Monday, November 2, 2015

“What is in the pencil is greater than what is around it. The talents in you are greater than the troubles surrounding you. Your small gifts will change the world.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

Yesterday’s blog reminded me that what we do here may seem insignificant to us because of the huge need that surrounds us, but we were not called here by God to fix everything.  We were called because we offered the two fish and five loaves that we had to offer.  There was a meeting here on Saturday with some of the bishops and leaders of the church, and we planned our annual conference coming up later this month.  I also was able to give the $100 necessary for our four seminary students to ride the bus back to the school in Arusha.  Not much, but without it, those students wouldn’t be able to attend the free Methodist seminary, and we wouldn’t have over seven seminary trained pastors serving our churches.  When I got here we only had two who had ever attended seminary.  One of those is now a bishop and the other is still a pastor, so we will have gone from two to seven with seminary training.  Seven happens to the number of fish and loaves the little boy gave to the disciple.  It is in God’s hands how they will be used, not ours.  At the meeting, we were also able to work out the budget for the conference, and, surprisingly to me, they did not expect me to pay for all of it, only one fourth.  The churches were raising the rest of the money (about $600 in all).  I was so impressed that I offered to pay half if the other churches raised their half by mid November.  Once again, we are not carrying the whole load, and the churches are accepting more and more responsibility for providing funds, food, lodging, and transportation for those coming.  Karen asked for time at the conference to talk about the importance of having preschools teaching the Montessori method at all of the churches and permission was granted gladly.  We found out that St. Penny’s Academy now has over forty students (one of our preschools teaching Montessori) and Karen, who designed the uniforms in purple since the school is named for my sister and her favorite color is purple (the color purple—now that’s kind of catchy) will pay for the sixteen new uniforms.   The total cost is only around $80 U.S., so it’s not a big burden and one we can do without sacrifice—so we will.  We may have come here expecting to solve many problems and to have made a huge difference in the expansion of God’s kingdom and the alleviation of much of the poverty and disease and by our standards, we have failed to do that.  Yet, bit by bit, filter by filter, Swahili Bible and bicycle by bicycle—we are doing just that, we just don’t see that all the people are getting fed.  We are just offering the small fish and bread to Christ and letting Him multiply and distribute it.  Solar light by solar light, we are bringing light into the darkness and educating children who would never have seen the inside of a school without the seeds we have planted.  We will never feel like we have done enough, but that just goes with the territory.  We were never asked to change the face of Christianity here in East Africa just to offer what little we had so Christ do what needed to be done in His name.  That we can do.  It’s all God ever asks of any of us, just to be willing to offer what little we have to be used for His purposes.  It’s what we are doing, and I believe it is changing the face of Christianity in East Africa.  Do you have two small fish and some bread you can put into God's hands?  Will you?
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