We live in a place where scenes like that above are common place. Don't get the wrong impression. Everyone doesn't live like this, but there are plenty that do. We were recently challenged to accept the Ice-Bucket Challenge. We obliged, but added out own twist. In light of the fact that clean water is a precious commodity here, we chose to use dirty water for the challenge. (You can see it here) Then we donated a large container of drinking water to each of the families at the Ilkiurei church on Wednesday evening... NONE of whom even have running water at home, much less clean water. With the heavy load of water, we gave everyone a ride home. (Not to neglect ALS, we completed the challenge with a small donation to pro-life ALS research at the Mayo clinic.)
This quarter at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching, I have the pleasure of teaching the book of Romans. It is a challenging and rewarding study as we wrestle with the roles that law, grace, faith, and obedience play in the scheme of salvation. Romans 3:23 reminds us that sin is a universal problem that every person must deal with. Meanwhile, Romans 1:16 lets us know that the gospel is the power of God until salvation for everyone who believe. What a wondrous and precious thing the gospel is! What a privilege to be able to preach it, and to teach others who will preach as well!
The One-Cup Issue
This month I have been teaching a special series on the Parables of Jesus at the Arusha congregation. However, for the last Sunday of the month, they asked me to deal with a specific "hot topic." The brothers that bind the belief that the Lord's supper must be taken with a single cup shared by the whole congregation have caused a good bit of division in some parts of the country. They have recently begun to make a little noise here in this area as well. So as a preemptive measure, the brethren wanted to study the issue clearly. It was well-received, and we will continue to prize very highly the unity of the brotherhood.
Our friend and sister in Christ invited us to attend a large celebration at her child's school. We love opportunities like this to experience the local culture and to show ourselves to be members of the community. We couldn't stay for the whole event (it was an all-day production), but enjoyed what we did witness. The children showed off a program that they had prepared and school officials made speeches. Of course it was all followed up by an African feast.
It is important to be seen in the community. Taking an interest in local activities is not only enjoyable, but it also opens up opportunities for the Gospel. People appreciate when interest is shown in their lives, and a rapport is built. We try our best to be mindful of who we represent at all times, after all we don't exactly blend in around here. Anything we do in public might create an opportunity or a barrier.
You may not stand out from your community as readily as we do, but the same is true of your public behavior. Do all in the name of the Lord.