In a recent sermon to a group of pastors, I explained that God’s people are priests with the task of bringing all nations into the worship of God in Christ. I then began to apply this truth to the men before me saying,
One day very soon, I hope you no longer think only of me as the missionary. There are places you can go that I cannot go. There are peoples you can reach that I cannot reach. I pray that God is calling out of this room men who will cross physical borders, cultural borders, and language borders as missionaries to our neighboring countries and tribes. I pray that one day we will say you are the missionaries.
I went on to tell them of the 41 unreached people groups in Mozambique, many of them Muslim. The door to many of these people are closed to me. I can’t reach them. But the men who sat before me could.
When I began this point of application, I noticed an unusual quiet across the room, and several of the younger men began to lock eyes with me, listening carefully. After the sermon, one of the pastors came forward with tears in his eyes. He could barely speak. He shook my hand and could only manage to mutter, “Thank you. Thank you.”
I know that so many of you pray for me and for my family. But I encourage you to pray continually for the men we are investing in. What will God do with them? We have no idea. They themselves have no idea.
But, knowing God, he will be pleased to use these humble farming-preachers to bring people from every tribe, nation, and language into his own people. Knowing God, he will be pleased to shame the wise and powerful by demonstrating his power through men who are regarded as foolish, weak, insignificant, and despised (1 Cor 1:27–28), and I, for one, cannot wait to see him do it.
Students preparing for deployment
This week students are preparing for exams and working hard to complete the last of their assignments. On Friday, we complete the final term for the academic year of Shepherds Academy. It has been such a blessing to work with these students as we study the Bible, especially the great truths of Romans 5–8 in chapel each morning.
This term, I taught Evangelism and Discipleship. Students learned to share the gospel, to give their personal testimonies of salvation, and to guide new believers along the first steps of discipleship. They also each turned in five evangelism reports, recounting five times they shared the gospel this term.
This class is an important element in their preparation for their ministry projects in the coming months. We have seven students preparing to graduate in June. First, they must participate on a church planting team, where they will go out in twos and threes to preach the gospel and complete initial discipleship. Then the supervisor of each team will return over the next few months to help the small groups of believers that will be established to become fully-functioning churches.
We’ve already been praying for the three areas that these students will be working in this June, and we’d love for you to join with us in praying to the Lord of the Harvest for them:
- Nkopola, Mangochi District
- Ndunde, Chiradzulu District
- Thekerani, Thyolo District
A church growing toward maturity
It’s been some time since I’ve given any update about Gospel Life Baptist Church (GLBC) in Zomba. This April will mark the church’s third birthday. I no longer serve as a pastor, although I do preach at GLBC once a month. Pastors Wilkes and Isaac have done a great job shepherding and reaching out to our own neighborhood.
One thing you will notice at GLBC is that most of the faces in the congregation are young. God is doing a great work among a generation that faces all the same temptations young people in America face — alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, pornography, social media, love of money, and more. This past Sunday, Pastor Wilkes baptized 10 new believers!
Clinics launching soon
In April, we will begin another year of mobile medical clinics. Stacy Leigh and I will be taking turns leading the team of doctors and nurses to remote areas with acute needs. Some of these areas have been flooded twice this year by a cyclone and a tropical storm.
We will also, Lord willing, be visiting two of the locations listed above as areas for church planting. We pray that our clinics will prepare the way for church planting teams to return in June.
While so much of our attention must necessarily be on the preparations for our furlough this year, the work of ministry here will not be grinding to a halt. Our team in the mission, our students, and the pastors whom we serve will continue preaching the gospel and planting churches, and that is exactly as it should be. We aren’t here to do the work of ministry ourselves, but to equip God’s people for the work of ministry for the glory of his name and the unity of God’s churches.