The sweat rolled down our cheeks. Our carefully couiffed hairdos soon wilted in the sweltering humidity. The boiling hot coffee wasn't helping to keep our core temperature in check. We finally got relief when we walked outside of the church office.
"Ahhh, a cool breeze, I was dying in there!" We said in unison. And as quickly as we made the exclamation, we both looked at each other and realized 86 degrees with high humidity is nothing compared to Texas, where the weather is still over 100 degrees!
When we left Texas a week ago the consecutive number of days (31) ranked #2 for the all time record. Each day since our arrival I have received an alert from The Weather Channel set to my area. Like a broken record it reads, "Heat Advisory in Effect, take caution...be aware...prepare yourself..."
Charlynn Johns and Debi Slaver arrived in Zanzibar praying to be more than a "Heat Advisory" (although I assure you the Bible specifically mentions hell as a lake of fire, burning hot.) We are here to encourage and equip the women to endure the fiery trials of the enemy but also to follow the advice of Jude 23 and "snatch them (their Muslim neighbors) from hell."
Today we taught about identity in Christ. The God who calls them by name. We spoke of love; loving God, loving themselves and then loving others. Those are "feel good" things to teach. But when the time came for questions and answers...
A woman stood and speaking quickly in Kiswahili told her story and asked the relevant, and in game show terms "The $64,000 question.
"How can I show love when my Muslim neighbors are trying to burn my house down for using it as a church? I am sneaking the children out after dark in case they try and kill us at night...?"
As facilitator of the discussion I quickly pointed out our cultural differences. I pointed out our skin color (they laughed at my white skin like a glow worm!) Why or how would I have something relevant to say to this obviously frightened woman? I internally ask myself that quite a few times. Who am I?
Who am I? Was actually the theme of my topic. I have the authority, because it has been given to me by Christ! I have the wisdom through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and I can "bet the farm" because I walk through the valley of the shadow of death to lead me beyond a shadow of a doubt -
God is who He says He is!
If I explained my "Boat moment" of mounting debt crisis and lack of ministry funding, she might just slap me for comparing the two. "Lady you are comparing some finances to my HOUSE being burned down and my children possibly being burned alive to your silly American mess you have got yourself into?"
Don't alarm yourselves. We did not have this confrontation. But at any given time no matter who you are, what your are fretting, panicking, acting on hard core facts of imminent danger none of that changes the fact the God IS GOD.
Here's the mystery:
"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church... If ONE part hurts, EVERY OTHER PART IS INVOLVED IN THE HURT
and in the healing.". 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 The Message
We didn't come to fight their neighbors or convince those torch-weilders the house used as a church is a good thing. We are not here as negotiating lawyers, or medical doctors to heal their ailments. We are here representing the Body of Christ (that would be you) to preach Christ and Him crucified.
When we walked outside of a hot room on the other side of the world, we immediately thought of our "brothers and sisters" in the deadly heat affecting the southwest. But can you tell me, when you walked out into that deadly heat, did you think of the 900,000 people of Zanzibar who will perish in ETERNAL heat? Did your discomfort cause you to think about those who right now tonight are sneaking their children out a back door through the village to keep them from being burned alive just because a church meets in their home?
Their is a heat advisory here in Zanzibar. The heat may come after people die under the false doctrine, the heat may come through the persecution of the believers. One thing is certain, this is no "greenhouse effect"! My personal flames flare when I listen to the enemy tell me I am not enough, I am too weird, way too white, and extraordinarily tall by compare.
"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:16-17
Pray for the equipping of the saints! Enter into the sufferings, bear their burdens and thus fulfill the law! Pray for extra-ordained days.
God is who He says He is!
Carrying the fire hose
With a smile