Real Mission Work
“And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding …” -Ezra 8:18
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” -Romans 8:14
I was six years of age and living in South Africa. My father was going to preach, and I was with my mother in a second vehicle. Suddenly, Brother DeBrien who was riding with us said, “Sister Cathcart, stop the car — I have left something behind!” He rushed back into the house and returned after a few minutes. My mother asked, “Brother DeBrien, did you forget your Bible?” He responded, “No, I forget my nickel-plated pistols. Where we’re going, they will kill you for a few pennies.”
Now, let’s fast forward a few years but keep to the same theme.
We just returned from a trip to visit the WME work in Kenya. This trip was unusual because things started going wrong from the very beginning when a meal truck banged into our aircraft as we were attempting to depart from DFW. When we finally arrived at the airport in Nairobi, there was no one to meet us. A Kenyan friend came to our rescue. We discovered our hotel reservations had been cancelled. We managed to work things out slowly, but strange happenings continued to plague our visit. The delays that resulted forced us to cancel a trip to the Maasai mission at Emuruadikir. We decided to instead visit the large slum at Kibera-Soweto, but we missed our scheduled time of departure due to more problems.
By this time, I was waking up spiritually to the significance of these unusual problems and the accompanying conviction in my spirit. I said to my WME associate, “The Lord is telling us not to go. This number of negatives is not natural; it’s the Lord talking to us through our circumstances.” My associate protested, “The people will be disappointed if we don’t go.” I responded, “They’ll just have to be disappointed. I’m going to listen to the Lord.” The Kenyans wanted us to leave for the slum at 2:30 pm. But a phone call came from a Kenyan detective friend. “Don’t come,” he said, “There’s been an incident.”
We found out a bit later that my WME associate and I had been targeted. Our detective friend felt he should go ahead of us and check the scene. He had gotten out of his car at the gate of our WME school and purchased some oranges for the kids from a roadside vendor. Four teenagers walked up and started talking to him. They knew of our coming visit, and this gang was tired of waiting for my associate and me to show up. Instead, they decided to jump the detective who came before us. Suddenly, our detective friend was looking down the muzzle of a gun. One teenager who recognized the detective and knew all about our school yelled to the gunman, “Shoot him! Shoot him!” The detective remained totally calm; and while the boys were distracted for a second or two, he retrieved his pistol and shot the gunman in the chest. The other gang members ran off into the slum. The gunman has since died while another of the young men in the attack was gunned down in later activities.
In Kenya, men without congregations or followers start claiming they are Pastors, Reverends, and eventually self-appointed Bishops. These men deceive well-meaning Americans in order to rip them off financially. One such “Bishop” in the Kibera slum is opposed to WME. He aligned himself with a minor government official and arranged to have part of our school security-wall torn down, neither of them having the proper authority to do so. Because the wall was missing, our school children witnessed the shooting described above.
So what are the lessons here?
First, as many as are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. God can and will speak to us, even in the midst of and through our circumstances. When He does, we need to listen carefully.
Second, WME is into real missions work in countries plagued by violence and spiritual darkness. There is a desperate cry of the Spirit to provide high school education to as many children in Kenya as we can. Kenyan government only educates children through the 8th grade. Children graduate from the 8th grade and have no hope for the future. The teenager who knew our school and planned the attack should have been attending a Christian school. That might have saved his life from the dark path of destruction he is now locked into.
Christians are called to change these realities and to bring in the Kingdom of God. We need to provide high school education for our children in Soweto. We need donors who are willing to step into the gap to save young people in desperate need. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, abandoned and hopeless. Let us follow in the footsteps of Christ, and let the mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.
By John G. Cathcart