People have burdens, Americans have burdens, Africans have burdens, and Pastors have burdens. At one point during the pastor's conference, we asked the pastors to share their burdens so we could pray for them. Several shared out loud audibly and many more raised their hands asking to do so. Since so many wanted to share, we just invited them to come forward, kneel down before the Lord, and do some "burden casting." Probably 100 men came forward and began to call on the name of the Lord and cast their cares upon Him because of His great love for them. So many men wanted to quit, so many do not know how they are going to feed their family, and when your only means of transportation is your two feet or an old dinged up bicycle, things can get pretty wearisome. But God's promises are sure no matter who you are and what your circumstances are proving themselves to be. "Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God with thanksgiving and He will give you peace." "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."
The enemy's #1 tactic is discouragement, but God's greatest gift is endurance to the end. We do not have to wait until we see Jesus for it to be worth it all. It's worth it all right now. Gaining Jesus in place of the world, is no sacrifice. Gaining Jesus in place of my slavery to sin is no sacrifice. Gaining Jesus is the infinite reward. May these men endure in the days ahead as seeing Him who is invisible.
The Great Physician
Jesus is our Great Physician. And having men who will confront the needs of their community instead of drinking themselves to death down at the tavern is a ray of light in the midst of overwhelming darkness. In the picture above is a pastor who is president of an association of pastors in and around Luanshya. He oversees a nearby medical clinic that takes care of many urgent care needs that the bush community has. He attended our conference and we had lunch together on Monday. He was a wonderful man with a great spirit and a hunger to grow. In every dark corner of the world, God reveals Himself through a few good men who refuse to sit idly by while the world around them falls apart. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He has chosen to use us for fruitful labor in His grand and glorious work of restoration in a world that is severely damaged by the fall. "It is finished" however and now we are free to live, rescue, proclaim, and love with the love of God. We are free to spread the Light and cause the darkness to flee. Thank you, Lord, for being the Great Physician and thank you for showing us your healing in earthly physicians and leaders who refuse to stay quiet in an epidemic of sin and darkness.
A Picture That Says 1,000 Words
This is probably the best picture I've been able to take while in Zambia. On the day of our soccer clinic, I saw this little boy with a ball that he had made out of some old carpet. I asked him to pose for me and boy did he produce a picture that captures the heart of Zambia. He had shoes, but most of his friends did not...he had a ball, but most of his peers did not. And while he may have been fortunate enough to have shoes and a ball, he most likely had not eaten on this day. But, he was one of over 150 young people that were attracted to an old field with a bunch of Americans wearing soccer jerseys and holding real soccer balls. And on this day, this little boy heard the Gospel. He found out why he was here, who he was, and where he was going...man's three most important questions. But most importantly he heard who Jesus was, why He came, and where He went. So many hands went up professing faith in Christ on this day, that I'm not sure whether this little boy was one of those precious hands or not. But regardless, he heard the Good News, he saw the Good News in action, and he was loved. "So Lord...let us walk with a heart of compassion; love not just with words, but with deeds. Like the One we love so, let us live to go wherever love leads." And on this day, love led us to this little boy and many more.