Thursday, June 20, 2013

Developed means Developing

One of the first things I noticed about being back in Canada was the good shape of the roads. But I also noticed a lot of recent repairs and current repair projects under way. It occurred to me that having such smooth roads is one of the benefits of being part of what we call a "Developed" country. I could easily see the ongoing work that was being done to keep the roads in such a "smooth" state.

 Unfortunately, many in Uganda (our other home) see development as a stage you reach; paved roads -tick, clean running water - tick, available quality medical care -tick, good telecommunications- tick. These are just a few items that would be on the mental list of a country trying to reach the "Developed" status. Trouble is, development is not a stage but a mentality. To have smooth roads you have to keep filling in the cracks and pot-holes and eventually widening and rebuilding when the need grows. To be developed means to keep developing, to keep making things better. It is not merely about reaching a certain stage.

 To keep things in good condition and in good working order there has to be systems and forethought and a constant will to fight the forces of decay. Most of these qualities lack in the "developing world". This is one of the reasons why there continues to be such a gap between the the so-called "Developed" and "Developing" parts of the globe when it comes to physical infrastructure.

 Let's leave paved roads and running water behind; they can't really change people anyway. However, the principle of developing is important. In our spiritual walk with God through this life we need to keep on developing. God wants to keep changing us -- getting rid of the cracks and damage created by sin and putting in us the strong foundation of His Word. It is one of the joys of life to watch God slowly change us and transform us. If we've been at it long enough, we realize that the spiritual work of development is continuous. Good enough, God has a plan and forethought for developing our lives -- do we have the developing mentality or do we think we have reached the "Developed" stage and the work is done?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

This body works!

So many times we hear stories about how the church, Christ's body, is more like a dysfunctional family than the loving and caring group of people it should be. Well, I've got to tell you about our home church and how much they care for us! Not to glorify them or say that our church is better -- no, to show that God's love and Spirit is alive and well in His Body, the Church. We are returning back to our home town of Abbotsford, B.C. for a year long furlough.

We have had a wonderful almost-four-year term here in Uganda and are ready for a rest and a recharge and a revamping. Of course getting our clan across the world is no small feat but how about finding a house, furnishing for the house and a vehicle for such a family of ours is also no small task. Our church body has helped with all of this and more! It all started with a plan though. Recently our leaders felt it necessary for each missionary family to be appointed a "Champion" from the congregation to represent the missionary and their ministry to the church body and to help see that the missionary's needs are met both at home and on the field. We have a wonderful Champion called Mary. She and her family have spent years abroad so they know what the challenges are for a missionary family to re-settle. Mary helped to find us a suitable home and, with a little help from her family, she even helped to pay some rent and the damage deposit. Mary is part of our Life Group (a cell group/Bible study group) with whom she shared our needs and they have come together to help off-set some of our rent costs and to help furnish the home. Our Missions pastor has been in constant contact with us to see how our needs are being taken care of. Another man in our church is busy trying to locate a 8 passenger vehicle for us through his work as a car salesman. A local branch of the MCC thrift shops has agreed to furnish our home freely with whatever they can give us.

We are SO blessed! I mention all these details to show how we have been cared for in the most practical of ways. We will not struggle like many missionaries with "fitting in" in our church or Life Group. I hope sharing this account of our church's love for us will encourage you to see what you can do in your local expression of the Body of Christ. When we serve and love each other the the world will know us by our love for our brethren. How do you show your love for Christ by loving and serving in your church?