Africa Recap

It was great to be back with you last Sunday!  I missed you the previous week, but my time away in Africa truly was a blessing.  Our adventure to Kenya was billed as a “band of brothers” trip, as the primary goal of this trip was to unite young pastors from around the country with the common goals of being devoted husbands, fathers, and ministers that are committed to making an impact for Christ.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” I was certainly sharpened last week as I spent time with these great men of God.

The Pastors met every night to talk life and ministry

Our group shared some amazing experiences together in Kenya.  We were exposed to significant ministry needs as we visited impoverished villages without water, orphanages and schools that are under-resourced, and saw firsthand some of the most difficult slums.  But we also got to see some of the most beautiful parts of Africa.  We spent a few days in the Maasai Mara going on safaris to observe every animal that you can think of.  It truly felt like walking through a zoo with no walls.  We even got to ride a hot air balloon over The Mara one morning and watch the wildlife wake up as the sun was rising. 

But the most powerful experiences we shared were hearing the stories of what God is doing in Africa. One evening we heard from a Kenyan named Maureen.  Maureen was raised in the slums of Nairobi but was blessed to become a graduate of Compassion International.  At a young age, she was selected to receive sponsorship through an American family who committed to support her every month.   Their generosity funded physical nourishment and formal education, but it also gave her the hope of Jesus Christ.  She explained that she came to know Christ through her time with Compassion, and then her entire family likewise came to saving faith in Jesus.  She is now married and has a family of her own, but she also launched a women’s ministry that focuses on at-risk pregnant teens.  She devotes her life to serving 12 to 14 year old girls who are pregnant from rape, incest, or prostitution.  By God’s grace, she has saved the lives of many babies, but she has also seen God save the souls of many desperate mothers.

Our group of pastors praying over Maureen

On another day we went into a Maasai village where families still live in huts with no running water.  For years, ladies in the village would walk 3 kilometers to the river to gather water alongside the hippos and crocodiles.  This all changed 4 years ago when Christians were motivated to sponsor a well in their village, so they now have clean water that is accessible just yards away from their homes.  We also visited a remarkable church in an impoverished neighborhood, and it was amazing to see over 2,000 people in attendance that day.  This particular church has become a beacon of hope for the area as they are the city’s hub for clean water.  People in the community come to the church to draw water, but many more have received the living water of Jesus Christ.  I was so encouraged to see hundreds of Kenyans waiting with anticipation for the doors of the church to open so they could come in and worship.

David reminds us in Psalm 86:8-10, “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,  nor are there any works like yours.  All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.  For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.”  Trips like this always remind us that God is doing a mighty work around the globe.  And the good news is He has invited each of us to join Him in that work.  I encourage you to consider how you can make an impact in missions this year.  Perhaps you need to participate in one of our 2022 ABC mission trips, or maybe God is leading you to give generously to our missions offerings.  I also encourage you to pray for me and our church’s leadership as we continue to seek God’s vision for our church’s role in international missions in the days to come.  There is more work to be done, and I believe God has bigger plans for ABC in the days ahead.  I encourage you join us on mission so that others “may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday.  Consider now who you can invite to join you because you never know how one simple invitation can change a life.  Have a great week, and I’ll see you this weekend.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan Spencer

Last Sunday’s Sermon: Jesus is Better – “Better High Priest” Hebrews 4:14-16

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