I went back to Congo the next year and again the following year to introduce Missionary Ude as the visiting missionary to the DRC. With each subsequent visit I was able to witness, with joy in the Lord and with contrition over my doubt, as the Lord continued to work in and through these men that had been at such odds just a few years earlier. Today, I was REMINDED of all of this as these men met together to grow in their understanding of God’s word and to encourage the men they work with as Missionary Ude taught the last few lessons he prepared on the early chapters of Genesis. I was REMINDED today of how foolish we sinful humans can be when we try to elevate our own skepticism and doubt above the love and wisdom and abilities of our Savior who can raise the dead, give sight to the blind, heal the sick, and earn forgiveness and eternal life for a sinner like me! Why would I ever assume that a problem between men is too much for the Lord to solve? I was REMINDED today again of God’s wisdom and planning, who knew long before the new DRC immigration laws seemed to thwart our well laid out plans, in giving me and the Mission Helpers the opportunity to meet and visit and encourage and be encouraged by the pastors from the DRC that were able to attend the pastoral conference here in Kitwe. It was such a joy to see the faces and hear their voices encourage one another and us. I had forgotten what dedicated and humble men they are and how much I love and appreciate these men. And I was REMINDED of how much these visits mean to them as they spoke of the blessings of “seeing each other face to face and growing together in our faith through the study of God’s word. In visiting with them I was REMINDED of their dedication, their humility, their love for the Lord, His word, the sheep they are called to shepherd, the lost and straying, and for us and each other. All of this would have been missed had my plans trumped the plans of the Lord!
All of this has REMINDED me of how the simple statements of faith are most often the best. As we have been traveling from village to village over the past few weeks teaching children the simple basics of the Gospel Heidi, Lydia, and Riley have been singing songs to the children at the end of our lessons. One of those simple songs keeps running through my mind as write. I’m sure many have heard it. The refrain goes like this “My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” How true, and I thank my God for reminding me of this again these past couple of days as I have had the privilege of seeing my brothers in Christ work together for our Savior’s kingdom!
On Sunday morning I was REMINDED that the grace and mercy of God is not bound by language, traditions, culture, or economics. His grace and power to save was generously poured out upon 43 men, women, and children as they received God’s gift of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit through the water and the word of baptism. As I observed the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper being given by God and received by His chosen people, I was REMINDED of God’s grace in giving to sinners like us. I was REMINDED and humbled at the thought that these sacraments are a gift from our gracious Lord given to undeserving sinners like us. I was REMINDED how important it is that we continue to remind each other that these sacraments are God doing for us what we could never do for ourselves, not the other way around, as if we were doing something for God by being baptized or receiving the Lord’s Supper. As I struggled trying to follow along with the service that was being conducted in three languages (English, Bemba, and Congolese Swahili) I was REMINDED that God’s abundant giving does not depend on what language we speak, or the shade of the color of our skin, or the order of service we follow, or the traditions we follow, it depends only upon His perfect love for sinners—for me!
It’s good to be REMINDED of just how much our Savior loves us! Thank You Lord for such vivid reminders received today!
In Christ,Pastor O.