HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsJanuary 9th Commisioning Service - Transcript of Saskia's talk

January 9th Commisioning Service - Transcript of Saskia's talk

Before I speak, let me pray –

Dear Lord, thank you for the opportunity to share today here at St Philips, please God speak through me, help me to be clear in all I say and open the ears and hearts of those who hear............ Amen

When I think of the phrase ‘mission minded’ I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the first person that comes to mind in that category. I feel quite humbled to be up here speaking to you about mission.  I have always been aware that we at St Philips have sent out missionaries over the years. I have always enjoyed hearing their news when they have come to speak. I have even taking their postcards and put them on my fridge, but to say I have been intentional in my support, both financially and in prayer would be remiss. This past 18 months has certainly changed my view.

When I think about what Rob and I are doing this year, I feel like we are just an ordinary family, trying to live a Christ like life and God has called us to do that in Tanzania in 2011. We feel that God has equipped us to go and serve the people of Murgwanza by showing Christs love in action.

And so we go…. next Monday we fly out for 12 months to live and work and school our boys in Murgwanza, Tanzania.  Murgwanza is a rural village in the NW corner of Tanzania near the Rwandan border.

Murgwanza is the headquarters for the Anglican Diocese of Kagera. In ,Murgwanza is a hospital and nursing school, the cathedral, diocese offices and a bible college.

I will be teaching in the nursing school along side Nigel Klein a long term CMS missionary from SA. And Rob will be working for the diocese assisting with IT management and computer education. The boys will attend NAPS, Ngara Anglican Primary School probably three days a week and we will home school the other two days.

While these are the roles we have been given to get a residency visa we are open to whatever needs there are for us to do. Rob is very handy and happy to build, dig, teach trades whatever. Similarly I am happy to do anything particularly health care related but anything I can to be of assistance both to the long term missios and the locals.

We do not go out alone, apart from the Holy Spirit we also go out with you in partnership with us. Just as Paul wrote in Phillipians 1:3-5 ‘I thank God everytime I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

Paul was referring to how the Phillipians helped him in his ministry.  The Philipians helped Paul practically so he could serve. You have already been so generous with your financial support. We ask that you will continue to support us while we are away. We ask that you will pray for us so we can carry on our work in Murgwanza.

You can follow us on our website, where you can also sign up for our monthly newsletter that will be emailed to you. It will include our news and prayer points.

But how did we get to this point? Through much prayer and reading of Gods word and talking with wise Christian friends. It has been a journey, a journey of faith and fellowship and learning. But we feel confident that this is Gods desire for us this year and we are going to be in a place he has prepared us to be doing the work he wants us to do.

We can have assurance of this from the bible. I want to look at the passage Robs read for us Deut 10:12-22…didn’t he get the easier of the two gigs!!

In Deut Moses is speaking to the Israelites and telling them what it is God expects of them and this is the same things he expects of us today.  I will read it again:

12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

This is what Rob and I and the boys are trying to do everyday, we could be doing it here or in Tanzania, but the important thing is that it is done; that we live everyday with Christ at the centre of our lives.

So we must:

1.     Fear God, not as a scary scary kind of fear but out of reverence and respect.

2.     Walk in all his ways – follow Him, take up your cross and follow him in all you do and say

3.     Love Him -  just as he loved us we must love him and love others

4.     Serve Him with all your heart and soul in all we do, we must be doing it for Christ

5.     Observe His commands which are basically the things above.

Moses goes on to say that the Lord God is the Lord of all and yet he chose us to be his descendants. He is the mighty creator of all things and He calls on us to love and serve Him and each other.

14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

And so we are to submit to Christs love so we too can truly love Christ and others and to serve Christ and others. When your heart is in the right place it will be easy to do.

Finally Moses again states what is it the Lord wants of us;

20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Fear the Lord God and serve him. We can show our love and respect for Christ by loving and serving others. It is our hope that by doing the work that we do in Murgwanza in health and IT or whatever the Lord has installed for us that we will be showing Christs love.

We know that God can perform great and awesome wonders and already this past year during this time of preparation we have experienced great blessings. We have met some wonderful people and grown in faith in many ways. We have been encouraged and supported by fellow believers in Christ. We have seen the fruits of the labours of others both here and abroad. And time and again we have felt Gods assurance that this is his plan for us.

