… update … Marathon … and an Africa question

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated, so I thought it was about time.  Thanks for the thoughts and conversations on repentance.  Still something I’ll continue to think about study … try to do.  I mean really, I think/convinced myself that I’ve repented … but repentance means turning away from and never going back to, and I’m not going to try to fool you, or myself for that matter, into believing that there aren’t things/areas of my life/sins that I hold onto … as much as I want to be rid of them, not sure I’ve really repented of them . . . asked for forgiveness over and over again (which I realize is ridiculous, because Jesus forgave me once-for-all), yes, repented … no.  So, I guess I find myself on this journey toward repentance…

Onto other subjects!  I’ve decided to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 11th!  I must be crazy.  But, it has been something on my life’s “to do list” that I always thought would be cool to say I’d done.  In addition, I’ll be running with a team for World Vision.  We’ll be raising money to help build clean water wells in African villages.  The marriage of the two things (the marathon, and the ministry to Africa) seemed a perfect fit for me.  So, I’ll be beginning a rather intensive training program in the next month or so for that!

After attending service on Easter Sunday, my friend Hayward said he had a question for me.  We sat down and he proceeded to ask me a question regarding my trip to Africa, and mentioned that it might be a good topic for a blog post … I agree.  I love how he thinks about things and is always searching for more information.  Many people would have just finished reading one of my updates about the trip and left it at that, but not Hayward his 80+ year old mind is continually learning and searching for more information, and that’s one of the things I love about him.   Anyway,  Hayward’s question was regrading how our group (a Christian church group) was able to show the Jesus film in these villages where the primary beliefs were from the Muslim faith.   Great question Hayward!

After I spoke with Hayward on Sunday morning, I started thinking a little more about this, and really I think the only answer is that God prepared the way for us to be able to show the film.  By no means am I an expert in the culture of Mali or the different villages in which we visited, but from my limited study and research before we went on the trip I learned that a lot of the beliefs were what were being called “folk Islam.”  Meaning that these were stories passed from generation to generation, that most of the people would probably identify themselves with that faith, but that a small percentage were actually practicing.  That being said, I think this could be one of the reasons why they were open to allowing us to show the film.  Another thing to consider is that we were in the villages for positive purposes.  We were not trying to persuade or force anyone to do anything they were uncomfortable with, and one of our main purposes being to teach them about the water filtration system helped them to see that we really did care about them and their well-being.  Culturally they were a very open and welcoming people.  Even the village that had previously not allowed the group to show the film was welcoming to our presence in the village, they just opted not to show the film there.

As a team we spent a lot of time in prayer leading up to the  trip that God would go before us and prepare the hearts and minds of the Malian people to receive the message of hope through Jesus Christ.  We prayed for men and women of peace in each of the villages, and I think the best answer to Hayward’s question might be that God had heard and answered our prayers, and that His Spirit had been at work so that the chiefs in the villages were open and willing to let us share the film.  While we were in Sebekoro we even found out from one of the chief’s sons that at some point the chief had become a believer!  God was and is definitely moving among the tribal regions of West Africa.  Thanks for the question Hayward!

Another Africa note . . . I’m finally going to be able to share with my home church this weekend about my trip!  Green Ridge Baptist Church played a large part in forming the foundations of my faith, and have consistently supported me in my ministry endeavors through my time with No Longer Quiet and most recently for this Africa trip.  It will be a sweet time of fellowship with them as I get to share the stories of what God did to reward their faithfulness to support and pray for His work in Mali!

-E

Team World Vision Video:

Jahweh, the chief in Sebekoro:

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