Dear partners in the mission
we are already well into the year 2009, busy with our daily activities, many of
us might well think, with Ecclesiastes: What
does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the son?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises…
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there
is nothing new under the son… And,
even worse: So I hated life, because the
work that is done under the sun was grievous to me.
All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind…
Does Ecclesiastes leave us with this disenchanted perspective on
human life? I guess not, because he
concludes as follows: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil. Now, if we read these words in the light of the
whole Revelation, we know that keeping God’s commandments is first of all
listening to the voice of His beloved Son Jesus-Christ who fills our lives with
meaning. He alone, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can renew them and make our
daily activities meaningful within the
So, in this perspective, is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new”? After a blessed month spent in Europe, during which I developed new and old ties with partners on the mission field, and could breathe some of the cultural and intellectual climate which I sorely miss here in South Africa, I had the surprise to find an email from one of my Congolese correspondents living in Kisangani, an important city in the Central-Northern part of this huge African country: Elie T. is an evangelist attached to a local Reformed church, eager to bring the Gospel to the poorest of the poor where he lives (street children, prostitutes, AIDS stricken people…) He informs me that he recently received the visit of a delegate from a Pygmy group living in the Equatorial forest some 350 kms South of Kisangani, where no name of town or city appears on any map available. These people live from hunting and gathering, as they ancestors have been for thousand of years I guess. This envoy asked him to bring to them the ministry of Reformed Faith and Life… Now this is something new, is it not?! How on earth could a pygmy group of some five hundred people living in the most traditional way in the Equatorial forest have heard about RFL’s ministry? Well, during one of his outreach trips, Elie had previously managed to pass to them a recorded tape (as well as a tape recorder); on this tape he had recorded in the local language a message prepared by RFL, and they took it seriously enough to send a delegate who covered a distance of 220 miles on foot to come to him and ask to receive more such messages…
If there is on this planet a group of defenseless people, destitute and exposed to cruelty and exploitation, I believe that the remaining Pygmies of Central Africa are that one; to the extent that claims of genocide against them have recently been brought before the U.N., not even mentioning cases of cannibalism carried against them (some armed groups of rebels raging in the East of the DRC believe that eating their flesh has some magical powers…) Chased away from their traditional territory (this forest which supplies for all of their daily needs and is shrinking by the day due to over exploitation and the greedy search for new mineral resources), they are forced to live closer to the villages of their taller fellow Africans. The latter often misuse them as slaves, hardly compensating them for their labor.
dear partners in the mission, there is a new field of
ministry for RFL. Do you too
want to be part of it? Do you too
hear anew the commission given by our Lord Jesus-Christ to his disciples: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to
obey everything I have commanded you ?
Without your committed support and prayers, this new outreach, as well as existing ones, will be impossible to carry out. As I was recently preparing a series of radio programmes for children on the book of Daniel, I was struck to read the following passage (12:2-3): Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
Is it not our common calling, as body of Christ, to lead many to righteousness? May we one day shine together like the brightness of the heavens, like the stars, for ever and ever, to the glory of our Triune God.
In His name