One such time of great fellowship was in September last year as part of our training for Tanzania Rob and I attended a MIST Weekend in Penrith. This is a 3 day Missions Interlink Service Training weekend from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon and it is full on. It’s not one of those house party weekends with a couple of morning sessions and hours of free time. Each day you must dress in the chosen culture for the day and eat that cultures food and behave in a manner fitting of that culture. So on Saturday when it was Middle Eastern the women were in burkhas and were not permitted to speak to the men. The women needed to serve the men food and those who were married had to follow behind their husbands. It was quite an intense weekend, but also an amazing time of fellowship and growth for both Rob and I. We met some fantastic people who were also preparing to go out and serve from all walks of life. The youngest I think was 20 through to the more mature adult. We were preparing to serve from 1 month to 14 months in all parts of the world doing all sorts of things.

During that weekend we studied quite a large passage from the book of Luke more specifically Luke 9-10:23. There were a couple of things from that passage that really struck me and I want to share with you today. Hopefully they will give you a new perspective on mission and the concept of stepping out in faith and going out to serve.

Firstly Luke 9:1-6 Jesus is speaking to the apostles and preparing them to go out and minister on their own. Jesus gives them the power and authority to heal the sick and preach the good news of Christ. Now normally when you go out on a journey you need to pack and arrange where you will stay and what you will eat, but Jesus says to them in verse 3 – “Take nothing for your journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”

Rely on God, he will provide all your needs and guide your path. Go out and teach and heal, the message is spiritual and practical. It is no good preaching the word if people are sick or have no where to live. We must care for everybody as a whole we must love them and serve them. Also we can only tell them of Christ, how they respond is up to them and God.

The second passage from Luke we studied on our weekend. Luke 10: 1-23 instructing us to go out and proclaim the gospel, taking the gifts and skills God has given us and go equipped with Gods power and vision. Here is the well know verse 10:2 ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’ There is always work in Gods kingdom to be done and anyone can do it with Gods power and provision. Travel overseas is not for all, bible teaching is not for all, but we all can have a role. Everyone can pray, none of this work can be done without prayer. Luke goes on to sayAsk the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.’

We must pray, recruit and equip for others to join the work and to support those already in the work. And so Rob and I have prayed and others I know have prayed for us and we thank you for your prayers.

This is Gods work not ours and we want to glorify his name in all we do.

I won’t deny there have not been days where it has all seemed too much and I have wondered if perhaps God has got it wrong or we have misheard his plans for us.

For those of you who know me well, I am a bit of a homebody. I have never really travelled expect to NZ and Fiji. I think the longest I have ever been away from home is about 3 ½ weeks. I grew up in South Turramurra and went to school in South Turramurra. When I went to uni, I travelled to Lindfield and that was a big deal. When I told my brother, who lives in Canada that I was going to go and live in Africa for a year, his response was ‘You know you have to cross the Harbour Bridge to get there Sas!’ So this has taken a huge leap of faith for just me to go, let alone packing up my house a husband and three sons.

Again however there have been no shortages of assurances from the bible and our friends.

Whenever the planning and the packing and endless lists of things to do have overwhelmed me - which was very often I would draw comfort from Proverbs 3:6

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.’

Truly I have found a peace through my faith in Christ, I truly feel I can say with confidence…do not worry and trust in the Lord.

Then just when I am feeling super confident and blessed that the Lord has it all in hand we get a curve ball thrown at us. On Thursday night we received an email from the Kleins in Murgwanza the long term family who we will be working closely with. A family member is very ill and they are going to return to Australia for 6 weeks. They are leaving on the 29th January, we may not get there before they have to go. The other long termers are on home leave and so this is a big deal.

Surprisingly, I didn’t fall in a heap, but truly felt at peace that God has a hand in this and he is in control.

All we need to do is

1.     Fear God

2.     Walk in his ways

3.     Love him and others

4.     Serve him and others

5.     And obey his commands

We can also pray, pray for the Kleins and their return to Australia, pray for our final goodbyes, pray for our travel and journey and praise God that he has chosen us to do this work for him and pray that we can bring glory to his name in all we do and say both here and in Murgwanza. So lets do that now.

Please pray with me now,

Lord thank you that you are a loving God, thank you that we have your word to guide us. Thank you that we can pray to you with confidence and we know that you hear our prayers and will answer them in your perfect timing. Thank you that we know that you are faithful in your promises and Thank you Lord that we can Trust in you and help us to obey you in all we do.......... Amen

 

Time Difference

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much: it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.~

Franklin D. Roosevelt
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