On Sunday Rachel and I met with the believers to study. We adults colored our note-taking sheets while we waited for others to show up. After singing and prayer, the group was uncharacteristically candid. They talked about embarrassment with regards to praying in public and people making fun of them for believing a “new” thing. They asked why such a big crowd came to listen to the teaching at first and such a small crowd is actually believing. They talked about social pressure to conform to the old ways, and comments their unbelieving families have made about God. Queen said that her mother claims she is “too hot-headed” for God to accept her. Anger here is seen as a major vice—one that keeps people from being clean. Queen told her mom that the Bible says that it is the sick who need the doctor and that those in need should draw near.
It would be impractical to share all the details of the ladies’ comments, but the morning was a huge encouragement to me. Reading between the lines of their statements, here is what I gathered: they are praying at home; they are reading the Bible at home; they are teaching their children at home; they are witnessing to their family members at home. Then they are sharing the reality of those experiences together as a community of believers and praying for each other and encouraging each other. That is the heart of what our team is aiming for—for personal devotion that does not rely on our involvement in any way. A small step, but a big deal.
The future focus for our team is two-fold: to continue to reach out to and teach those who are lost and to continue to disciple and strengthen the body of Christ in this community. Easy to state as a goal, but complicated and, at times, difficult to maneuver in the real world. We are grateful for the return of our coworkers, the Hypkis, in order to fully focus on the challenges ahead. We are grateful for your prayers, support, and encouragement as we press on, trusting Him for the timing, the results, and for our further sanctification in the process.