In church this Sunday Raymond shared how the Lord had protected him during a quick trip out to town a couple of weeks ago. After hiking for two days over rugged terrain, he arrived at the small town where he would use some public transportation to travel one more day in order to reach the big town. When the public transport vehicles began pulling in to pick up passengers, some in the group he was with wanted to get into a fancy new one, but God prompted Raymond’s heart to take an older-looking one instead. So against their objections he jumped into the old beat-up one and the others with him followed. The newer vehicle departed first and the older vehicle departed some time later. After traveling for a little while, they were stunned when they saw the newer vehicle over on the side of the road in the process of being carjacked by thieves! It was obvious to those in the group that God had directed Raymond and they immediately gave God the glory for protecting them.
During his time in town he experienced another event which was obviously orchestrated by the Lord. While he was in a store he encountered a brother in Christ from the Yagaria tribe. This brother was able to give him the cell phone number for the son of a pastor in the capital city so that he could pass it on to his relatives and fellow-believers who have been living there for several months. These Simbari believers have been hungry for teaching from God’s Word and fellowship with other like-minded believers but have not been able to find a church there to attend. This has been a burden on his heart for quite awhile so it was a joy and relief for him to be able to pass on the information to his fellow-believers knowing that they will now be able to attend a good church and continue growing in their faith. It’s encouraging to see believers from different tribes ‘networking’ so they can build one another up in the faith.
This Sunday’s Bible message was about one of the ways “The Gathered Ones of Jesus” (the church) become mature. We first looked in Romans 12 and discussed how each member of the body has been given gifts which are not all the same but we need to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”(Eph. 4:3) We are enabled to do that through the Spirit of God who lives in every believer. We finished by looking at the exhortation to “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” found in Romans 6:9-13
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
We are thankful the Simbari church is looking to God’s Word for strength and maturity. And it was great to hear half a dozen Simbari men taking turns reading the above portions of Scripture in the Simbari language. Reading isn’t easy in this language, take the following word for example from Eph. 4:1 “nyomjomwekovla’mwalpino’moneyokwe” which means “to live.” But spurred on by their desire to read God’s Word many from the church have worked hard and learned to read. There are more that need to learn or improve so please pray for them. And for the continued maturity of the church.