Good day all.
I hope everyone is keeping well, I am. It’s hard to believe we will have been here for a month this coming Tuesday, the time has flown and I am not sure where to.
The week past
The past week has been one of frustration and excitement. We have started all of major projects both in a building sense and a community sense, we have planned out our next few weeks to give us an idea of where we are going and what we need to be done.
The excitement has been in a few different things, for one we finished building our trusses for the church at Songembelle, which meant that work could start on the actual roof. As I write this all the trusses have been put up on the church building ready for the next stage of adding the tin sheeting, on the 16th of May the bishop is coming to the parish to say his goodbyes so our hope is that the roof will be up for then.
Also in the area we have started our girls and boys group. Both of which went extremely well but also brought about the sense of spiritual need in the area. The girls leading the girls group found a desire to grow in their faith amongst the local women but a lack of any real understanding of the basics of the faith. In the boys group we approached it slightly differently, using the universal mission tool of football and then after a while sitting with under the trees shaded from the sun while Nat shared with them for a few minutes about John 3:16, then we got back to football.
The frustrations came in other projects due to some mistakes on our part and just general frustration. Between missing materials and forgetting to order materials for others things, we found things that we had hoped to progress further we where unable to progress, which back home is so often easily fixed by just running to the shop to buy what ever you need, which is the story here as well but you just have to add in that one of projects is about 40 minutes away with a lot of it off road so it takes a lot longer to get materials there.
I would say this week was a gentle lesson from God on the reality of where we are and what we are trying to do. That you can plan and plan until you have every minute of the day sorted for the next week, but ultimately there will be frustrations and things that don’t go the way you want them to and you just have to trust God and deal with them because this is Africa.
Also this week we started doing crazy love as a team study which was fantastic and probably one of the highlights of my trip so far just to delve into deep discussion and seek to know more of God and more of his heart.
Lessons from the week – Simplicity
For me personally this has been a strange/good week as a I have swung between the feeling of pride at fixing something and the frustrations that life so often throws at you here. But it had been a week that through practical experiences here, my own studies and reflections on Gods word and the team discussions over crazy love and general conversations throughout the week that God has broaden that idea of simplicity from more than just Church but to every aspect of my life. So that when frustrations come in the week, that’s okay chose to simply deal with them, to Trust that God is bigger and more powerful than them, and that ultimately he has a reason for it. That our successes and triumphs here are His and not ours.
For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:13
Also this week I have been reading a historical biography on William Wilberforce that I had started long before I got here and sort of set to one side, but the more this week I have read it the more I have been captivated by it and his story, I am not going to massively get into it here, but the thring it had planted in my head is literally when God is on our side what have we to fear, no matter what we are up against. Wilberforce and his ‘Saints’ laboured for over 30 years over the cause of the abolition, they tasted false dawns of hope, they tasted failure over and over again. They seen events beyond their control on a national level ( war with France for over 25 years ) knock the idea of Abolition into the distance. Making them wonder if it would every come back to the forefront of the though. But they and Wilberforce in particular never gave up. He never lost sight of the goal, cause that he believed God had called him to pursue. Because his belief in God was greater than his fear of failure or rejections. What has God called us to pursue ? To trust him for:
‘Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God be for you who can be against you. Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well- doing.’
John Wesley to Wilberforce.
Also this week Hugh the last member of our team arrived to spend the next couple of months working with us. So we drove up to the boarder with Kenya, which simply has to be one of the most breathtaking drives I have ever done, rising up trough the Mountains and over the Massa River. Add into that the rainbow that was so vivid it was like God confirming everything he had placed on my heart this week. Those lessons of simplicity.
– Hugh. The last member of the team has arrived. Pray that he settles back into life here ( he was here is October last year ) That he will bond well with everyone in the tema and will be a great asset here.
– Team. Pray for the team as we continue to work and live tougher that we will grow even closer to each other and to God
– Songembelle. Pray that God will continue to move there both with the church and in the general area. Pray that with the roof on the church that it will grow and people will be drawn in to know more of Christ. For our boys and girls groups that they will serve a purpose and God will bless people through us.
– School work. Pray for the guys in the team who are involved with that, that they will overcome language barriers and God will really use them in the schools. That the toilets and water tanks we are building will make a difference.
– Me. That God will continue to use me here, to work a new in me and that I will lead well.
Yours in Christ
Keep at it Andrew – and look on the wall behind the Refectory Table you should see my dictum to all the TEAMS I take out – ‘proper preparation prevents poor performance’ and when at the end of the day you are hot and tired making mistakes is ‘easy’. Keep looking at your successes – everyday you are potentially ‘saving lives’.