B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 112
Pastor Angowi leads the LCEA. The Lutheran Church in East Africa consists of pastors and congregations who left the large Lutheran church in Tanzania. They saw clearly the errors and consequently withdrew. There are others who are investigating the LCEA. We pray more men will see the error of ordaining women among other false teachings in the large Lutheran church. Last year a pastor joined and this year also. While so many consider only the organization and external things, these men looked at the Word and followed it.
When eight men graduate from St. Peter’s Seminary in Himo, Tanzania in November 2009 the LCEA will nearly double its workforce. Since many of the pastors now are older, this will be a boost to assisting and replacing men who are now serving faithfully.
The farthest stations are in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. Not long ago several Muslims converted to Christianity at our Dodoma congregation. The congregation also supports thirty orphans a number of whom are Muslim. We rejoice with our brothers in this outreach to Muslims and pray that more may be reached.
As with any young church there are growing pains. Just as with a child growing, so with the living organism of the church. God’s hand has been seen over and over again as difficulties are met with in faith and turning to the Lord in prayer.
A new hymnal has now been completed in typeset and is to be printed with a first run of 500 copies. We pray that this will assist the members to sing His praises mightily.
With the eight graduates of next November we are concerned as to how we can help them, since the congregations are so small to support a pastor. As in our many sister churches we will be granting self-help loans. These will be repaid into a revolving fund which will assist other pastors also. It is of course critical in all of our sister churches that the loans be repaid as non-repayment hurts a brother who is waiting for a loan.
I am sure that as time passes we will see more men go through the five year program at the seminary and come forth to do His work. As Luke writes repeatedly in Acts, so may His Word today grow and increase and numbers of believers be multiplied.
Pastor Jeremiah leads this church of 2332 souls in Tanzania and Kenya. They also have work in Uganda which he visits several times a year. This church has seen growth in the last year both in members and in understanding of the Word.
We are continuing Bible distribution as well as with catechisms. We will be buying 150 Masai catechisms for the Masai district(one of four districts). There is also roofing help we are considering for these people to enable them to move under better shelter for worship and study. Now they meet either under trees or in very cramped spaces in houses. Among the Masai perhaps one in ten believe in the Lord, making this a field in which we are vitally interested to bring people in from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Muslims are also very active to convert the Masai to Islam. We rejoice that one whole district (14 stations) of the CLCEA are Masai.
Some other pastors are investigating our sister church to see if they agree and what we teach from the Word. Two of these men attended our recent joint pastoral conference. This conference was hosted this year in Arusha, Tanzania by Pastor Jeremiah. Pastor Jeremiah also makes several trips a year to Kampala, Uganda to assist in outreach there with one congregation which has studied our teachings and has been given the catechism. Some others in Uganda we thought would join with us, but have not due to differences.
Our sister churches in East Africa have contacts and congregations that overlap each other. But in Christian freedom we continue to operate and see there is plenty of work and opportunities without becoming overly concerned about geography or organization. Our now annual joint pastoral conference is an effort to have our men meet together and discuss and understand each others efforts for Him as well as study that blessed Word of God together. It is the Word that is alive and active and makes us so.
In Jn. 4:7-42 we have an exciting drama. A soul hung in the balance. It is an incident out of every day life. A similar incident could easily be repeated in your life right now. We approach this section to learn how our great Rabbi did it. What follows is a study outline.
vv.7-8 It all began with the need for a drink of water. Did our Lord need a drink? As you read it does it seem like a real thing? Yes. There was a real need in the woman. And our Lord used His real need for a drink of water to approach this woman. Thus in our ongoing life the opportunities arise. Our Lord could and would use such. He asked in order to lead into the water of life. The Lord has told us he will make us fishers of men. We do not stand on the seashore and hold the net and whistle for the fish to scurry on shore and jump into our net. We launch out into the deep and cast the net. Were we to stand on the shore and hold the net a few flying fish might land in our net. We go to where the fish swim and frolic in order to catch them.
vv.9-19 She wasn’t searching for truth, though the Lord was searching for the sinner. There is no blatant evidence in the narrative that whe was hungering and thirsting after righteousness, nor do most today. The Lord does not hesitate to deal with sinners, those who one could never expect to become pillars in the church. Here is a great Teacher with an ordinary woman. Here is the full Jew with a half-breed Samaritan. Here is the upright and holy Man with a repetitious sinner. So dreadfully often we miss the opportunity(open door) that the Lord never missed because our thinking is not clear. It is befuddled by sin.
Each of us develops our physical skills as we grow. We learned to turn over, then to crawl, then to walk and finally to run. So alswe we develop our witnessing skills. We dare not use the excuse that the door is closed. We listen to our Lord to learn how to develop the skill of turning from earthly to heavenly things in our talk, and from the mundane to the glorious, from the admittedly petty to the life-changing.
vv.19-26 It is not a matter of coming to the temple, synagogue or church, but of coming to Him. Here is the Lord and His Word and the hearer brought to faith. This situation canbe repeated many times in our daily lives. To grasp the concept of the ‘open door’ we need to fight against limiting our most holy faith. It is not just for the set apart, holy special times. Is there a waking moment that you are not Christ’s? We need to put down the devil’s attempts to distract us. One there is for whom I am living. In Him I live and move and have my being. I strive to make speaking of Him as natural as breathing.
vv.27-30 One would not have expected this! The disciples marveled not that the woman believed, but that Jesus talked to her! They hd yet much to learn about the open door of witnessing opportunity. She who was not looking for the Christ was sought out and found by Him and won by the Word. She is so excited that she hurries back to town leaving her water jar!
vv.31-42 The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Word. The city was breached not by a vast military host bearing battering rams and siege equipment, but by a single woman entering the gate with the Good News in her heart and on her lips. EVen more results were forthcoming from the city. We are born to multiply, born of water and the Word to propagate the saving faith. If the concept of the open door is clear we will seek to duplicate what our Lord did at Jacob’s Well and to replicate the apostle in thought and act. “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” 2 Cor. 10:3-5
Read Lk. 14:15-24. There still is room! There still is time! “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes” and bring them in. “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that…”His house may be filled. The door to the great banquet hall is open to them. Before you also is a wide door, the wide door of opportunity to hearald Him and His atoning sacrifice.
As Paul prayed, “that God may open to us a door for the Word…” Col. 4:3, so let us pray. God answered Paul’s prayer for such an opportunity in his Roman imprisonment. “I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak the Word of God without fear.” Phi. 1:12-14. May it be so with us also.