I just returned to Fargo and am still attempting to process my journey to Mozambique. Before I go much further, I have to commend Master’s Heart Ministries, which, I am convinced, is one of the most genuinely effective ministry partners I have ever worked with. If you wish to know more about Master’s Heart Ministries, please click here. Now, back to my initial thoughts about the journey.
Let me put it simply: I will be at the end of the line. “What line,” you ask? That line that stretches away from the Throne of God, that line of the redeemed who, by God’s sheer grace, shall be receiving their crowns for their faithfulness. I will be at the end of the line, near the back. People like Carlos Giua and Kees Tanis and their wives and children will be toward the very front, receiving more reward from our Father than I can comprehend. We evangelicals in the states have this impression that the Triune God has a special love affair with us and that we are the center of the Christian universe. As I am reminded regularly when I travel the globe for Kingdom-work, we are most naive. The intense concentration of Kingdom-work done in seemingly tiny pockets of the world, like in the Gondola, Mozambique region, is frankly mind-boggling. That’s not to say fruitful things do not happen in America. It is to simply offer that America is not the only place, contrary to our conventional thinking, and that, indeed, there may be far more fruit in unheard-of and unseen places that we will ever appreciate.
Take for example Kees Tanis’ development of the only care center for physically disabled men and women in the entire country of Mozambique. There is nothing like it. Read what he has to say about this: One of our weekly outreaches are the handicapped people in the town of Gondola. They are the most forgotten group, most rejected as they are on the streets begging for something to survive on. Often they are abused by families or used in prostitution so little future or hope for a handicapped person. They are made in the image of God, they have a soul; emotions, mind and will and are no different to any of us. But through the unimaginable rejection they have been seriously wounded and are in need of restoration and healing. Jesus came to set the captives free, to bring redemption and so as followers of Christ we are called to bring change to the situation of this group.
Mozambique is generally so poor that people of this level of need are utterly ignored. But in Jesus’ name Kees and his team have made a difference, taking hold of the very least of Mozambique’s society and overwhelming them with the love of the Savior.
Or consider Carolos Giua’s work with the orphans in the region. Read what he has to say about this: Rubatano delivers care to 1,200 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in these 18 communities. On a weekly basis they deliver three essential services: food, health care, and access to education. These children also receive training in vocational and life-skills, as well as individualised care and attention through the home visits. Every three months an ‘Orphan Day’ is hosted at each of the sites. This is a time when all the orphans in the area come together for teaching and sharing of food, fun and games. Volunteers make frequent visits to the OVC’s. Many of these orphans encounter abuse and marginalization in their communities. The twice-weekly visits by the volunteers increase their self-worth as well as their worth in the eyes of the community.
The fact is both Kees and Carlos attend to so much more than these things that are mentioned. For instance, Kees also cares for orphans and Carlos also cares for the disabled and home bound. But that is part of my point: they are engaged in many highly strategic and life-transforming opportunities throughout the realm in which the Lord Jesus has placed them. And they are attending to these things with extraordinary grace from the Lord, and the fruitfulness is captivating.
Guys like these, and many others, will be near the front of the line, receiving their rewards, earning the applause of Heaven, while I with all of my American evangelical ego-centricism will be watching from the rear, rejoicing that far more has gone on in the name of Jesus beyond my own little world than I have ever appreciated.