II Corinthians 9:9
"As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever."
What do a former charismatic Roman Catholic, a black pastor, a retired soldier of the Canadian forces, a former Pharisee, a biker, a marathon runner, an elderly couple, an accountant, a caregiver and a Baptist have in common - nothing - but the blood of Jesus. These were some of the people who made up our team for Cup 4 Africa Mission. It was the first leg of my trip to Africa where I spent 18 days with an incredible team of servants that God assembled to come to Africa. Our team was a daily testimony to me of true success of ministry when ministry is initiated by Jesus, and we submit to Him and allow all that we do to be done in and through His name. It was truly a miraculous wonder to behold and to be a part of. Hearing each other’s testimonies & life’s challenges, having daily morning devotionals together, spontaneously singing hymns all deepened our bond of love with each other as new brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
The physical work was in the renovation of a home and adjacent buildings which eventually will house 40 orphans. Our job was to get the place ready so that the first 10 orphans could move from a previous establishment to this new one. Other orphans will follow in the coming months. The work at times was tedious and the heat at times was overbearing, but it was all worth it. One day when I was feeling a little tired, I heard a song in the front yard being practiced by some of the orphans and other children. They were singing in beautiful harmony “We are the children of Africa. We are born to suffer - but we will survive.” So much for my mini self absorption.
Interspersed with the days of work, were days and nights of joining in the worship of a number of different congregations and each time of worship produced tears of joy and thankfulness to God for the praise of His people and our privilege in joining them. I had the opportunity to speak one evening at the Restoration Church - made up of many refugees from Rwanda and the Congo. In that church a lady came up and told her story of being healed and this was validated by the doctor. At the conclusion of her testimony she said “I want to take the Lord dancing” and asked the worship team to come up and join her in a dance to the Lord - beautiful to behold this type of praise. All of the churches we attended were filled with praise and dance in an atmosphere of joy and un-inhibited freedom.
The second leg of my trip involved the wonderful opportunity to meet with the members of our own church in 3 different locations - Tororo, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya and the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya. One of the reasons I wanted to go to Africa is that we have 5 families or heads of households who have recently immigrated from Africa. I wanted to understand and appreciate more their culture, their country, their background and their joy in the Lord. I was blessed to have been able to talk with many of their family members and in particular see the UN refugee camp where many lived for years before coming to Canada. There were numerous opportunities to fellowship, praise God and teach His word. The members and pastors of each congregation wanted especially to send back their greetings to everyone in Canada. They have a love for Christ in whatever sanctuary God has provided for them. I do thank them all for their love & hospitality very generously shown to me for the 10 days in their country. Being hosted in the humble home of Pastor Othieno for an afternoon meal, sharing food in pot lucks provided by the Tororo and Kakuma congregations, and spending 6 days in the home of Pastor Kimani & his wife Anne, and having the opportunity to visit & encourage some of our members in Uganda & Kenya—all this but deepened my appreciation for and boasting in the beautiful work that Christ is doing in the lives of so many people in the far reaches of our world.
I went to Africa with an open heart and open hands. I did want to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa. I did want to see their faith despite the suffering of the past inhumanities & current conditions. All this and much, much more was fulfilled. Personally I am thankful to God for his filling my heart, body and soul beyond anything I could have imagined. There is a song which was sung at the Restoration church which is a prayer based on 1 Thes. 5:23 It is a simple song sung accapella.
I was truly blessed in body, soul and spirit as a result of this trip. And with God’s purpose and guidance, this is something that I would fully endorse and recommend for others. Thanks to all of you who have prayed during my time in Africa. I truly felt the presence of God and experienced often his protection and leading hand.