Gems Shine Brightly

Some time ago, while in Nairobi on business, I stopped in a jewelry store to look for a watch. I was (of course), warmly welcomed because it was thought a big sale was expected. The jeweler took me over to a case and, as he looked around for the “right” watch for me, I looked down at the felt pad that was on the display counter. On that pad I noted a bunch of small objects highlighted by the overhead lights. This seemed odd and when the salesman, who also was the owner of the business, came back I pointed them out to him. WHAM! BAM! With an loud ejaculation (and curses!), he called the rest of the staff to come, showed them the objects and publicly scolded them, berated them and threatened them. It turned out that those shiny objects were small unmounted diamonds and other jewels which someone had spilled without noticing and thus “they were sloppy” and a detriment to the business. I have no idea how all this turned out – nor did I purchase a watch that day.

Praise the Lord, ministry over the years has produced many Gems that shine brightly and that adorn the Gospel. It would be impossible to name them all – church leaders, pastors, Bible women, faithful believerswho over the years have been faithful to our Lord. Several have even come to the USA for studies, minister in new ways and continue here building up those effective ministries. Here, I highlight just two.

One of them is a young man, earnest in ministry- a faithful minister of God’s Word; a servant to others. I have never met him and first I heard of him was from an internet search of church ministries in Tanzania in the general area where we had lived and worked. I found he had, at that time, a ministry to orphans and widows and was seeking to care for them, to provide spiritual counsel and to assist them to become self-supporting using various handcrafting enterprises. I also found out that he had extended family who lived in the area in which we had ministered. He graduated from the church’s Theological Training School and later moved his family to another area to duplicate that first ministry. This time, though, he also began a church which draws folks from the surrounding area. Preaching, visiting, relationship building, conversions – the Spirit of our Lord blessed and folks came to the Lord in Salvation, were Baptized, broke from to old pagan practices.

They met together for fellowship and Bible teaching wherever they could; they determined to construct a church building; they began the work; they contributed as necessary. A very temporary structure was put up; bricks were purchased; plans were drawn up. Now, they wait on the Lord to help provide the funds needed to do the actual construction and to put on the roof. While they wait, they still meet in their temporary structure which has its real draw-backs during the rains.

Then, again, there is one who, after graduation from Bible School in Tanzania, was able to come to the USA for further studies. To get here, the USA Embassy required him to take a test which included some questions on Shakespear’s “The Merchant of Venice”. He and I scoured town looking for that book! Finally we found a copy at a little British ex-pat library. The test was passed and his visa was issued.

He married here, took varied jobs as he studied (including driving one of Philadelphia’s subway trains) and later settled down in ministry as a pastor and services director in a needy section of Birmingham. BUT, again, his burden was for his home country (area – an island in Lake Victoria) and with the working-together of his current church over 6 churches have been established on that island. His church family has had several teams go out to do construction, to evangelize and to encourage local church evangelists and pastors there in their ministry.

As I think about all these, this could be repeated any number of times. Children and grandchildren of African evangelists and pastors with whom we worked are now in ministry – teaching in the theological schools, pastoring new churches, reaching out in ministry to far-out unreached people groups. PRAISE GOD for the power of His Word, for what He has done and continues to do through our African brothers and sisters in Christ. The Body of Christ is evident, growing and faithful. Pray for continued faithfulness and blessing as they serve our Lord there in Tanzania.

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