Monday has been the break I needed (I wrote this yesterday). Getting to spend time with Isaac and Matthias over at Joseph’s house Sunday night was a great beginning for this week. God has provided me with friends who I hope to have for a lifetime. They are people with whom I have taught, fought, and grown so much. Today I am so grateful for having the opportunity to get a little sunburnt with my team at the beach and go grab a caramel milkshake afterwards. Sitting in the café, Tiago, a Brazilian missionary, and I chatted away, speaking polar opposite Portuguese dialects and talking about what it truly means to be an evangelical Christian missionary in Cabo Verde.
It’s tough, mas aquilo que vale não é sempre tão facil. I was chatting this past week with a group of guards (some friends who hang out near our leaders’ apartment). Our conversation shifted from the nuances of language and Porto’s most recent win to the differences between Islam and Christianity. My guard friends are primarily from Guinea-Bissau, and most of them are devout Muslims. One of them is especially zealous, and while I shared the gospel with them he shared various stories from the Koran. He was trying to get me to understand, just as hard as I wanted him to understand.
Bu sa ta pirsibi? Bu sa ta pirsibi kel kuza ki N ta fla-u?
Eu entendo sim, entendo-te.
He kept asking me in Kriol if I perceived what he said. He wanted me to internalize it, and in Portuguese I assured him I understood. I kept focus and listened to him, waiting for windows to start talking about the hope there is in Christ. In frustration he left me with one more thought, a thought to balance in my mind: How can Christianity be worth so much if it is so easy? Islam is difficult, just like mining diamonds or raising a son.
I could cry as I write this because he just wouldn’t perceive what Jesus and his sacrifice truly mean yet. It is not easy to be a Christian. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. No amount of prayer can get me to where I need to be. No amount of fasting can kill my desires enough to keep me from sinning. Accountability partner safety nets and daily quiet times will fall short of bringing me to perfection because I cannot keep from my sinful nature. That is why I need Jesus as my savior, and I have to make Jesus the one who calls the shots in my life.
But oh how I love to call the shots and get the glory from what I do. But God calls me to die to myself. My desires, my pride, and my ambition have to go away so that he might increase through my life. That is my goal, to glorify God, and to do so as completely committed. It’s easy to be a semi-devoted Christian, really easy, and that guard this past week pointed out to me that that kind of life is not worth much when considered and weighed. But, a devoted Christian, a Christian willing to take up their cross and humble themselves, one willing to teach the scriptures with authority and love that Jesus did…from my experience thus far, I can say it’s been the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.
Pray for Achada Mato, a zone here in Praia with a new church that I work in alongside Hadassah. Pray for our leaders: Txiku, Minga, Chondinho, and Ana. I am struggling to work with Hadassah and the leaders of AM humbly and effectively. I’m meditating on Micah 6:8. To do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with my God. Pray for the building up of church leaders in that community, and that the congregation, especially that recently converted believers, will be strengthened. Pray for Edson, Leida, Lite, Cynthia, and the rest of the youth group. For my team and our leaders Derek and Lauren, earnestly ask God to strengthen us, and to help us to not grow weary of doing good. That God would continue protecting us and grant us unity, and that we can serve him with all that we have through and beyond these next two powerful months. Acts 2:41-47. I serve a God who can make the deaf hear and the blind see. He can make the guards perceive. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them.
Matthew 17:20 – He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Ate o proximo,