Our daughter Maria is safely back in the US now. It was very emotional and a tough 24 hours or so. The impact that people here in Africa left on her was monumental. She can hardly wait to return in the summer. If possible, she may even stay for an entire year and continue her college classes online. Everyone that has come here has experienced the same thing, a longing to stay and to be around these people more. My relationship with several of the people here has grown substantially. Having a background in manufacturing has caused the framework of my perspective always to be around efficiency. To elaborate I always look for the simplest, easiest, most effective way to resolve any situation.
Pretty much any activities that would involve life in America would fall under the guidance of these principles. Many people may even refer to them as common sense, although common sense is not common. The fact that I had many years to make many mistakes in order to learn how not to make so many is helpful. To a large degree, much of what I am referring to has simply never been taught. It is hard to imagine what happens to a push mower put in the hands of someone with no experience. No matter how many times I would tell them not to set it so low that it sculpts the grass it was to no avail. Finally the least stressful avenue of resolution was to secure the adjustment lever to a fixed position not allowing it to be changed. Praise Jesus a solution that finally worked. There are many other simple tasks that seem much harder to understand and they should be. Thank God He is using these situations to help me be more patient and loving.
Now for the flip side of the coin. Several of these young men are light years beyond us Americans, referring mostly to myself, on spiritual matters. As much as I enjoy the God-given skills to work on and fix most anything I would give this up in a heartbeat to have the depth of spiritual wisdom they possess. My wife and I have literally sat for hours listening to these young man explain spiritual secrets and they have yet to hit the quarter century mark age wise. They are so humble, so wise, so considerate and so selfless, and quite honestly it is hard to comprehend. Here are just a few examples, and be honest with yourself, how many people do you know that would respond this way?
Tony and Kelvin opened a small shop that sold computers and various other electronic devices. They both saved money to launch this business. Only after about one month, some people broke in and stole everything. This is how Tony responded. For three days, he praised God. He never one time made a negative comment about the situation or the people that perpetrated it. In fact at the end of three days he prayed that they would not get caught to get in trouble. Instead that he could find out who they were and witness to them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Just a few days ago, a similar situation happened when Tony went to the mountain to pray. While he was praying, someone came up and took his two phones. By the way the reason for two phones is one works halfway and the other one works halfway.
Just after this happened, we saw him smiling a big Tony smile. Again his response was similar. I do not want to get this guy in trouble, I just want to lead him to the Lord so he can be forgiven. Many of us can say we would put others before ourselves. The reality is most of the time that would be a lie. I have pondered this thought much deeper as I watch these young men consistently and joyfully do it in all situations. Now I will give you an example of Kelvin’s character. There are many but here are a few that are very relevant.
The need for titles before our names seems to be at epidemic proportions particularly here in Africa. Apostle, Bishop, super Prophet, senior Prophet and a variety of many other superlatives to exemplify one’s position. The thing is Jesus made it quite clear He could care less about titles, however man is obsessed with it. Read Matthew chapter 23 and judge for yourself. We very much discourage the use of titles and prefer to address one another as brother and sister or fellow warriors. I will try to be somewhat elusive in describing the giftedness that Kelvin is operating in.
There were some people he knew that he was discussing spiritual matters with. They insisted on calling him a specific title. Kelvin became more and more uncomfortable with their actions. Finally he asked them why would they want to tempt him to sin. The potential to have pride or ego grow inside of someone is great. Instead of allowing this possibility he diverted it before it could even take root within himself. Being on guard to such things is one of the many reasons why these young men are being used so powerfully. Here is another example of Kelvin’s character.
He was staying at someone’s house. There was a young man that was a son of the people that lived there. He was a little bit older than Kelvin. There was a situation that occurred where this young man was destructive with several things in the home. When the parents arrived home he told them that it was Kelvin that was responsible. The parents were fully aware of Kelvin’s character and their sons. They thought for sure that Kelvin would give accurate details which would implicate the son. He chose another path.
When asked by the parents what happened, Kelvin chose to apologize to the son that had caused all the issues. I am sure the parents were shocked having witnessed many things their son had done over and over again. Kelvin said, “I am sorry brother, I should have treated you with more respect you are my elder”. Apparently the young man was slightly older than Kelvin. By surrendering himself for the benefit of another, Kelvin took the steps for a relationship to develop in a difficult situation. This changed the way the young man viewed Kelvin. In fact the young man eventually gave Kelvin one of his favorite shirts. How many of us could be falsely accused, verbally assaulted, made fun of, mocked and just overall be treated poorly but yet respond like this?
I wish I could say the moral character of Christ was developed within me to the point of these young man half my age. Sadly it is not, however through God’s great mercies he has allowed me to be in the midst of a body of believers that can help. The accelerated learning that the Almighty has allowed me access to is remarkable. Had I been a faithful servant and not squandered so many years in selfish living this spiritual crash course may not have been necessary. I am desperately trying to keep up with what the Lord is showing me. The situation and events seem to be perfectly choreographed in a way for me to get the maximum benefit. Unfortunately what I am absorbing is probably 25% or less. The fact that situation after situation are occurring in breathtaking sequence is proof to me that time is short. A young lady that we used to know told us that God showed her there is no time left for do overs. My sense is she was right. Any lessons that the Lord is trying to show us now must be learned quickly. If it is not we will be left deficient when it comes to a critical point in our spiritual journey.