I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED…
“The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything that I need:
green pastures… still waters…
valley of death… your rod of correction…
your staff of guidance… abundant table…
enemies all around… anointed head…
dwelling in the Secret Place continually.”
I wonder when I read people’s FB posts – I don’t often, it’s kind of depressing to me – is it only my friends – or do normal people have the “status” of their day exemplified by a statement of what they are dreaming of eating this morning? If they were living on the edge of life and death, of new birth and HIV, of amazing spiritual breakthroughs and tragic failures, could they continue to post such drivel?
Forgive my cynicism – I’ve had a hard week… It seems I’ve been transported between green pastures and valleys of death, then still waters to enemy battlegrounds – with hardly a breath between. In all of these situations Jesus is the Shepherd who has my destiny in mind. When I am dwelling in that Secret Place I can declare in even the direst of circumstance that “I have everything I need”.
Joseph – our oldest child in House of Moses – has left us. Even at 17 years he still needs a mom and dad. We’ve promised we would still be there for him and certainly love him no matter what, but with his characteristic passive sweetness, he has consistently defied our boundaries. Lord, keep him safely near your table. Don’t let him fall into the enemy’s hands.
Then the next moment we hear of the “anointed head” of Mwangala – a seriously “Village” guy – if you know what I mean – and one of the recent sheep Jesus has midwifed. How he went to a deep inner village to visit his family and found his sister very sick. “God told me to pray for her so I put my hand on her head and started praying. I was surprised when my words came out in a language I did not know! I kept praying strongly and when I ended she was completely healed!”
We have been so extremely proud of our House of Moses mamas. They are all three exceptional women. But within two weeks a mysterious discontent has grown and on Sunday, burst its poison. Mama Elina has left us. We are numb with grief – and think of the poor children. She takes with her the brightest light of the Home – Bule, her 1 year old treasure. We know the enemy has sown an evil seed somehow, but it was at night, so we know not how.
Then Sunday in our Celebration service we all frolicked in the green pastures beside the still waters, and laughed! Four testimonies: 1. Mwangala’s wife – seperated for a year has now returned and this month has found a different man! She is so thankful. 2. Chello prayed with Mike last week for Jesus to be his Savior. During the prayer he was startled by things moving in his chest – it scared the dickens out! He wanted to run. But when the prayer ended he could feel total Freedom, and that freedom from the former addictions has lasted. 3. Kephas testified a change happening in his life as another disciple keeps bringing the Word to him and urging him to draw closer to Christ. 4. Parity testifies his DBS group in Komonyana is growing and becoming full of life and power.
The final blow – the Valley of the shadow of Death – came suddenly for the Murphy family. These are good friends and fellow missionaries we have known since we arrived 3 ½ years ago. Their 10 year old daughter was playing with friends when suddenly she fell over and died. Still no explanation. We went to the memorial brokenhearted. But there we witnessed such a powerful testimony to our Lord’s transcendence – even there, in the Dark Valley – Thou art with me… the family stood and gave proof after proof of their unshakable faith in the goodness of their Shepherd – such resignation to his perfect Will – Thy Rod and thy Staff they comfort me – surely that unshakable faith in His extravagant commitment to our welfare brings the ultimate comfort. Without it we are adrift with questions and doubts assailing on every side.
A month ago God warned us to prepare for a great harvest in the coming months. Our first God-directed strategy is to up the ante on prayer. Our monthly all night-ers are olympian in stature! Even at 4am we were soldiers! – check out our FaceBook video (no drivel there!). We are alternating between town and village events to stir the two cultures together, inspire deeper partnerships and to infect the weak in faith with vibrancy.
- Our Siamate Pre-school Project is slowly taking shape. 32 kids in rags and way undisciplined – but hey! they are beginning a new thing. We are planning uniforms next month, a few rotating books, a block building by December. [WOULD YOUR CHURCH WANT TO SPONSOR THIS PROJECT? SEND A PRE-SCHOOL COACH, RAISE THE FUNDS, SEND MATERIALS… ]
- Our staff house is enclosed! Another six weeks and it will be complete. And by that time we should have our 3 new deluxe tents (coming on the container) set up on slabs under thatch and furnished with beds and night stands and lamps. A fridge, electricity, hot showers, flush toilets – still dreaming of these – our goal is by year end to be able to move out full time! [A CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISOR FOR “A YEAR OF YOUR LIFE” DESPERATELY NEEDED.]
- The Luanshya Ministry site is experiencing amazing growth in the church – 7 cells that are each threatening to explode. We were informed by Social Welfare that they need to buy a house for the House of Noah Children’s Home. [CAN YOUR CHURCH HELP SPONSOR THIS – WE HAVE AN AMOUNT ALREADY DESIGNATED, BUT NEED A BIT MORE? OUR RESEARCH SO FAR SHOWS ABOUT $50-$60,000 IS THE COST FOR A MODEST HOME FOR THEIR 8 CHILDREN.]
- STAFF – Twila left us this week after 5 months serving faithfully – we will miss her. (LIKE our FB post for the video of her FLYING!) Four more interns coming in the next two months – one of them a trained Admin specialist! [SIGN UP FOR “A YEAR OF YOUR LIFE” INTERNSHIP – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!] Mike Lungu is getting his drivers license – a new driver in our ranks!
- Many of you have been praying with us since Dec for the “Land Crisis” – securing the land we have built the House of Moses on, so we can continue to build another few Homes. We are in the final moments of this saga – WE HOPE! Just waiting on the Chief’s signature – it may even come today.
- Two more baptisms this week!