(This is a post by Phil Spradlin, a member of last month’s team to Eburru)
“If you give me food I will be happy for a while, but after a few days that food will end up at the bottom of my latrine. If you give me clothes I will be happy for a while, but soon they will be tattered, lost or stolen. If you construct buildings I will be happy for a while, but eventually they will crumble. But if you come and give me God’s word, it will last forever.”
These were the words spoken by a Kenyan friend during Dustin, Louis, Anne, Becca and I (Phil)’s trip to Eburru, Kenya.
As we spent time in Eburru we heard the need for God’s word. We heard the need for forgiveness, truth and grace from God’s word.
The local Kikuyu tribal language does not have a word for forgiveness. As we heard stories about long time friendships that fell apart due to a trivial argument we wondered if there was a deeper reason why the language didn’t have a word for forgiveness.
Could it be that forgiveness is a new idea to many in the village?
I was asked to give the sermon to the church. While preparing Pastor Steve told me that the theme for the church in 2012 is forgiveness and restoration.
As I asked God what to speak about I heard him directing me to Luke 15, the story of two sons. One who lived recklessly but asks his father for forgiveness and is welcomed back with open arms.
As the story goes the second son is bitter and initially unwilling to forgive and welcome his brother back.
After preaching this sermon, David, a local bible college student who is volunteering at the church, told me that God lead him to preach to another church in the village on the same passage a few weeks before, confirming that God is sharing his word of forgiveness with the village.
While hanging out with friends in Eburru we heard stories about pastors at other churches not associated with David’s Hope in the area. Some of the other churches had leaders who became pastors in search of a well paying job. They didn’t have formal training on God’s word or God’s ways. Thus they taught their followers horrible lies.
Before I come down too harshly on these false teachers, I will point out that when they grew up there was little access to education on how to read.
Without God’s word pointing the people of Eburru to the unseen mysteries of God, all they see is the visible world in front of them. They see their good works, they compare their lives to those around them and conclude that they’re a good person so they’ll go to heaven.
Without God’s word to point to God’s demands for absolute allegiance to God, people won’t see that they are sinners who need a savior.
Without God’s word, people won’t hear the good news that Jesus offers them the free gift of salvation.
David’s Hope is pleased to partner with the local Kenyan Camp Brethren Ministries. We praise God that in all aspects of Camp Brethren Ministries work God’s word is central.
When Steve and Mary travel to remote areas to provide vitamins, shots and medical check-ups, they also share from God’s word. When students gather to learn English, Swahili, science, math and social studies in school they also gather to study the Bible.
When friends walk along the road or gather for dinner the conversation is full of laughter, but also time is spent asking questions about God’s word.
We praise you God that your word endures forever!