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by Russ Lawson
In 1995 my wife and I were working in Kenya, East Africa as missionaries. We lived and worked in the third largest city in the country, Kisumu.
We had been working particularly in a large slums on the outskirts of the city that has about 10,000 people living in cobbled-together houses made of mud, tin, plastic sheets or just about anything else they could find. Only one small section had water available to it, there were no sewers, trash collections or anything else we take for granted. The filth and the stench of decaying rubbish and charcoal fires hung over everything all the time.
The language which everyone in the country wanted to learn was English; they felt it could be their ticket out of poverty if they could learn enough English to get a job somewhere.
We and some of the African brothers and sisters decided that we would start a new congregation, which would do all of its teaching in English. Everyone was excited about the idea, we rented a storefront building, cleaned and painted. I built benches and a podium and made a chalkboard for the wall then painted a sign on the front of the building. We picked the day to have our first service and then Satan struck. We received word that some people didnt want us to start a church there. And that if we met that Sunday they would form a mob and get the police involved and stop us. In that country it was quite a threat, people were afraid and some wanted to stop right then.
We and our African brothers prayed fervently about the situation, but were determined to plant this church anyway, we would not give up our goal. The day came and we met and many were somewhat anxious about the situation. But we met anyway and had about 60 in attendance and no incidents occurred.
Now, for the rest of the story . . .
The church there still meets regularly. They are trying to buy the building they are renting right now. They started a day care center for orphans and a school to teach the children in those slums. They are working for our God and successful in fighting Satan because they refused to give up when faced with difficulty.
Sometimes people who refuse to give up have great things happen to their souls. When we fight the good fight, when the odds seem overwhelming, when we refuse to give in to the threats of Satan, we sometimes learn some lessons about ourselves. You see, sometimes people who hang in there find God and isnt that the point of it all anyway?
The apostle Paul wrote, Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
May you stay the course and reach your goal towards the upward call of God in Christ Jesus no matter what obstacles are in your way!
Author: Russ Lawson
Publication Date: July 3, 2001
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