During this season of giving, we asked ITMI partners to give you their heartfelt answers to several questions. These are from Johan and Lesley Leach. May their answers bless and encourage you!
If serving our Saviour and living life is the same each day, each year…then the question must be asked; ‘Am I walking in His Ways, according to His Word, led by the Holy Spirit?’
Or, am I in a groove? Circumstances can dictate many a time (if we allow it) to how we live our lives… ‘So we go with the flow.’
We can be so busy in practical ministry, or where we are employed and become so ‘task orientated’ that we do not hear His Still Small Voice unctioning us to be more compassionate, forgiving and understanding to those around us, or we can be so spiritual that we neglect the good works that go hand-in-hand with Faith.
Johan oversaw the digging of 5 new wells in western Zambia this fall!
Johan equipping and teaching.
Now please understand, I am not complaining as these were my targets for the year and I am pleased to say they have been achieved…..or most of them.
Then the Lord led me to read the Book of Ecclesiastes and I observe that Solomon wants to teach the reader wisdom,
“I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.” (1:13)
The Book contains Proverbs, sayings, maxims and is an autobiography of King Solomon’s life. He had become aware of the mistakes that he made throughout his life and documented them.
The Bible is many things and one is a road map, and so when you read this Book, ‘vanity of vanities,’ and recognise yourself in those who have gone before you, then you know you are on the right path, for these are ‘signposts’ to the Pilgrim.
Here Solomon was speaking and saying all is vanity, all works, fun, achievements…. I saw the past year flash by, the many days and weeks spent focused on completing tasks rather than spending more time on seeking my Lord’s Face, or keeping His commandments.
I will die, and all the works can be vanity (useless) without God; our obedience must be to Him. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (12:13)
So I needed to repent, which I did, and asked God to open my eyes, ears and heart to His Ways and leading of His Spirit, and in obedience to His commandments, with Him being the focus and not the tasks, for Him to guide me in all matters.
How has your year been? Where has your focus been?
The road has many challenges, how we overcome is the testimony.
The Lord was not finished with me, for the ‘Song of Solomon’ lay ahead.
The book of Song of Solomon is a large love poem filled with smaller poems of different kinds. It is a story of a bridegroom who is in love with his bride.
The key personalities are King Solomon, the Shulammite girl, and friends.
The story greatly emphasizes the sanctity of marriage and that it is designed, blessed and consecrated in the eyes of the Lord.
The purpose of “Song of Songs”, as it is also called, is a picture of God’s love for His people. It is a book in which we can learn the depths of God’s authentic love for us and what should be in the sacredness of marriage.
In the first three chapters, Solomon writes of the courtship and engagement of the Beloved (Solomon) and the Lover (Shulammite girl), “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.”(2:10)
In Chapters three and four, we read of the marriage ceremony of the bride to the bridegroom, “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and gaze on King Solomon with the crown with which his mother has crowned him on the day of his wedding.” (3:11)
And in Chapters five to eight, are the relationship between the husband and wife and the power of their love, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised.” (8:7)
As I read and studied this Book, asking God to show me what it is I needed here, He highlighted His Love for me, for the Body of Christ, The Bride.
As He opened up my eyes to His great Love by allowing the suffering of His only begotten Son and the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf and the countless times of Grace and Mercy He has poured out over my life, I fell on my face, humbled and reflected on my relationship with my Bride and bride.
How has your marriage been this past year? Husbands, wives?
How has your ‘Marriage’ been single folk? Your relationship with the Groom?
He is the Lilly of the valley.
May our Lord God, who makes rich and adds no sorrow be your portion over this Christmas time and the years that lie ahead.
What is one way your ITMI supporters directly made an impact for God's Kingdom this year?
Now this is quite a challenging question, for there has been many ways in which our ITMI supporters directly made an impact for God’s Kingdom this year.
Well Points for the remote peoples, donating a really appropriate vehicle to take supplies and the Gospel carrying folk to the least reached peoples, Bibles, Flip Charts….the list is endless, yet I would like to take a different angle on this.
Isaiah 57:14 - “Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”
Lesley and I have been called to serve and share the Love of God amongst the Luvale peoples.
The Call being to equip, train and facilitate the ‘Luvale Church’ to take the Good News to the utmost parts across the plains as well as across the border in Angola. The focus is always out there, never here, never us, only them.
The lost, the desperate, the forgotten…..
Sacrifice is what we do. Twenty years ago we stepped out on His command by faith to do His Will and even amidst all the challenges would never have wanted it any other way.
Tough is an understatement yet rewarding in seeing lives changed.
So this our twentieth year walking by faith and God shines His Glorious Light on us. Yes, Lesley and I.
We have lived in temporary accommodation (our garage), where the temperatures regularly soar into the 40° C, no electricity and no regular supply of clean water. So Steve phones me and says; ‘Johan what are your personal needs, as there are supporters who feel led to sow into your lives, don’t hold back, and let us know.’
Difficult…..always giving and not expecting anything in return, so ‘receiving’ can be quite a challenge.
Well, we do have plans at building a home we can call our own, starting with a bedroom and bathroom. It would be soooo appreciated if we could get solar power for this would allow the use of a fridge, freezer and other appliances making Lesley’s life more bearable.
A vapour type fan/cooler system would make a real difference. Clean water….Lesley has in the past suffered with Giardia, so boiling water for hours and then cooling before drinking is quite an operation.
We submitted these prioritised needs to Steve and then forgot about it continuing as before.
So it was quite a surprise when Steve phoned us up here in the sticks and said, Johan, Lesley all your requests have been fulfilled, monies have been given to build the first stage of your home, namely the bedroom and bathroom, you may also go ahead, do your research and purchase applicable solar system, oh and by the way there is monies for a fan/cooler system.
Wow, then the cherry on top was during my visit to the USA, thanking the folk for all the support these past years I came home with a filter system.
Lesley being sceptical having suffered with Giardia, tentatively ‘tests’ the filter system and today we freely utilise the system.
The Leach's home near remote Chavuma, Zambia.
So both Lesley and I rejoice in this, knowing that we ARE part of God’s Kingdom, that even though we ARE called to Go, even when the road seems unbearable, He cares for us as he did for the prophets of old, sending a raven with meat, or letting a spring of fresh water, spring forth to quench our thirst, or provide through the widow who had only a flask of oil and some meal in her cupboard.
So thank you Lord, for the faithful supporters of ITMI supporters who have made such a direct impact for God’s Kingdom by supporting Lesley and I, who have ‘removed the obstacles out of our way’ this past year.
We are so encourages and humbled to know that there are Pilgrims out there, some who we have not even personally met, who love us so much with the love of the Lord that even amidst their own challenges sow liberally.
May God richly bless you and all your loved ones as you continue to walk in His ways.
Always in His grip,
Johan and Lesley