What did we do?

Cathy Edwards

To proclaim His name is to shout for joy,

to declare His truth,

to Love as He loves…

 

There are many things I am just now beginning to process since returning from our most recent journey to Tanzania.  Friends have asked me ‘how was it?’, ‘did you do everything you hoped to?’ ‘what did you do anyway?’

What did we do? What didn’t we do…?  This journey was filled to overflowing with the Love, Grace and Joy that comes only in being Loved by Jesus Christ and having Him work in us to Love others. 

 

Many things were done:

  • God was worshipped in churches, in homes, and under trees

  • Scripture was read and reflected on in a unity which crossed cultures

  • Lives were given in baptism

  • The Word of God was placed in the hands of His people

  • Prayers were said together and for each other

  • Community was formed in Love

  • We were encouraged and we took up each others burdens

  • Young and Old bore witness of Jesus Christ

  • God's Spirit moved and blessed

What did we do? We experienced joyful times of fellowship, worship, evangelism, new life and baptism; yet there were times of tears. We mourned the loss of health and independence, the loss of a son, and the hardships in drought, poverty, and sickness.  The Christians we encountered live their lives thanking God and believing in the goodness of His plans despite their current situation. They reflect the Light of Christ to the world and ‘they’ remind ‘us’ how much we need Him in every moment of our lives.

 

In Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians, Paul talks about love and living in Christian community.  As I read this passage, I am reminded of our brothers and sisters in Tanzania:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

In our Western culture we have much to learn about living in community, being a blessing to others, and loving sincerely as Christ loves us. As in previous trips, it really wasn’t about ‘what we did’, but rather about God working in and through us for His purposes and for His glory.  My prayer is that we would all become more joyful in hope, more patient in affliction, and more faithful in prayer.  That we would be a blessing to others by sharing our time, our resources, and our gifts.  That instead of our own needs and wants, we would honor others first.

The single greatest act of Love that any Christian can perform is to lay down one’s life for the other. Often we hear this ‘laying’ down as being limited to a sacrificial death. Yet lives laid down can be (and often are) picked up by God - He will use surrendered lives in His ongoing mission to bear witness of all that was accomplished through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

What did we do? We laid down our lives and God took them up. He took them up and worked so that hundreds and hundreds of His beloved children would hear and sing the wonder of His Gospel:

 

Kuna nguvu katika jina la Jesu

Kutuweka huru

 

What did we do? For days upon days we sang this refrain and proclaimed this essential Gospel truth. After returning home that particular worship song echoed in our minds and in our lives. In both English and Swahili God is glorified; in prayer and in proclamation God alone is worshipped. Let everything with breath - every nation, tribe and tongue – sing His praises. Let us sing until the whole world hears:

There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain

 

… only He truly sets us free.

Bwana Yesu Asifiwe.

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