Why I Keep Going Back

The apostle Paul had a close relationship with the Christians in Philippi. He loved to visit them and hear from them. Even in jail he was sure he would be released to visit them again for their “progress and joy in the faith.” I have a lot of friends in Africa, and in many cases, I was at their baptism and helped teach them. I receive joy in my heart when I see them and try my best to return joy and to help them grow in their faith. This is the stuff of relationships. Really, it’s about relationships. This is why I go back.

I could mention other days but on one day alone on this trip I saw four leaders that warmed my heart.

Urbano (78 years old) – I found him on this trip in the local hospital. He has been ill for a long time but is still hanging in there. Urbano has always had a very strong desire for the work of the church and a heart for receiving guests into his home (If you have ever come to Sukumaland you have met Urbano and probably stayed at his house). Those are his reasons for living which he is always talking about. May God grant him more days on this earth to continue serving in the kingdom.

Jehosefat – We met him about 20 years ago as a young man. He was ridiculed for being so young and his church and choir for being so small. But what a difference 20 years makes. He preached the short sermon before me on this day. He did such a wonderful job, better than me. He is a student of the word, a good preacher, respected church leader, and a good father and husband. He has also gone through many hardships but remains faithful. What a blessing to see him again and hear of his family.

John was one of the first people we met in the early 90’s. Today, I asked him in front of the large crowd to share what kind of person he was before coming to Christ over 20 years ago. He was honest and open about being a drunken woman chaser, and many know that he is suffering the consequences of that lifestyle. However, he remains a faithful leader among the churches of Christ in Tanzania, and has started more churches and baptized more people than most have ever dreamed about. I have spent hours and hours with this man. It was a blessing to be with him again this day.

Heremoni – He has also been with our movement for a long time. Always a good person, but I never thought he had the gifts or ability to start churches or lead people. I could not have been more wrong! He started the church we were visiting this day, is helping with other church plants, and himself leads a church of over 200. He is living proof of how God can mightily use anyone he chooses. I am overwhelmed as I think about what God is doing through him. He has always been super kind and generous to me. What a joy to see him again.

I could go on about others, but these four leaders from one of our 10 clusters on one day out in the Sukumaland, this is why I come back! I come to see them again, to continue in our relationships, and to encourage them and other church members with all of His power that works in me.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Peace - Jabbarri Jones

Rest - Ross Thomson

God Provides - Bob Bentley

Cycle of Insanity - Casey McCollum

Soil Analyst - Casey McCollum



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