Crunched into a small van without suspension, we sped across the east African countryside, slowing only to swerve around cattle and rock piles. Cultural rock music blared in our ears, and a dust cloud settled in our wake upon mud-walled huts, colorfully dressed children, and donkey-drawn carts. This was our last taste of rural Africa before boarding for our return flight to the nation’s expansive capital. We had journeyed to the country’s southern region in order to train around sixty church leaders and to visit orphans. The Spirit worked in and through us, and our hearts were moved to both grief and joy.
This was my seventh trip to this strategic nation in Africa’s Horn. This time I co-led a Word and service team with Training Leaders International, and each of the seven members sought to speak “oracles of God” and to serve “by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). We went there to give as God would lead, and he chose to let us receive more than we supplied.
From our service among orphans, I was reminded how precious every life is and how beautiful are the feet of those who love Jesus by serving the least of these (Matthew 25:40). James asserted, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). We visited one orphanage filled with young children once abandoned. In God’s great mercy, he rescued them from dying in gutters or trash cans and brought them into the loving care of Christian nannies who serve and care and clean and rock and hold with sustaining grace and gentleness that only the Spirit of Christ could supply. “No one ever comes to visit us,” they said. “Not even those from our own city know what goes on behind these walls.” Pure religion is simply to visit––any of us can do this. We often do not think about how much we can give to weary nannies by just freeing them for a few moments while we hold and pray over such precious lives created in God’s image.
I took with me four former or present Bethlehem Seminary students, and more than ever before God filled me with awe at the beauty of 2 Timothy 2:2: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I, as one man, invested in four, who now were teaching sixty, who would in turn teach hundreds. Paul says that we enjoy strength for this task “by the grace that is in Christ” and when we “remember Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1, 8). I celebrate the men God is raising up at Bethlehem Seminary. I also treasure getting to partner with them in the spread of the gospel, and I rejoice that each of them have tasted in greater ways what it means to love God and to follow him where he is going. “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him…. The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:12, 17–18).
Thank you for partnering with Bethlehem College & Seminary in prayer and financial support. Join with us in testifying how God is choosing to use a small school like ours for his global purposes (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology
Please pray that God would:
- Give our faculty, students, and supporters an increasing heart to see God’s love in Christ brought to the least in this world.
- Infuse a passion within our faculty, students, and supporters for his work among the nations.
- Move every faculty member, student, and supporter to stand as faithful senders or goers in relation to God’s work in this world.
- Help Bethlehem’s faculty faithfully instruct our students in God’s Word that they may in turn instruct faithful men and women who can teach others also.