News for End of July 2005
No end to love - a testimony
'How much to love' I often ask myself? "But surely I have loved these people sufficiently and need go no further" I ask myself? "No Jim, comes God's response, "give yourself more .". But then, when does love end? How much does one give?
A missionary to the Maasai people in Tanzania once wrote of his role as being: "destined to walk for ever a stranger in a strange land .". That missionary then flew back to the USA. He is no longer heard about. Is such missionary service these days only talk?
I spend my days and nights with the Luo people. I have no TV, radio, computer, car, motorbike or even electricity at home. "These things matter less than God" I want to say. I hope they understand. I use Dholuo and Kiswahili. "Your languages are beautiful" I want to say. I spend hours and hours with the children. "God loves you and I value you" I want them to hear. Giving and giving and giving of myself. When children come hungry, upset or rejected, then I say: "Welcome. My home is your home."
I write my PhD thesis. My thesis says "With God's help you can do it!" It is telling the Luo people that: "I believe in you. I have spent time withyou. I live in your village. I speak your language. I rear your children. I eat the food that you eat. I visit your widows. I share God's word with your people. When laughed at, I laugh back. When despised, I rejoice in the
Lord. When abused, well no I am not abused, as I am here to be 'used', by people,
for God to receive all the glory!"
I make decisions on the basis of love. I could buy a car, but then I would be setting an example that others couldn't follow. Instead I cycle for miles in the hot sun, then get plastered in a tropical storm, so as to say to people "you can do what I am doing! You can do it! Learn from God. Follow in his ways. Work hard. You can do it! God is sufficient."
When is love different from provision for the future? To 'provide for my future' I should have a 'good job', mortgage, wife and own family. I do not have these things. Then what should I have? Life insurance? Pension? (Pension schemes don't work for people like me.) When should I step back and say 'no I will love you no more because I now have to look after myself?' There is, surely, having love, and then there is 'being responsible'. Showing love today may be counterproductive if it results in trouble for tomorrow!
My conclusion - is that mission work should continue to be about love. It should be about sacrifice. It should be about living for today as if I was to die tomorrow, for the glory to be to God. It is about loving to the end, as love that is only for a period, is perhaps not love at all.
KIST graduation went well. We have now closed KIST, although things remain busy here as we have 150 people undergoing ordination on campus! I hand over the Dean's office on 1st August.
In Yala we currently have two visitors from Tanzania helping us to close classes and then visit students. Once they leave, I will have one week left to prepare for my travel to the UK on 16th August 2005.
PS anyone interested in proofreading my thesis to locate spelling and grammatical errors etc., please get in touch.