What Fear is Hindering You?
I have had the opportunity to have a few studies with a sweet lady named Angel. She and her husband live in pretty little spot on the side of Mt. Meru. Their home is humble, but clean and welcoming. We sit outside in the shade of the banana trees and study. Her husband, who is a member of the church, tends to their sweet baby so that she can concentrate on the study.
Angel is an eager and receptive student, and things progress nicely. We come to the issue of baptism. She can see the Bible's plain teaching on the issue. She knows that it washes away sins (Acts 22:16) because it would join her with the sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 6). She knows that it would gain her entrance into Christ (Galatians 3:27) and his body (1 Corinthians 12:13) which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). She understands its importance and the dire consequences of failing to take this seemingly simple step.
However, there is just one problem. She has a crippling fear of water. This isn't that uncommon. Many Tanzanians are rarely, if ever, submerged in water. It is far too scarce a commodity for them to waste in swimming pools or even full baths. This unfamiliarity with the sensation of being immersed, sometime leads to an overwhelming terror of the very idea. Sadly, at this point she has not been able to overcome this fear and it is keeping her from baptism. We are continuing to encourage her and praying for God's help in overcoming this hurdle that Satan has placed firmly in her path.
Her situation makes me wonder about others. Are there fears that are keeping you from doing what you know that you ought to do? Are fears keeping you from repenting of sin? Do fears keep you from sharing your faith? How is Satan using this potent tool in your life? Let's remember the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."
May the love of God and our fellow man give us the power we need to have the disciple it takes to do what must be done.
Helping a Sister Unaware
On our way home one day last week, we turned onto our road and saw a young mama and her daughter walking carrying a baby and heavy loads. Walking is a part of daily life for most people in Tanzania. There are vans that function as public transportation on the main roads, but once they leave the main roads average people must either hire a piki piki (motorcycle) to carry them or walk.
It just so happened on this rare occasion that Tiffany and I didn't have the kids with us so there was some room to spare in our vehicle. So we offered to give them a lift. With broken Swahili and hand gestures we were able to figure out which way to go.
We passed the neighborhood and kept going. And going. Eventually, the dirt road faded into more of a trail. The trail crossed ditches and gullies. At one point we were actually driving down a dry creek bed. How far was this poor mama going to have to walk!? She would have been making this journey in pitch black at this point if she was still walking.
We finally came to a point where the path was so narrow that the vehicle could proceed no further. After helping the lady and her children unload their bags, we offered her some biblical materials. She immediately recognized them and said, "Kanisa la Kristo?" (Church of Christ). It turns out that she is a member of the church in a nearby village. Coincidence or providence? Either way I'm glad that our paths crossed that day.