What Will People Say About You?
Our brother Amone from the church in Guinjata passed away on July 4th. He was at least 90, but no one knows for sure. At the end, he was almost totally blind and unable to walk. He lived alone, and one of the families in the church would cook for him, taking him food as he couldn’t cook for himself. The ECHO Project helped him with a monthly gift packet of food and had built him a new toilet a couple years back. Amone had a very hard and difficult life, but today, he is free from all that. He can see and he is dancing with Jesus.
On the third day of the funeral services, people stood and gave testimonies about the life of Amone. They all began with a recounting of how he used to be an angry man that everyone was afraid of. He didn’t have a good reputation in the village and was not liked by many. However, they all said after he gave his life to Christ, his life was different. I learned at the funeral, that before becoming a Christian, he was called was Madidzi, the name given to him at birth, and his nickname was “knock out.” After his baptism he announced that the old Madidzi was dead, and from now on we are to call him Amone as he is a new person, and that is what people called him until his death.
Here is what one man said about Amone: “Back in the day, he was known for his temper. He loved his fists and was always the first to respond to anything. People were afraid of him. Things changed when he was converted. People were surprised. They they saw how his life changed and they witnessed how he loved his proclaimer (a solar powered audio New Testament in Guitonga we had given him) and said he would carry it everywhere. He was a changed man.”
Many other things were said, but I was blown away by these testimonies. It made me think about what people would be saying about me, or you, after we are gone. Will they be testimonies of lives changed and transformed by the power of Christ? Or will we be remembered for less redeemed moments and characteristics? I was so encouraged and humbled to hear what people said about him. He wasn’t perfect, but the fruit of the Spirit was evident in his life. For that, I praise God.
July House Church
The Guijata Church Members Sing As They Arrive For Worship
Last month, I wrote about our focus on establishing many house churches around Inhambane, and how last month they began their first combined monthly worship and celebration services on the first Sunday of each month.
This month, the Inhambane House Churches were happy to receive a delegation from the village church of Guinjata. They arrived happy and singing as the above video clip shows. Celestino presented the message, and after the message, each house church broke up into small groups and discussed how the message applied to them. The church from Guinjata also formed a group and one of the local leaders lead them through the same discussions.
This was a learning and growing experience for them. On a very positive side, I was pleased to see the local house church leaders doing everything from the planning to the running of the service. Even Ivanildo didn’t take a leadership role this time, giving opportunity to others to learn and grow. Additionally, they quickly discovered they had not thought of translation into Guitonga for those who don’t speak Portuguese, but they quickly appointed Wilson to the task, and the service continued.
During their post meeting review, they identified several topics they needed to address. For example, transport to and from the village area costs money and there are less busses on a Sunday making travel options limited. This time the churches here decided to use the contribution taken to pay the group’s transport back home. Do they always need to do that? There were also several issues discussed about the meal provided, as it is a lot of work for the ladies. Solutions to all the problems were found. I appreciated how they deal with topics, wanting to improve for next month. Another sign of spiritual maturity of the disciples here.
Local Disciples Are Maturing In Christ
After the first day of Amone’s funeral, one of the local disciples made the following comment to Castro, “You guys seemed so comfortable doing the funeral and knew exactly what to do.” To which Castro responded, “I didn’t know what to do, but I learned, and if you stay close to us, you too will know what to do.” I hear the heart of a disciple maker at work. I even commented to Castro at the funeral that day that I was proud of him.
I remember when he had the nickname “quiet one.” That day he spoke with boldness and conviction. Not only a sign of spiritual maturity, but also of the transformational power of God in the life of one who submits his life to Christ. As I stood back and watched Ivanildo, Castro and Wilson lead the funeral, I thanked God for these men of faith. I am humbled to work along side them. It is a blessing to see them grow and mature in Christ.
Not much news to report. Thankfully all the kids are healthy and working. Happy to report that I will be traveling back to Tulsa the last part of July to spend some time with Lisa and the family. I will also be attending a couple meetings in the Houston while in the States. I had plans to “surprise” Lisa on our anniversary (July20th) with me just showing up at the door, but I couldn’t get an affordable flight home, so will arrive a couple days after our anniversary. We have already made plans for just the two of us to spend the day celebrating the day after my arrival. It has been an amazing first 32 years together! I am so blessed!!!!
Scott and Lisa Harris