“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD.”; Isaiah 55:8
When we left Cape Town, we were fully loaded with over 2.5 tonnes of Bibles, books, and boxes of literature. Trailer and truck were as packed as full as possible. Some of the material for distribution was even invading the cab! Having handled almost every single box, bag, and parcel personally, I was looking forward to each meeting that we were going to have, because we would be able to bless these ministries or local schools, and individuals with this material.
More Blessed to Give than to ReceiveMaking sure you have all the Bibles, Sunday School materials, and audio visuals that you will be needing is a challenge. Making sure each of the individual boxes and books get to the right destinations is a hurdle and a half. For the whole month of June, I was put in charge of distributing the material. It was both a stressful and rewarding job. Every time I was told to get this or that box from the trailer I could not have been happier. The phrase, it is more blessed to give than to receive, kept ringing true. It was a real blessing to give to different teachers, pastors, missionaries, and lecturers their allocated amounts. Even small amounts, like 4-5 books with a few audio visuals, were gladly handed over to people who would use the material for the ministry.
Breakdowns or Bad Days?
Our first vehicle breakdown happened on the second day of the mission. And looking back at when and where the breakdown took place, I can only stand in amazement at God’s perfect timing. We finished our ministry at a Christian school, and we had just pulled into a local Engen fuel station when we heard a horrible binding sound followed quickly by a sickening SNAP! We had just lost the front right drive shaft. Having worked on tractors, and semi’s in America I automatically started suspecting that we had wrecked something major. Thankfully it was only the outer CV joint. The problem was bad. However, the drive shaft could be removed rendering our four-wheel drive vehicle a two-wheel drive. Later that week we were able to take it to the dealer and have the problem fixed.
The 1964 film Zulu starring Michael Caine is an example of why Christians need to have historically accurate resources. The real story shows how about 130 courageous men withstood an attack by a Zulu force of over 4000 and eventually won the victory. It is rather funny to think about it, that it was just after visiting a historical battle site that we would have our own battle to fight. We were still within sight of Rorkes Drift when there came a clang, clang, BANG! This time our differential broke. After trying a couple different ways of by passing the diff so that we could at least make it back to our host, all of which proved unsuccessful, we had to wait for a tow truck. Whether it was through bad communication, or extremely bad management, it was about a seven hour wait before a rental car showed up which was followed by a tow truck. And this was after hours of having them on the phone, and them telling us that they will be there in an hour, which was hours ago.
With the loss of the differential I had to wait 5 days while the team went on ahead. I needed to wait for the vehicle to be repaired, to drive it up to join the rest of the team. But these bad days were used to glorify God in ways that we neither planned nor that could have imagined. While I was stuck, I had the opportunity to minister to some of the folks at the retirement home as well as visit a local church.
Encouraged and Encouraging Education!
Throughout this mission we saw many signs that Christianity is still alive in South Africa. From an unofficial mid-week church meeting that was better attended then most Wednesday church service, to the Ten Commandments sign boards mounted on good solid metal frames alongside a major highway we were encouraged to see the Christianity has not been swept under the carpet, but was making a clear and public stand. With a couple of tonnes of material we were able to encourage different ministries that were in need of either Bibles, or good solid books for history and Bible classes. Throughout the many different meetings that we had, there were different people that either had participated in a Biblical Worldview Summit or who had heard Dr. Hammond lecture in the army, that had become involved in their local Christian School. One of these good folks actually started her own Christian School about 20 years ago. Which constantly proved to me personally, that good, Biblical education, with good supporting curriculum is vital for Children to be raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Will You Pray?
While I was waiting for the vehicle to be repaired I had the privilege of staying with a retired couple. It was a really good experience for me, because not only did it teach me about patience but also that listening to the older generation is a blessing of its own. I heard of how God had blessed their church with 14 different missionaries! I also hear of the many difficulties that they were facing, both in the church as well as with the government wanting to nationalize the farms. My hosts were part of the local prayer group that the Frontline team ministered to. Staying with this couple made me realize that we are not a praying generation. We might have a group prayer on Sundays or maybe even have a prayer meeting during the middle of the week. But, is that all? When you travel around the world you learn of the many prayer needs that may not have entered your mind. Specific people, special situations, or the effects of sin on a people group, like alcoholism, or adultery to pray for. Training to be a fulltime missionary definitely has its pros and cons. One of the pros are that you get to see is how the Lord is moving and shaping nations to serve and love Him. However, one of the cons that is very painful to experience is the great needs. The need for more ordinary men and women who are willing to join in the harvest of souls. The Need to for the regular congregant member to pray daily. One thing that I have seen throughout the many different countries of the world, that I know we DON’T need is these superstar Christians. The ordinary man or woman who is willing to do the ordinary duty of a Christian is what the Church needs today, and it is what God calls for.
“’So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.’ “
A Great Need.
If Christians call the Bible the Greatest Book in world, then history is the second greatest book. History is His story, and so it must be told with the facts. Because the communists realize that history is the first battle field, it is paramount that Christians also join the fight and get the real story. Which is why visiting historical battle sites, like the Battle at Blood River where God fearing men withstood the attack of an overwhelming force that was much larger then themselves and triumphing. Or historical churches, like The Church of the Vow, which was promised to be built if victory over the Zulus was granted. Because education is so pivotal to the advancement of God’s Kingdom we believe it is only right that missionaries have a good and accurate view of History to teach. Which has led Dr. Hammond to write Sketches from South African History, which was promoted at the different museums we visited.
To the Celestial City.
One of the times that I was able to join in the teaching sessions, was when I was tasked to run a parallel Children’s Programme. It was a wonderful experience because Francis and I were able to teach the children The Ten Commandments, the Creation Story and Pilgrim’s Progress. Getting active involvement from the group is always challenging, fun and rewarding. For Pilgrim’s Progress we did more of a play, where all of the kids at one point were pulled into the play as some of the characters of the story. Several of the younger boys were all eager and excited when I brought my large bag out to be used as Christian’s burden. Even though they were young and wanted to just go outside and play, they were asked “do you ever think about Heaven?” Throughout the mission I was regularly reminded that if I were to die tonight would I have any regrets?
Prayer and Praise.
Even with two major mechanical break downs, we were blessed to be away from any major highways as well as not having to rearrange or cancel more than just one meeting. With over 3100 miles (5000 km) on the vehicle, a new CV joint and new differential we were able to deliver over 2 tonnes of material to over 42 locations. Success is wonderful to pause and look at, but we need to keep prayerfully looking at mission fields. Look at the field around you, your immediate circles as well as across the border, or even across the oceans. Please pray for the faithful missionaries that are already out in the field, who are working hard every day and often far into the night as well. Please pray for more missionary minded people who are willing to give up their small ambitions and follow after the Great Shepherd. Also pray for truth to be taught in the classrooms, so that the next generation would be educated in the fear and love of the Lord.
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He ponders all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21