Sunday, August 3, 2014
“All that I am I owe to Jesus Christ, revealed to me in His divine Book.” ― David Livingstone
Friday, our evangelist (lay pastor) for the church in the village of Bukore (almost in the Serengeti National Park) was killed when his burning house collapsed on him. He had saved his wife and daughters but went back into the burning house for the ten Swahili Bibles he kept for the church in his home. While he was holding the Bibles, the roof collapsed on him. They found his body still clutching the Bibles he cherished so much. Miraculously, the Bibles were intact. What can you say? I bought his coffin and sent money to buy food for those coming to the funeral and the transportation costs for the pastor at Karikakari to go back and forth doing the funeral and to take care of the family. It was not enough to ease my heart. This was a man who had been kind of like me—he had lived a hard life but had become a Christian and turned it around. It was reading the Bible that created in him a “clean heart” he once told me. I can understand why he would go back for the Bibles, but I would rather he was here. We can always buy more Bibles, but that is not how the minds of these people work. This is a culture that does not believe that losses of things can be replaced, so they treasure them more than they should. Still, in my mind, he is a martyr. We will send the widow a pair of breeding goats so that she can continue to keep her family together just as soon as they hold the next goat market around the 15th of the month. We cried here. I cried and men are not supposed to cry in this culture. In this culture, men can cry when their mother or father dies only, yet many cry at the loss of family and friends. When I heard the news, I cried and our workers kept trying to wipe away my tears, telling me to stop. God made us so that we could cry because He knew we would need to cry. It is a comfort to know that Joseph is with God now. I’m sure he was welcomed with “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The family and our church has lost a good man, a Godly man. Thank God for the Bible and thank God for those who know its worth and live by its words. May Joseph rest in the arms of the angels. I am too emotional for this kind of work, but God doesn’t seem to care and wants me here anyway. Joseph did not die because he was stupid, he died because he was brave and valued the Word of God more than his life. How many can say that?