Sun through windowI’m sitting here on the floor in my room with the sun shining through the clouds into my window. A cool breeze and birds singing accompany the warmth of the sun. Since Thursday, I have not been able to appreciate much due to a really nasty stomach and digestive track bug that pretty much threw an anchor on my activities. Anchors are a great thing when you need them. But when you are traveling at the speed limit (or above) and you have a bunch of places to go and things to do, anchors can be a whole lot of…no fun!
Darlene has share with me how “our Team” has stood with us during this time of God’s detour from our “scheduled” activities. Your prayers are much appreciated and so very much needed. Please allow me to share with you once again a truth that is near and dear to me as I travel. God sees our collective and united partnership as one entity. We are all on this trip to Eastern Europe and Africa together. We are all inoculating goats and being a conduit for God’s love, together. We are all touching lives in untold ways and giving earthly and living water to really dry and needy souls, together. We are all standing against the enemy as he tries to stop what “we” are privileged to do with God’s help and provision, together.
I’ve been in many gymnasiums in my life. Almost without exception there always seems to be a plaque or a banner that lists an accomplishment such as winning a State Football Championship or a Track event or any number of sports that were of great value and struggle. Almost always included in with that declaration of success is a list of the “team” members that were involved, that made it happen. Sometimes the names are engraved on a brass plate; sometimes they are listed with paint and a stencil. Regardless of how it is displayed, I cannot remember ever seeing one name that stands out above the rest in those lists, because it took all the “team” to accomplish this great feat. When “we” all get to heaven, I hope there is an Awards Hall or Recognition of Obedience Hall where we can go rejoice together that “we” were used…equally…to do what God called us to do for a time such as this.
Remember as Samuel reminded Saul, “…obedience is better than sacrifice.” God doesn’t want our sacrifice nearly as much as He wants our obedience. Most of you were not called to come to Africa, but you have been led to stand with us and pray us through Africa and all the other trips that God calls the ITMI team and the Evers to be a part of. We must not let the enemy detract from God’s truth…”obedience is better than sacrifice.” Your obedience to HIS directing is all that HE wants. Imagine, your obedience to just praying or supporting us, is the same value and importance as if you had come to Africa and lived in a remote village. God considers them both to be of equal value in His system. He directs us all to do many different things. I am thankful that He has not called me to do what I see our Eastern European and African partners have been called to do. They regularly tell me that they are glad that they haven’t been called to do what I have been called to do.
Yesterday Ashley Keller, Tim’s wife, shared a story of when she was sitting with George W. and Laura Bush at a meal, when the Bush’s came to Kabwe to show that anyone can help in some small way by fixing up a run down and dilapidated clinic. Because of Tim’s willing heart to serve, he was installed as the Construction Coordinator between all the President’s staff and the local suppliers and laborers. Tim pretty much ran or coordinated the whole project. Ashely shared that during this meal, a missionary came up to George W., leaned over and spoke in respectful tones and said something along these lines, “…thank you Mr. President for all that you did in office and all the sacrifices that you made [because of being in office].” Ashley said that ex-President Bush turned his face directly toward the missionary’s face and with an understanding but purposeful expression shared this bit of wisdom. It went something like this, “…thank you for your kind words and I know that you are intending to honor me and I appreciate it, but you might be offended if I came to you and said, ‘Thank you for your sacrifice by being a missionary here in Africa.’” He went on to say that he was called by God to be the President as they were called to do what God led them to do and when that happens, there is no sacrifice. Yeah, there are earthy sacrifices that we can all focus on, but compared to God’s blessings and rewards, those sacrifices pale in comparison. Point was well taken!
Pictured above: Tim Keller, Ashley Keller with President and Mrs. Bush in Kabwe, Zambia
God calls us all to be His tools and He empowers us to do what HE calls us to do and when we are all doing that, we can rest in the fact that…His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke IS easy, and my burden IS light.
By the way, the fact that I can type this update, lets you know that your prayers have been answered. I feel much better today. I can think again. I can think and not feel the same sick stomach again. You can’t believe how pleased I was yesterday when I was able to sip water again. After a couple of days with bouts of not being able to even sip water, it was a great blessing. Please ask God to bless me with quickly returned energy and stamina.
I hope to build on this and get back in the saddle and finish this trip with great purpose. Today we go visit one of the small Christian elementary schools we partner with here in Kabwe. We will introduce Pastor Phil McKeown and Pastor Jon Ostrus and hope to partner Excellence Christian Academy with a team from North Village Baptist Church of Sunnyslope, AZ, next year and see what God will do in the lives of …all who choose to obey HIM and HIS calling.
Tomorrow we head back to Lusaka and will connect John Jere with Pastor Phil and Pastor Jon, in hopes of planning for next year’s team “a feeding” in one of the local townships (slums). Maybe we could send some of those pillowcase dresses with the NVBC team and let them see the joy of filling a hungry stomach and covering a little girl with maybe her only new piece of clothing ever! We don’t know what God will call us to do, but if we are sensitive to His leading and obedient to His directives…we will experience a joy that the world can’t begin to take away.
Thank you again for all you do and for your continual prayer support. If you get a chance, do me a favor and please tell Darlene that she is doing a great job of holding the fort down in so many ways… Hang in there Team, we have a lot of ministry and a lot of needs that still need to be met. Lets “…press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” and all be found faithful.
In His Service,