Last week after a successful food distribution to a village starving in the worst winter Gondor has seen in 25 years we decided we would go back down to Anfalas and do a special seminar. The young church down there is always hungry for more of the Word so I thought it would be a good idea for us to take a whole day and do an Old Testament overview kinda conference.
We met a couple of times and portioned out the different subjects each of us would teach. Merry would take the Patriarchs, Frodo would teach Exodus through the Judges, and Sam would go over the Wisdom litereture. I would overview Israel's history and put the prophets into that perspective. On Monday we met to make sure that we were clear on what we were doing. Everything looked good. Any questions? Merry shifted in his seat, 'just one.' 'Are you coming with us?'
I paused, looking at his discomfort and trying to figure out where he was going with this.
'Do you think I shouldn't go?' They had discussed this, obviously they didn't think so. They then explained that while everyone in Anfalas loved me it was clear that when I was there people were shy. They didn't always come around the foreigner and when they did come around they didn't always open up and asks questions. 'Ok', I said. 'You guys are breaking my heart!' Man, teaching the Word is my greatest joy in life. I knew they were right. I sent them on without me.
The team got back yesterday and the study went really well. All four baptised believers were there and eight other adults joined them. The teaching went on all day and into the night. No one left or lost interest. They were all rivoted to what the guys were saying. And God was working in me too. He told me to look up a verse that would help me. It is a much used verse in our line of work. So much used that it is almost trite, taken for granted.
2 Timothy 2:2
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who also will be qualified to teach others.
This verse washed over me. It soothed me and gave me joy. I thought about how I was able to just say to Merry, 'Teach the Patriarchs' and he would do it. I didn't say to him, 'Don't forget to mention this, please emphasis that, use these key verses.' He knew it. We have studied and worked together for four years. They know the Word and they know Jesus well. They can teach very well. Lives were changed Tuesday. Several who have been fence sitting have been powerfully challenged to follow the Truth in an effective way. God is moving in Anfalas. And if He is then my job is done and I need to move on to the next village, the next uncrossable barrier, the next Gate of Hell that is begging to be knocked down so that those inside can be set free by our relentless savior.
A quick prologue to what I have just written. When Merry finished sharing about how Joseph experienced great personal pain but that God used it all for good he got a phone call. His sister's apartment here in Minas Tirith burned completely in the night. Thanks be to God who awoke his sister at one in the morning when she heard the sounds and smell of burning and looked in on Merry's studio where he does dubbing of Christian movies and music. The fire was already raging and the force of it blasted the door open and threw her back. She escaped with her two children unharmed but they have lost everything. They are currently staying at Frodo's house until funds can be collected to remodel the apartment. Local believers are coming to their aid and today I know that they have clothes and shelter and all that they need. Replacing the studio and the apartment will be harder for them but not for God. Merry took the news gracefully and was a testimony of how God's children should bear burdens. I am proud of the whole team who can not only share the Gospel, they live it.