Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Questions and Confirmation

Beggar
I know where the food is
And it isn't very far away
Doesn't cost much but an empty soul
And the pride that stands in the way
I'm not one who's got it all in place
Telling you what you should do
No I'm just one old hungry beggar
Showing you where I found food
Have you found the water
That will never make you thirst again?
Jesus is a well of water springing up
Into eternal life from within
I'm not one who's got it all in place
Telling you what you should do
No I'm just one old hungry beggar
Showing you where I found food
Maybe you aren't hungry
And maybe you don't thirst at all
But maybe the years have hardened the tears
And you really are a beggar after all
I'm not one who's got it all in place
Telling you what you should do
No I'm just one old hungry beggar
Showing you where I found food
Words and Music by John Fischer (1982)

The time has come for us to return to our Kentucky home.  As we are finishing up our last few days here, the words of this song keep coming to my mind.  Back in my college days, the words and music of John Fischer ministered greatly to me, and he always seemed to have a song that was right for whatever it was that I was going through.  (He’s still around! – look him up on the internet if you want to).  The questions come to mind over and over as we are packing and saying our goodbyes:

Are we leaving too soon?
Did we do what we came to do?
Did we accomplish anything good?
Have we really made any difference here?
Was it worth all the effort and disruption in our lives?
Did we live as people of integrity and bring honor to the Lord’s name?
How come we feel like a failure, not having done all that we could have done?

But the questions do not need to be answered:  what is needed is faith and humility.  Our temptation is to try to analyze everything, trying to understand everything, trying to determine if the right thing was d0ne, and the right results were obtained. But this is not what we need to do.  We are to give Him the poor offering of our lives and let Him use it as He wills.  We are too weak and ignorant to understand the true results of what was done.  We might be proud of some particular activity done, and later find out it was worthless.  Then, there can be some little thing we do, not thinking much of it, and it turns out to be what makes the most impact in someone’s life.  Any good that was done is a credit to the goodness and mercy of the Lord.  Let us leave the results in His hands.

The message we have to share with you and with the people of Mwanza, Tanzania is simply this:  “I’m not one who’s got it all in place telling you what you should do.  No, I’m just one old hungry beggar showing you where I’ve found food.”

In the past few months we have been sharing some of this food with three young people that God has brought into our lives:  Matthew, Lilian, and Keri.  I have written of Matthew’s baptism, Lilian was baptized after him and has been coming for English lessons, and Keri has been living with us for most of the year.  I was able to teach a simple catechism course to the three of them, and we had the joy of seeing them confirmed in the Church by Bishop Kwangu.  We found it interesting that after we had set up a time for the special service, other churches in the area, who also had candidates ready for confirmation, decided to join with us in this event.  So, when we arrived at the church, we were surprised to find about fifty other candidates joining with our three friends.  Afterwards, we enjoyed a special dinner together.

In a way, our questions have been answered:  it’s not about what did we accomplish in a big way, but rather that we were given the privilege of sharing food (physically and spiritually) with certain individuals, and having the joy of seeing the Water of Eternal Life springing up within them.

May the peace of Christ be with you,

Brother Nathan

Confirmation canidates

The blessing

Keri

Lilian

Matthew

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