This morning I have found myself thinking about and reflecting on the scripture from Luke 19:41-44. This is another account in the bible of Jesus crying. We all know the shortest verse in the bible is “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), which is written just before he raised Lazarus from the dead. But this is a different type of crying. He is crying over a community, a city, a nation because of their lack of foresight, vision, and understanding. Every person needs to here ‘The Lord our God is one’. A challenge comes out of this, for those of us who are in Christian Leadership, when was the last time we wept for the community where we live and work? For every believer, when was the last time you wept for someone who still doesn’t know the Lord Jesus as Saviour?
Yesterday we finished painting the outside courtyard of the church and the classrooms. It is now all nice and clean ready for the children to arrive today for the compassion project. Once we had finished painting, Rev. Anderson took us to visit two more people who belong to the church. The first was Hilda, she has one daughter and a 4 week old baby. The second lady was Rocio. She told us how the Church, and in particular Rev Anderson has helped her family through a really difficult time. As well as being the Anglican minister of the area, Anderson is also a type of probation officer. He goes around one day a week and checks on the youth as to where they are at and what they are doing. Rocio’s Son got involved in a gang, but Anderson was able to talk with him and get him away from those who had a negative influence on him. He is now in the Army, where he is getting an education and is able to send money home to help his mother save to build a new home so that they don’t have to live in the wooden shack that they are currently in.
I found myself yet again doing something yesterday, which I am really enjoying here, but find extremely difficult at home - Street evangelism. We had a box of ‘luxury’ food (sweets, biscuits, fruit, fruit juice, etc.) with us yesterday and as people walked past we chatted with them and gave them something. This then gave us an opportunity to tell them that Jesus loves them, and for those who didn’t know Rev. Anderson, he was able to introduce himself to them. At one point a local council worker who works at the water tower, came over and asked Anderson if we needed anymore brushes or rollers.
It is really easy to see Anderson’s passion and heart for this community and for these people. He is burdened for them and will do what he can to tell them about Jesus, even when it means his own family suffer as a result. He loves these people and tries to see them as God see’s them, but yet is not afraid to tell them what he thinks. For example, he introduced me to a parishioner who has had four children but can hardly afford to feed herself and her husband. He said to her plainly, ‘have no more children’. I think that is probably what is known as a loving rebuke!!
One of the problems at the Church is graffiti, and gangs hang around it at night selling drugs etc. I have been reminded of the story Canon David Brown told me; he is Rector of Knocknagoney in Belfast. David had a similar problem at his church, and God reminded him of the story of the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). After the Israelites had marched around the city seven times a day for seven days and blew their trumpets, the walls fell down. David told me that he walked around the parameter of the church grounds praying for God to protect His church, the vandalism stopped and the drug dealers moved on. For the last two days, just before we finished at the church, we have marched around the church asking God to protect the building. It may seem crazy to some, and no doubt the locals are wondering what is happening, but I think there is something powerful about this to both the seen and unseen.
Our Bus drivers’ young brother Ricardo is 14 and he seems to have befriended us and wants to spend as much time with us as possible. He is a mega music fan and is learning to play the guitar. Every opportunity he gets, he brings his guitar and asks me to play it and for us to sing to him and with him. Last night I asked Elaine to ask about their mum and dad. Their mum works but their dad has died. Rev. Anderson told me that Ricardo wants to be our friend because he doesn’t have many Christian friends and enjoy being in our company.
This morning Derek led our devotions and encouraged us to have a period of self-reflection and confession. This is always a good thing to do. Short accounts keep us closer to God. He read from John 15 and 1st Peter 5:7.
Please pray for:
- Hilda and her family
- Rocio, her son in the army and her other two children.
- That the church wouldn’t get vandalised again and that the gangs would come to know Jesus
- For the Compassion International project which we are working with today
- For everyone we meet and come into contact with
- For our bus drivers Job, Dic, their brother Ricardo and their mother
- For us as a team and for our continued unity and fellowship
- For continued safety and protection