Each day I open the conference with an introduction of who we are, a bit about the ministry of Sunshine After Rain and then I tell them my name (Charlynn) and the name of my associate (Debi). They feel a bit more comfortable with her name because when they hear "Deborah" they know Deborahs, there have even been a few in the audience.
After a few more minutes of sharing I ask them what my name is. It NEVER fails. There is usually only 1 or 2 who actually stand and say "Charlynn." I give them a hug and a prize. Before I finish, I tell them the story of how I came to know the meaning of my name. I share verses from Psalm 139 and the first chapter of Jeremiah. Before I was born, God knew me (and them) and called me by name. It was a name that always embarrassed me because no one could pronounce it OR remember it. But God knew in advance, when my parents assigned me this unique name with the ancient meaning, "Encourager of Women."
Here under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, in the far and distant country known as Tanzania, I am fulfilling my "calling." We came here to strengthen and encourage the Body of Believers, especially the women; teaching of their value in a culture where they are seen as child bearers and water carriers. From the initial responses we have seen and heard it has been a successful endeavor. During these 6 days of conference, we have seen close to 700 women with 50 or so men thrown in for good measure.
"God saw what they were doing and listened in." Malachi 3:16
We have felt the presence of the Father, and tasted His good pleasure these last few days. What a treasure to be able to share and grow disciples for the Kingdom work planned here in East Africa. We have prepared "Certificates of Achievement" for each in attendance, and given the level of pride and joy they exhibit when they receive it - you would think they had been handed a degree from Harvard.
And that's just it. A Harvard or Yale Certificate means nothing to them. But to be "awarded" something that shows they have participated in a class for advancing the Kingdom, now that's another story.
"A Book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name." Malachi 3:16 The Message
The first day we arrived we asked our hosts for a sheet of material the women could sign. As they have carefully printed on the fabric, we explained this was so we could take their names with us and be reminded to pray for them. The women have been excited to know they will not be forgotten. Their names are written down, they are more than a numerical record of how many people were served in the mission field. They are individuals - with names!
Our time here is over. Luke 10 accounts of the seventy Jesus selected to go out "two by two." We know you have prayed for the Harvest, and tomorrow these "two" return having reported the joy of our work.
When the "missionaries" told Jesus all that had been accomplished, He said the real rejoicing was not their work, but His.
Seven hundred names are recorded for our remembrance of the week we spent in the villages of Tanzania. They are written for us on a simple sheet of cloth. We rejoice for the coming day when together, all of our names will be read by the Lamb
from His Book of Life.
Adding to the list with a smile!
Charlynn and Debi on the way home
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