God’s mercies are new each morning as the group from Lighthouse Church will attest to. They are serving six days in a rural M*slim village experiencing God’s amazing grace in a concentrated, fresh way. Pastor Paul held a leaders’ workshop for 25 men teaching pastoral topics such has shepherding the elderly and widows, how to engage and counsel married couples (especially relevant in this society) and the uniqueness of pastoring children and youth.
The Ethiopian pastor of the church interpreted for him. Paul’s pastoral experience strengthened the leaders who are valiantly bringing former M*slims to Christ and establishing Christian fellowships. It is imperative that new believers have strong community in the midst of antagonism and rejection from their tribal society.
The following day 44 people were baptized in a lake about one hour walk from the main village where the team is working (they drove there in about 15 minutes). It was a joyous affair, quite exuberant compared to the baptisms at my church. Every one of the people dying and rising to new life through the waters of baptism have paid a price that will necessitate forging a ‘new normal’ in the midst of rejection and, in some instances, ostracism. Baptism in this culture is a line in the sand recognizable by both M*slim and Christian communities.
In the little community next to the lake a church has begun for those in that area who have come to Christ. It is the only Christian presence in that area and establishing a place to worship has been tough. Right now we are renting a stick and mud building until we are allowed to purchase land to have a church building of our own. It was to this church the 44 newly baptized people and the American team gathered for communion. The sweetness of Jesus during communion once again melted cultural barriers with the Holy Spirit’s power and presence refreshingly familiar in a brand new way. Praise Him!