Monday, April 29, 2013

First TOL Graduation in Makeni

My heart is overflowing with gratitude to the God who is sovereign and the source of all good works through His Spirit. This past Sunday, April 28th, our first 13 graduates were given certificates celebrating the completion of their six week course. During these six weeks they were able to learn 15 health prevention lessons (i.e. HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Clean Water, etc.). Disease prevention is key here since curative medicine is often not available or very expensive to the common citizen. We also taught 3 lessons on the moringa tree, a life saving resource God has blessed the world with to give added nutrients to foods that lack sustenance. However, our class is just not focused on the physical wellness of the person, we also give 18 Bible stories from Creation to Christ to give spiritual wellness as well. These six weeks have bonded us together as friends and some as brothers and sisters in Christ. My prayer is that each student will walk away with spiritual seeds planted and educational tools that will allow them, their families, communities and world to live healthy lives enjoying God and glorifying His name throughout the earth.

Our celebration began after church. Pastor Emmanuel K. Sesay, my first teacher within Tree of Life was the chairman and guest speaker. I also was very thankful to Mr. Matthew Tholley, and their pastor Edward Kargbo for their open invitation for Tree of Life to come and share within their community. The students gave testimonies and even prepared a short play demonstrating how to avoid bacterial/parasite infections by practicing proper hygiene. I was so proud of them to see that the knowledge imparted to them (despite my imperfect Krio) was etched on their hearts and minds.

After awarding them the certificates, we all had a time of eating together and fellowshipping. It was a wonderful day to say the least. All praise, honor and glory goes to God whose Word will never return void. I pray that the seeds of truth planted, the new relationships and the knowledge given would grow and multiply.

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to pray that God would raise up teachers from among the classes who have the zeal, maturity and the heart to tkae this Truth to other parts of Sierra Leone and abroad. Love God – Love people.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

True Shalom

Lets-bring-Peace-and-Love-on-Earth-peace-and-love-revolution-club-27113601-400-300 It has been some time since I have written. It should be no surprise that living on the continent of Africa can often have its own set of challenges. For the past week, the internet has been down hindering my ability to communicate all that has been happening. I thank each of you in advance for your understanding. Communicating to those of you who are faithful in supporting me financially, emotionally and spiritually is a great priority to me. Think of my blogs and emails as a hug via the net. ;-)

Where to start? So much has happened in the last few weeks. We had our final class in Makeni on Tuesday and our first class in Makeni will be graduating this Sunday, April 28th. They are excited and I am extremely proud of them. Pastor Emmanuel from Freetown who leads the Tree of Life classes there will be coming as our guest speaker. I am sure it will be a grand time of celebrating with lots of loud music and spicy food! My prayer now is that teachers will begin to emerge from these classes. So far we have a total of 4 classes who have completed the Tree of Life curriculum. As of today, we have two potential ‘new’ teachers. My plan is to commit these few to prayer and prepare a workshop to train and disciple these teachers in sharing the Gospel and their community health knowledge with their own families, villages and country. “Going Out” is their challenge, yet it is the command of our Lord.

God has been teaching me volumes. Mark is now back as my security in Makeni. This has been an answered prayer and every morning we have our Bible studies. We are reading through the Bible from beginning to end. I can see the hunger for God’s word growing in him. His faith is maturing and I know that God has “plans of hope and a future for him”. Continue to pray for Mark as he still faces persecution from family for his faith and that he will continue to resist the temptations that surround him. Pray for our mutual understanding of each other despite our cultural differences and worldviews.

Today I was reading from John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” As I read these words from Jesus, I see a stark contrast in the world around me that screams due to the absence of TRUE shalom or peace. The reality is our empty and selfish pursuits which we feel is leading us to peace is actually leading us to a place where peace seems out of reach. Broken relationships with God, ourselves, others and our environment hinders any chance in our life for an everlasting peace. This peace cannot be given by the world, yet we all are guilty of searching for it there. We look to our jobs, ministries, relationships, entertainment, sin, earthly possessions, etc. to find one ounce of shalom. Yet in the end, this peace is transient and false. It will fade and leave us wanting. Lord, Your peace is TRUE, supernatural, and the only peace that will sustain and satisfy the hunger and thirst deep within our souls. Give us Your shalom.

I love you all. Continue to pray and always remember to love God and love people!