Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reflections on Africa

Leading up to my trip to Chad I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord would teach me during my stay. The leader of our group, Mr. Fuhrmann, had encouraged all of us to keep a journal the several days leading up to, during, and after our trip. I found keeping a journal to be a very profitable activity. It helped me to sort out all of my thoughts at the end of each day and now I can look back to it and remember everything that I learned.  

 The first thing that the Lord showed me is that there is no such thing as different classes between the saints. What I mean is that when God looks at me, He is just as pleased with me as He is with any other saint. He loves us all the same! I don't have to be like Hudson Taylor to please Him! I don't have to follow some arduous list of religious activities to have His smile upon my life! It seems like such a simple truth but too often have I found myself in the grip of legalism, thinking I am so much better than others who do not hold to my list of rules. Rules that aren't found in scripture, but rather, in my imagination. Rules that, when I am honest, I can't even live up to! He showed me this through the example of the missionaries. I expected them to be very ascetic people, like so many missionaries I had read about, but they were very ordinary. Just ordinary people with an extraordinary God. :)

The second thing He taught me was that He wasn't calling me to do mission work. Leading up to the trip, I had a lot of speculation as to how the Lord might use this trip to show me that I need to be a missionary. The idea of mission work had crossed my path many times, so I figured that if He wanted me to be a full-time missionary then this was probably the time to show me. :) But He didn't, and I am very grateful to have clarity in this matter. I feel like He wants me to continue in farming, which He has prospered me in and I love doing! Always good to have a greater sense of the will of God.

The third and final thing that the Lord showed me during my trip to Chad was that I need to be more involved in evangelization of the lost in a local sense. This is something that has been on my mind for several months. While I was in Chad any attempt to witness would be met with two primary obstacles; a language barrier and a culture barrier. I didn't speak their language and I didn't know their culture. These things are very real problems. I couldn't help but think about the fact that back in the States there is no language and culture barriers. This thought spurs me on to be a witness to the community around me. So, I am looking into how I might proceed with this desire.

Thank you for reading my posts. It has been a pleasure writing them. My next and last (I think) post is about the stop in Paris during our return home.


Graham Donahue said...

Glad to hear more about your trip! I am glad you were able to learn a lot on the trip. I am sure it is nice to feel reassured that you are walking on the path God wants you to, and encouraged to share the gospel with the folks around you.

Thanks for sharing!


Jonathan said...

Thank you for posting this, Elliott.

I have been realizing how much opportunity people like us have for reaching out to New Agers, environmentalists, and other "greenies." We share a lot of the same interests in healthy living, but they don't have a godly foundation. Joel Salatin gave a really good talk at the San Antonio Food Conference last year (we watched the internet live stream) about how Christians in the local foods movement are a great witness to environmentalists that Christianity is not synonymous with destruction of the land, but rather provides the best basis for stewardship! I think that once people realize that, they will be open to hearing more.

Oma said...

Dear Elliott,
You know I don't look into my computer all that much, so I'm way late in reading your very interesting and informative words. My computer doesn't get the pictures, but I'm sure you'll let me see them sometime when we're together.

I'm so pleased that you learned some very valuable things from the Lord because of this worth-while trip; and you'll continue to be open to His prompting in how to apply it in the days to come.

It's great that you've discovered the exercise of journaling. I started when Opa was sick and have found much pleasure in it ever since.

Just this very day, I came across an article that will be of great interest to you in your desire to evangelize the lost whom God puts in your path: It was written by D.Babb.
"What Is My Part?
Watching people is one of my favorite activities. In the airport today, a lady next to me is talking about the changes in her home now that her daughter has left for college. A young mother and father just walked by pushing a stroller and loaded down with bags and baby-care essentials. Across from me sits a young firl who is wearing a sailor uniform and is headed fro a new destination. Do you ever watch and wonder where they are going and why? Is it not intriguing to think about who they said good-bye to and who might be waiting at the other end? What makes their worlds go round? Will you ever see them again? These questions plague my mind as I watch other travelers. The question that haunts me the most is the last one. Will I ever see these people again, if not on earth, in heaven? The fact that so many people do not know about Christ sometimes overwhelms me, but I must do my small part. What is my part? It is to share with the lost the knowledge and hope that I have in Jesus Christ. As God opens doors for conversation in your world, take His hand and follow Him through those doors. Step beyond yourself to share with these individuals the love that God gives us. The following is a simple way you can walk through those doors and be obedient in sharing.

A Step of FAITH
In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven? Consider how the Bible answers this question. It is a matter of FAITH.

We cannot have eternal life and heaven without God's forgiveness. (Ephesians 1:7a)

Forgiveness is available. It is
available for all (John 3:16)
but not automatic (Matthew 7:21a)

It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven. 1.Because of who He is: Yes, God is love, but He is also just. His judgment is against sin (James 1:13a) 2.Because of who we are. Every person is a sinner (Romans 3:23). But how can a sinful person enter heaven when God allows no sin?

T is for TURN
Turn means repent. Turn from something-sin and self (Luke 13:3b)
to Someone-trust Christ only (Romans 10:9).

H is for HEAVEN
Heaven is eternal life here (John 10:10b) and hereafter (John 14:3). How? How can a person have God's forgiveness, heaven and eternal life, and Jesus as personal Savior and Lord? By trusting in Christ and asking Him for forgiveness. Take the step of faith described by another meaning of FAITH: Forsaking All I Trust Him."

Elliott, there's another little booklet I have from Evangelism Explosion that will be most helpful. I'm so happy to send it to you.

Friday, I received the handsomely carved memento from your trip. It will be a thoughtful reminder to continue interceding for you during this very special season of your life when your heart is so tender toward God's leading.

Elliott, you're a blessing to us all.

With much love,
Your Oma