I just received a message from Raymond on his way back from a weekend in Mozambique. Four churches were started with over a 150 new believers just two months ago. Raymond went back to encourage the believers and to appoint leaders. That is not particularly unusual news in Africa, but it is unusual when the people are disciples not just decisions.
Actually, these simple churches were birthed in SORROW. Raymond went home to Mozambique to plant a church in his birth-village. You see, Raymond was an orphan. His parents died when he was 1 year old. Or so he thought.
That was 30 years ago. Raymond returned to his birth-village only to find out that his family was alive. Raymond's father had simply decided to give him away. He discovered his whole life was built on a myth, a lie. He discovered things about his father that he didn't want to know. Raymond was shattered, heart-broken. He was consoled by his team members. He spent weeks grieving.
Meanwhile the team carried on. They persevered without him. His wife, Delina, 18 year old Thandi, and young Petrus and Eric were soldiers, going hut to hut, traveling on harrowing roads to outlying villages, leading people to Christ, gathering the new believers in Bible studies, and teaching them the basics of simple church life. Older papa Abram stayed with Raymond to comfort him, to steady his shaky world.
Raymond came through. The team grew. And four new churches were born.
So... to hear from Raymond that he is encouraged, that he went back home and is coming back excited, well, I'm deeply moved. And grateful. And confirmed to keep on pouring my life into young men like Raymond.
Raymond leads our work in Limpopo, the northern part of South Africa. It is men like Raymond and his young band of disciples that are the hope of Africa. They live sexually pure lives, a miracle in Africa today. They openly share about AIDS/HIV and how to prevent it, they care for widows and orphans, and they disciple others to follow in their footsteps. Raymond and Delina, Eric, Petrus, Abram and Thandi attended CPx, our leadership school. They learned they could start simple churches. They are on fire now.
Thanks for caring, for standing with us in our work in Africa.
Floyd and Sally
P.S. TEN DAYS FOR JESUS .... If you are between 18 and 30 years of age, join us for TDJ - Ten Days for Jesus - December 5-15, Cape Town. A multi-cultural, awesome outreach of prayer, worship, teaching and serving the poor. Give away ten days for Jesus, won't you? If you are interested, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.