One of the principles that we have had from the beginning is that discipleship begins when you meet someone. This is supposed to mean that from the time that you meet someone you are modeling for them the life that is to be lived in Christ. The question for a long time was does this work? Does this make any sense?
One week after Fili and his wife were baptised the team went down to see how they were getting on. They all got up a five am and met together; Kili, Fili, their wives, the team and assorted interested neighbors. Around fifteen or so people. Fili's wife is the best reader among them so after they prayed together she read the word. Then Fili spoke the devotional for the morning. It was from the book of Revelation. He said that we were not living for the things this life had to offer. These houses, lands, things would all perish but Jesus was coming again and He was bringing their true rewards with Him. These rewards would last forever so we must work for these things now and not be discouraged or concerned about our temporary situation. This was the devotion of a one week old believer. Yes, I think that discipleship does start when we meet someone if we are proactive to model the life of Christ in all that we do. People are watching and listening even when we do not think they are. Fili was learning truckloads long before his decision to follow Christ. He continues to be a rock there in Anfalas.
So, what does the Church look like in Anfalas. Well, another principal we have is that we spread the Good News and let Jesus build His Church. This means that we have not sought at all to establish any kind of 'organization' in Anfalas. We have just taught the Word. So, every morning at five am the two families get up and meet together- outside in good weather and in one of their homes in bad. They pray together for strength to face the day. They read the Word and either Kili or Fili give some sort of devotional based on the Word. They would like to sing but they are not musical and so far that has not gone too well but they are trying. Between ten and fifteen villagers meet with them on any given morning just to watch. I think that most of them are convinced that Kili and Fili have done the right thing and are trying to find the courage to do the same. They have faced limited persecution especially at first but now they are accepted members of the community and no one has been hostile to them up to this point in time. The guys work as day laborers in neighboring villages and actively share their faith everyday. They also pray for the sick among them and have seen some healed. Some said that they may be ostricised and have trouble finding work but so far they have had more work and more money than ever before.
The other day Frodo suggested that Kili and Fili come up to Minas Tirith and have some sort of conference with other local groups. I said no, this will become necessary but not yet. For now, being a follower of Jesus in Anfalas is not a foreign idea. Accepted outsiders have planted an inside group that is leading itself. If they come up to the big city they will hear much that is new and some that may even be good but they will return to Anfalas with strange foreign ideas that do not belong in the village. Down the road they will need to relate to the greater body but not until they have a much stronger footing. I believe when they mature and come into Minas Tirith it will be the city boys who will learn from them more than visa-versa.
I am learning a lot about the Church as I watch it unfold in the village. I know that a village Church does not belong in the city and would not work here. But would you not want to be a part of a family that meets and worships everyday in the midst of the rhythm of life and sees God's hand at work?