One of the best things about teaching is seeing people’s eyes light up as they grasp the truth. This still remains a constant highlight in our ministry. However, more recently we have begun to enjoy another beautiful sight as people who have received the truth, allow it to bubble up and burst out of them as they enthusiastically tell others. Truth is very powerful. Like light that dispels darkness, truth sets us free from wrong mindsets. And just as light can be absorbed and emitted, so truth is received and transmitted. When you really grasp the truth, you cannot keep silent! We love seeing people accept the truth, but more than that, we love seeing them begin to share it with others.
Last month I took a team of five to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although the trip up through Zimbabwe and Zambia was gruelling, the experience was worth every discomfort. The hundreds of kilometres travelled in buses, mini buses and taxis, sometimes with our baggage on our laps, were quickly forgotten as we arrived in Lubumbashi. Sunday morning started with a five hour church service. Lengthy introductions were replaced by the numerous district choirs and interrupted by the peculiar sounds of a genuine brass band. I was given the opportunity to speak to the congregation and the visiting church leaders, before the God’s Vision God’s Mission teachings began the next day. The GVGM teachings (and French work books!) were received well by the pastors. I was also blessed by the sight of these church leaders helping one another to catch up lessons and understand the truth. We were all in awe of the commitment of three pastors who cycled 240km to come and attend the classes! I was also especially blessed by the team that accompanied me and helped present classes, lead the prayer time and preach in churches. It was great being with them and experiencing their joy and enthusiasm. Often shouting to be heard above the clattering roof sheets, we shared the gospel of the kingdom while the church leaders listened intently throughout the teachings. When challenged with the need of reaching the unreached, they unhesitatingly committed to go. Some volunteered to reach their neighbouring tribes, such as the pygmies, while others are prepared to reach out to other French speaking nations. Plans are already under way to start training missionaries.
After the last teaching we broke bread together and prayed for each other. We were then whisked away to preach in a large city church. This service was recorded and broadcast on a local television station. We have been invited back again for next year and hope to teach in three or four different locations including Lubumbashi, Likasi and Kolwesi. A bishop who asked questions until past midnight, wants us to train all 50 of the church leaders under him.
On a lighter note, I discovered that at least two of the pastors from last year’s class named their new born sons after me!
Upon returning from DRC we immediately started teaching God’s Vision God’s Mission again. I started with two evening groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as a Friday afternoon Youth group. Gerhard, who was part of the team in DRC, started two groups on farms near Bronkhorstspruit, while Arno is starting to teach in town. We are still looking for a group for Jaco to teach in the Centurion area. It was a big challenge for me trying to teach this material to teenagers! The first class was really difficult! The second and third began to be easier. Then Estie, who also joined us in DRC, took the next couple of classes.
Being in all kinds of different places and situations, we realised again that we cannot be limited to one location or to a specific church building in order to teach the truth or to worship God. The more flexible we become, the more people we will be able to reach, whether we are around the supper table, on a bus, in a coffee shop or hiking in the mountains. Saint Patrick, the missionary to Ireland, once said: “These mountains are my cathedral!” To worship God in spirit and in truth is to radiate His character wherever we are. Our entire lives must preach and teach the truth. When we walk, when we sit, when we lie down and when we rise up – every moment is an opportunity.