Saturday morning. It is wonderful to be back here. It’s been almost three months since we were introduced to the people in this area. We are at Steven Phiri’s church (Faith for Healing Church), although the meeting includes people of other churches too. This time, the numbers have trebled although there are no more than four men in the group of about thirty. It takes time to get them talking in response to the questions but eventually they interact. Our subject is 2 Corinthians 5/17 and what this scripture means. No matter what subject you start out teaching in the villages, you always end up teaching about salvation and what it means to be saved. The people of Mgona told us last time that they had never been exposed to teaching of any kind, which shook us quite a bit because with TBN and the internet teaching is always available for those of us in the city. In addition to that we have access to books. Here, the pastor was the only one who owned a bible. It is difficult not to give every person there a bible when you hear things like these but since we know that it is almost the same everywhere we go, we try and give out what we can without compromising the other areas. It is just as painful to ask for the bibles back at the end of the teaching when you know that they are going to homes where there are no bibles. So, statements like “make sure you read…” never come out.
There is a chicken in the back and the children are chasing it. One thing about working in village communities is that you learn to adjust to distractions. So many of the women come with their children, sometimes the children outnumber the adults. There was a lady with her three children. It goes to show the desire for the word. Even with three children she interacts and listens as best she can. The most beautiful sound is the reading of the word in concert. For most, this is the first time they have held a bible in their hands, much less read one. It is interesting to watch their eyes as they realise what they are reading. It helps us not to take the word for granted, what with our several versions stacked on the book shelves.
The hours pass quickly and soon we are done with day one. We will be back the following day.
Sunday brings a very different group. One of the challenges of doing a teaching that is in segments is the sporadic attendance. People are always working in the village. It is hard to attend all the time and so we appreciate the ten that return from the previous day. Of course, this means we must recap the previous day more in-depth so as to not leave anyone behind. We also learn not to take anything for granted. Statements like “we all know…” or “we all remember the story where…” cannot be used. They don’t know, they don’t remember. It takes half the session to recap and then we are off. There is no greater time than realising that a truth has penetrated the mind. There is much excitement and you are able to see it in the eyes.
We part ways promising to return the following week. We have one more week here and then it will be two months before we return. It always feels like we are leaving family behind. No matter where it is, we always feel like we belong. After all, these are our people. They are only thirty minutes always and yet the absolute difference in access to the things of God (the bible, materials etc.) is overwhelming. But this is our reality and we face it every weekend. Nonetheless, we choose to make the small indent rather than stare at this mountain and do nothing.
This is our journey and we are privileged to be invited by the Spirit to participate.