Presenting the gospel in a clear and understandable way is only the beginning of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
The Lord Jesus, in Matthew 28, told His disciples to go, teach all nations, and baptize… ‘teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’
In the book of Ephesians, Paul talks about the Lord Jesus giving to the church apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, and teaching pastors to perfect (shape, mature or prepare) God’s people for the work of the ministry, so that the body of Christ, the church, would be strong and established.
The process of discipleship certainly takes time, and effort, and patience, because the goal is to see believers become more conformed to the image of Christ. Thankfully the Lord has all the patience in the world with us as He progressively works on our sanctification here on earth.
As we have lived and ministered among the Loron people in Ivory Coast, all the teaching and preaching; all the personal contact we have with individuals and small groups; all the effort we put into community development, all of the energy spent on teaching literacy, doing Bible translation and pursuing Bible lesson development; all the time we spend on recording lessons for mobile phones and mp3 players, all of the visits we make to isolated groups of believers, all that we do is to bring people to maturity in the faith and to see a strong, fully functioning church established among the Loron people that will bring honour and glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We thank the Lord for the quality time that we have recently been able to spend with the Loron believers. After several years of quite extensive travelling, and spending only short periods of time in the village, we feel like we have again become a regular part of the community, and people are not expecting us to be leaving them at any moment for another long trip.
Being in the village has given us opportunities to re-establish old relationships that have suffered in recent years because of the regular absences. It has also helped open doors to develop new ones, not only with the Loron people, but also with other folks in our village who have been, historically, very opposed to Christianity and the gospel.
We thank God for the many Loron people He has raised up who are now ministering in evangelism, Bible teaching, pastoring, teaching literacy, and outreach among children. Many are also engaged with the wider community through education, health care, economic growth and numerous local development issues. We praise the Lord for the tremendously positive ways in which the presence of the gospel and God’s grace has affected the lives of some many people.
Thank you so much for your prayers for us and for your interest in the work that the Lord is doing among the Loron people.
Thankful for God’s patient grace,
Paul and Marina