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Saturday, January 21, 2017

If you call yourself a “Christian”, what are you afraid of?


Welcome to our newest long-term volunteer - Bryan Throgmorton!

This is NOT a politically driven blog.  I promise.  I am a Canadian, living on a mountaintop in a tiny African Kingdom (with the last absolute Monarch in Africa), just thinking about a world filled with fear.

Today I am speaking to people who would call yourself a “Christian” or a “follower of Jesus”.  What are you afraid of today and why are you afraid?

Did you know that there are 365 references in the bible that we are to “fear not” or “not be afraid”?  I find it an interesting ‘coincidence’ that it’s the same number as days in the year.  We are reminded each and every day that we are not to be afraid. Why? Because God has a plan and His plans are better than our plans.  We may not understand His plans, we may not agree with His plans, but He is God, and we are not.

I can’t tell you how many people have confessed to me that their biggest fear when they became a Christian was that God would send them to Africa.  And while many of them were saying it tongue-in-cheek, there was a hint of truth in their confession.

But here I am, writing this blog in Africa.  And I am not afraid.  I do not fear snakes, or spiders, or fundraising (or lack of fundraising), or government official visits, or surprise police visits, or receiving three babies in a day, or HIV/AIDS, or multiple drug-resistant TB.  No, I am not Superwoman, and believe me, I have my own “stuff”, but I don’t struggle with fear, so I find myself talking with others about it frequently. 

On January 11th I read a shocking, yet wonderful devotion by Oswald Chambers. He explains, “If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything— it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, “You call this Christianity?” We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.”

I believe that the reason I have no reason to be afraid is because I am being obedient in my actions, and so my obedience is rewarded with delight. I AM FAR FROM PERFECT (ask my husband or children – or don’t!), but I am intentional in my desire to do what HE wants me to do.  If you are being obedient to the Lord in your daily walk with Him, then you should not be afraid of anything.   

This week we welcomed two new long-term volunteers named Leanna McKnight and Bryan Throgmorton.  Leanna is here for a year as our Kindergarten teacher and Bryan has moved in to the Emseni boys dorm as our Program Director.  While they have not shared this with me, I have no doubt that they have family and friends who did not want them to move because they were afraid, for them, and/or for themselves.  But they put their own fears aside (if they even had any) and said YES.


I have no doubt that Leana and Bryan will be filled with delight in the days and months ahead because of their obedience. I know that our children and our staff will benefit in such a mighty way because of their obedience.  Please join us in praying for peace, strength and for His delight (joy) for these volunteers and all of our other long-term volunteers.   

As you deal with your own fears this week and maybe the fear of the unknown (and while you give thanks that you weren’t called to live in Africa!), please rest in the truth of the scripture from Isaiah 41:10 (Amplified) that says,

 Do not fear anything, for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with
my righteous right hand,
a hand of justice,
of power,
of victory,
of salvation.

Live from Swaziland … delighting in rain this week!

Janine

For those of you who heard about Deborah's surgery, she is home and doing very well.  Apparently learning how to drive today before her 4th birthday.


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