Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Celebrating our calling to work for the Lord

Yesterday (Friday) was a very special day. For some time now I had it in my mind to get all our AIDS home-based caregivers together, mainly to celebrate the work that God has called us to do. I had a few purposes in mind when starting to plan this: celebration, the sharing of stories, encouraging one another, handing out of T-shirts and towels. It took quite a lot of arrangements, as I wanted the more than 170 people in this project all to attend and they had to come from quite a large area with no private transport. Eventually it wasn’t possible to get all of them there. Just over half of the group attended. The celebration part was done in typical Swazi fashion with prayers and lots of singing. I shared the story from Luke 5 where Jesus healed a leper. And then we gave them a chance to share testimonies. Whenever I listen to the stories they tell, I realise that nobody would understand the situation if they hadn’t been exposed to it themselves – stories of entire families wiped out with only one member remaining – a story of an orphan of eight who is the sole survivor of his family – people going without food, sometimes for a week at a time. It is heartbreaking. And every time I hear these kind of stories I realise that I can make a difference. No, I can’t make a change in the lives of 300,000 people, but I can make a difference in the lives of one or two people, if, in the words of Luke 5, I am willing.
With a donation we had received we had bought T-shirts and had them printed with the name of our organisation in front and our vision, Becoming the hands and feet of Christ in this Community (written in SiSwati) at the back. And then, after they had received a T-shirt, I also gave each one a towel, symbolic of the fact that Jesus had commanded us to go out and wash other people’s feet. Sometimes these people literally have to do it, but at other times they just need to remember that this is what we have been called to do.
It was a great day, being together like this. It was good for all the care-givers to see each other and to hear each other’s stories, but above all I think it was good to celebrate the work they are doing. Nobody said that the work was easy to do, but they all realised that they wanted to continue, because they are doing this for God. At one point I was speaking to one of the OM team members who was also present. She is from Jewish heritage but comes from a Christian background, but she still celebrates the feasts of the Old Testament. And I realised, after today, that we have too little celebration in our churches today. We need to celebrate God’s calling in our lives more often in order to remain encouraged for the work He has called us to do.

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Saturday, September 1, 2007 - Posted by | Building relations, Celebration, Culture, HIV & AIDS, Mission, Poverty, Swaziland, Worship

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