taking the dog into his arms, Maverek calmed her immediately. I, attempting to hide my wavering doubt, assured both John and Maverek that we would find a home for the dog. Knowing that God cares for every sparrow that falls and seeing that Maverek had already affectionately named the dog “Chicha,” what else could I do? Maverek carried Chicha the rest of the afternoon, until she was adopted by a family involved in the clinics. I, with the help of a national church leader, proceeded to have an hour long conversation with John about his search for truth amidst a life of struggle and tragedy. His quest for ended as he chose to surrender his life to Christ. That evening, Chicha began her new life as a family pet, and John began his journey walking with Jesus by coming to the first cell group meeting and learning how to study the Bible for himself.
The second highlight was Wednesday working in an area more impoverished than we had ever seen. The houses are made of grass mats, there is no running water, no bathrooms, no refrigeration, electricity is highjacked and sporadic, clothespins are a luxury. Impoverished. The only thing abundant was the number of kisses the children showered us with before we left. This area was very skeptical and stand-offish at first, not accustomed to seeing “white” people in the area because, in reality, no one comes here on purpose. After a couple of hours playing however, doubts were cast off and new friendships forged. The work to plant a new church in this area began on Monday morning and by Monday night they had constructed the new church building. You will see some photos of the black tarp roofs and cane pole rafters. You might see two light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, but those only work if and when the electricity does, rarely. So, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening, 11 hours into our 3rd day of work, we came to the cell group meeting to serve in whatever way was needed. We were surprised to see Scripture come to life right before our very eyes.
14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
On this particular day, there was no electricity and the sunset at 5:30, by 6:00 it was plain dark! Our family got to be the light on a stand, giving light to all in the house. For one and a half hours, Scarlet and Maverek on tired feet with patience straight from heaven, stood still and without complaint, holding candles with Kelly and I to light the evening service. It is amazing how creative God is and how he chooses to use us. We tend to think, “Well, I am not a preacher, so I can’t minister to anyone.” But tonight we learned, through experience, that God uses the little acts of obedience, those small sacrifices of our own will and comfort, to bring His light into the darkness. What a privilege!
For you number people out there, Wednesday we saw 64 people engaged in our sports clinics and hearing the gospel in small groups, while the newly trained nationals built relationships and shared the gospel with 23 other bystanders.