A few weeks ago and I wrote and told you that one of our workers, Timothy, was beaten by a gang of criminals. The bottom line is these guys are against what Timothy and our team is doing. We are seeking to plant a church in the heart of a very poor township called Masiphumelele.
The guys who attacked Timothy smashed a beer bottle in his face, beat him with their fists and kicked him when he was able to break through the circle they made around him and get away.
Timothy is doing well. There is a picture of Timothy to the left, holding one of the children of a couple on our team. Timothy has been a model and inspiration to our team of courage, faith and sacrifice. Timothy lives among the poor. He is a humble man. He lives by faith, loves people and has a great sense of humor. Timothy loves sports; he is discipling some guys he plays basketball with.
Timothy is an example of the incarnational vs attractional principle of missions that we try to follow. We believe as much as possible we should live and work among people, going to them and not expecting them to come to us. This is what Jesus did for us. He stepped into our world. He invites us to do the same for others: "...as the Father sent me, so I send you..."
There was power in the incarnation. There was no compromise in what Jesus did, but there was humility is coming close to people in their sin. The power of being with people, of simple friendship, is extraordinary. It touches us when we realize that Jesus enjoys being with us. It affirms us and adds great dignity and significance and hope to our lives. And we do the same for others when we are "incarnational" in our lifestyle.
But Jesus was on a mission. He had an agenda. God sent His son to save people from their sin. Hanging out for the sake of hanging out misses the point. God sends us just as certainly as He sent Jesus. We are to go to them, enjoy them, like them for the pure pleasure of enjoying who God has made them to be, but we are also to take Jesus with us into every conversation and every friendship.
Without knowing it, Timothy embodies the principle of incarnation. He is very holistic. He is fully human and at the same time fully dedicated to the purposes of God.
Please pray for Timothy. He is on the verge of a break through. The guys he is discipling are close to making commitments to Christ. A simple church is being formed through his involvement with them. When it happens, well, you can be sure I will let you know!