Tuesday, June 13, 2017

50 Years!

(repost from August 2016)

I'm getting old.  Twenty years ago, the idea of 50 years seemed ever so long.  Not so much now.  Twenty years ago some of my parents friends started to turn 50, now some of my friends are getting towards that age!  I started thinking about this because we just celebrated 50 years of Baptist work here in the Ivory Coast.  In many ways, that seems like a long time.  When I get down to the reality of what year that was, it's not so far off.  One of the ideas shared throughout the week is this will be the only 50 year celebration that the leaders of today will celebrate.  Our kids and those not yet even born will celebrate the next one.  We need to make a difference today by planting churches!

We had a wonderful week of Baptist Pride, while pastors and laymen, deacons and church leaders, church secretaries and church members of all ages joined together for a week of good teaching, fellowship, sweet times of prayer and worship and celebrating who God is and what He has done in our country over the last 50 + years.  Travel in our country is still more difficult than back in the US and trips need to be wrapped up during daylight hours, so although our country is small, we don't get out of the big city too much.  It was so great to see so many friends and fellow workers from around our country and those that we work alongside of in our city, but just don't always see.  The schedule was really hectic, so some of the hoped for moments to just talk and chat didn't happen, but we sure did a lot of neck hugging!

It was also neat and humbling to see missionaries that were here for quite some time in those earlier years.  One of my favorite couples from the week invested more than 30 years of their life here, but were gone before we got here.  They talked about watching these pastors that we know now as leaders of some of our oldest churches, come to Sunday School for the first time.  How neat to see that happen and to know that right now, we don't know who we may be talking to, teaching or working with that God will use to be leaders of the future.

We capped off the week with a huge day of celebration.  We made a nuisance of ourselves in the whole city where we were as we paraded through the city on foot and by car.  The victory cry that rang out through the city that Sunday morning was, "JUBILEE!"  The parades were paused at different moments in different parts of the city to pray that God brings deliverance to all those that have long been slaves to sin and death in that area.  It was funny to hear the reactions of those in the city.  The general consensus we heard from our car was, "We don't know where those people go to church, but we'd sure like to go, too."  Most Africans that we have met, love parades.

Sooo, come see us.  You never know when a prayer walk might break out into a spontaneous parade with a band, African dancing and...  "JUBILEE!"

With love,

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