Report from Africa #8
We drove up a mud road that was very irregular from the weekend rains. Deep tire ruts left evidence of people struggling to climb the hilly path into the village community. Equipment was working to smooth the damaged road.
This has been a week of clouds and rain. There are few things more calming than a soft rain. It cleans the air and the heart. It replenishes the parched ground and the dry soul. The bright green grass and trees shine with the kiss of freshness.
When we entered the church yard I noticed a sitting area outlined by half buried tires. The seating was clearly taken from an old bus. The metal framed seat was placed under a small tree in an attempt to capture shade. Simple but useful in a poor community. The simple church structure was cinder blocks.
I walked into the building that was lined with wooden benches for chairs. Almost a dozen youth workers were already present for leadership training in the Bible. They had no Bibles with them. We provided Bibles and jumped into the Word. I questioned them about any Bibles they knew about. They knew paraphrased translations like Good News, Living and others. When I asked if they read a Bible none of them raised their hands. I asked why and they said they didn’t understand it. They relied on the pastor to teach them. Unfortunately he has no formal Bible training.
They became electrified when we did a inductive Bible study approach that required them to do observations and ask questions. They had never looked at God’s Word in such a way. You should have heard the discussions, questions and comments. The Bible came alive and they were ecstatic. One student said to me,this will change how I relate to Jesus and the Bible. Thank you for changing my life. Their thankfulness touched my heart. They were willing to spend endless hours talking.
At the end of our three hours of interaction I needed to take a restroom break. I walked outside to the outhouse. The cinder block outhouse had male and female stick figures painted on the entry points with black spray paint. I noticed the unique detail they placed on the figures to distinguish each. Ear rings on the girl and a stick in the hand of the boy. The strong smell of human waste hit my nose as I walked in. The outhouse took me back to my childhood and my grandfather’s farm.
These people may live in a poor village but they are rich in many other ways. Their love and desire to know Jesus more intimately is very refreshing. Thank you so much for sending us to touch their lives. More than 80 were involved in training during the week.
It is also a fascinating joy to see the flowers of Africa during their spring. The Jacaranda tree is in full blossom and exhibits a rare canopy of beauty. The bright purple flowers cover the tree like a blanket with thousands of blooms. The brightness of the color can capture your attention from a great distance. Now the Bougainvillea has appeared with a deep crimson to compliment the Jacaranda buds. We have noticed one spot where the two intertwine with one another. The stunning beauty captures your imagination and soothes your thoughts.
This coming week is an important time for us. It is our annual spiritual retreat. We go away to focus on the Lord, His message and His heart. We would appreciate your prayers as we seek his guidance for the future. Pray that our hearts are invigorated by His presence and our vision is clarified by His voice.
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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.