Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. found me leaving home in the vehicle my director’s daughter has graciously loaned me while mine awaits repairs. I parked it in town and joined Pastor Lino in his sister’s car, driven by her, for a two-hour journey to a rural church he supervises. It’s a privilege to collaborate with Pastor Lino, who treats me with respect and capably handles the logistics each time he takes me to an event at one of his congregations.
At 9:00, we pulled to the side of the highway and parked under the shade of a large tree next to a church building under construction. We were greeted with smiles and handshakes from the local elder, an evangelist, and seven women, four of whom had babies tied on their backs, with an additional four small children in tow. Pastor Lino made introductions, then walked away with the elder and evangelist, leaving his sister and me seated in plastic chairs and the local women on a bamboo mat.
As the guest teacher, I felt relaxed in the soft breeze in front of the eager listeners. Reading from the text I had prepared, I taught in the local tribal language about the story of the Biblical Hannah: She faced unfulfilled longings, provocation, and giving up her son to God’s service in the temple, yet in her suffering she found God to be sweet, good, and faithful. After my hour-long message, the leader among the women asked whether Hannah killed her son to offer him to God. They all seemed relieved at my explanation that God wants His people to be living sacrifices in His service, never requiring human sacrifice as Satan does.
My second message lasted for thirty minutes and was on parenting, with advice for caring for children’s hearts, souls, and bodies. The ladies remained attentive and summarized my teaching at the end when Pastor Lino returned. He then moderated a discussion about related topics, including initiation rites, and translated from the national language to the tribal language the alternative suggestions I gave (at his impromptu request) regarding sexual education for children.
At 11:30, Pastor Lino took me and his sister to the elder’s home for a lunch of chima and boiled chicken. The conversation we’d begun en route, about my life and ministry here in Africa, continued as we ate. After eating, we returned to the car, where the ladies, still gathered under the tree and singing, gifted us with buckets and sacks of cassava along with tomatoes, beans, and a root used to make tea. I gave the head woman a copy of my booklet on women’s ministry as we said goodbye and headed back home.
Please pray that these women will understand and practice the Biblical truths I taught them. Pray for God’s blessing on Pastor Lino’s desire to bring me back to the same church to teach many more of its women on a Sunday. Pray that God would continually protect me from all the schemes of the enemy, sanctifying me to be a useful vessel for His work in this needy part of the world. It’s such a joy to serve Him in this way!