I stood in the street of a very poor township with a Christian leader. The road was a dirt path barely wide enough for two small cars to pass one another. Shacks and shanties crowded into the meager neighborhood and seemed to lean on one another. Limited electricity and water are framed with small outhouses in each small yard.
His face was aged and somewhat drawn so that his cheek bones protruded strongly. But his eyes were lit with excitement and his smile was unquenchable even though he struggles with Aids.
I asked him what was going on in the church right now because we had finished the service and the crowd remained in the building. His eyes widened as he talked about all the Christians who came from so many villages. He twirled around pointed in various directions mentioning the names of obscure villages. Everyone is excited to be together today. Christians love to be with other Christians.
Spontaneous singing continued inside along with groups of chattering friends. His excitement then transitioned to the afternoon activities still to come. Today we have a baptism! Everyone is eager and longing to watch that spiritual event. His wide eyes and smile could not hide his excitement. Remembering the small rubber swimming pool inside I asked if that was to be the baptistery? A nod of his head and an every widening smile gave the clear answer.
The church was built from poles, braces and tin. My six foot frame barely fit into the sanctuary. I had to pay attention to the struts, rafters and other items so I wouldn’t bump my head. But my heart loved the energy, exhilaration and passion evident in the people of this little church. Early in the morning I had spoken at a new church plant that they had placed in another poor community several kilometers away.
Each time we visit Africa God reveals new thoughts to our hearts and minds. Cathy and I are amazed. I am learning the difference between Zionist and the Zion Christian Church (ZCC). My mind had them grouped together. The cultural gulf between tribes and races continues to widen into an abyss.
My heart asked, where is this excitement in America? Has wealth, progressive growth and greed overtaken the simple beauty of Jesus? Where is our love of being with one another because of Christ? Certainly it exists but I wonder if we are experiences His best? These humble circumstances cause the face of Jesus to become more clear. Thank you for sending us.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.