I received a joy-packed email today, flooding me with sadness while stirring up dejection. A contradiction? For sure! The email contained the very work of God on Kome Island: 1,134 Tanzanians heard the gospel, 524 entered into God’s kingdom, 196 new believers trained to share, and 113 participated in baptism!
Humbling stories followed as Kome Island team members began to share. My heart quickened as I read those first accounts and continued to wait, knowing the ABH staff would return soon with many more stories held in words and photographs.
So what strange circumstance works to create an aching chasm between this work of God and my joy at seeing it? The chasm rests on two things: a longing and a lie. You see I long to travel to Tanzania myself, to see, hear, and feel the fabric of the land and its people. I long to touch a real hand as books come out of suitcases and enter hearts God has prepared through our year of labor.
Our ABH on-the-field team does this. They teach, they give, they embrace, they absorb, they grow, they learn, and they bring all this home to us—those chosen to stay.
So where’s the lie? The lie rests in a belief that I am outside, alienated by circumstances that make this trip impossible for me. The lie shows itself in an insidious belief that I am less in some way because I cannot physically show up. That my daily prayers count for little.
God’s truth tells me a different story. In Ephesians Paul exhorts believers to “pray at all times in the Spirit,…that utterance may be given…to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” (6:18-19).
This pursuit of prayer embodies the work God allotted to me and others like me. Staying. Praying. At home. Through this powerful work our stateside ABH village meets the Kome Island village as intimately as hand clasping hand. Do you remember the first paragraph? People heard, people believed, people share.
The fruit of prayer and the fruit of speaking the gospel entwine. Hearts join across the globe and God’s kingdom swells. Deny the lie, believe the truth and let all hearts rejoice!