Keep on Steppin

Last week I mentioned the advertisement that talks about the millions of steps we take in a lifetime, followed by the quote by Hugh Jackman, “However, it’s not the number of steps that matters; it’s where they take you.”

I thought about that statement at one of the churches we visited in Fiji the other day. It was in Suva, the capitol city of the country. We were met and carted around by a wonderful man who had served as Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Relations, as well as Ambassador to both Papua New Guinea and then Japan.  We had a lot of fun with him and his wife talking about all their experiences “in the service”.

But the real thrill was watching him talk about evangelism.  He’s just retired from the government, and is finding plenty of work to do with the churches around the country. He’s even helped start a new one in his home, made up mostly of international students from all over Asia and the South Pacific.

As he talked about these students, you could see the passion in his eyes. He and his wife have a lovely home, which of course is open all the time to students. The large living room was dominated by a huge white board completely filled with Bible study notes from a recent gathering. Wherever we wanted to sit, we’d have to move stacks of Bibles and other teaching materials first.

Downstairs, an Asian man with an interesting story lives in this former ambassador’s office, books and papers moved aside to accommodate a small cot in the corner. I mentioned him in a blog a few weeks ago, recalling that he had been swindled out of an enormous fortune and had been left high, dry and penniless. Unwilling to return to his homeland in shame, he is now staying here, rent free, devoting his time to learning more about the faith that is so obvious throughout the home. He has already made a profession of faith in Jesus as his Savior, and is now working through the Bible to learn more about his new Lord and Master.

Hearing about this man’s “ baby steps”, and how the family has taken him in, fed him and showed him a reason to hope, I couldn’t help but feel myself shrinking in horror and ‘concern about my own safety’ as that Pharisee would have who passed by on the other side, rather than take a chance to see the potential of this man and reach out to be part of such a classic blessing.

The ambassador says he’s teaching the unfortunate man “English, manners, and how to apply for a job”.  I had to marvel at the possibilities I was seeing right here before me. As this man pulls up from the rough patch that he’s been thrown into, I can just imagine him growing as a Christian, learning to love and forgive, and someday, Lord willing, returning home to family and friends with a message in his heart worth far more than the fortune he came with. And … as a bonus, when he does go home, it will be to a place where traditional missionaries could never hope to go. What a blessing in the making!

This home church has grown and is now meeting on Sundays down the road at a Korean church. They start the worship service at 7:00 am, in order to be finished before the Koreans arrive at 8:30 for services that will last the rest of the day and probably into the night.

When you enter the sanctuary, you can’t help but notice that the front wall of the sanctuary is covered with a huge mural of the world.  Superimposed over the world is a lot of bold Korean lettering.

The ambassador-become-pastor said to Tony. “I’ve pointed out to the Korean pastor that even though I can’t read Korean, I know what it says because there at the bottom I see, “28:19-20”. Laughing, the Korean pastor said, “And now all you have to remember is the first word: ‘GO’”

Isn’t that true of the great commission?  All Jesus was saying was “Go”.  In any and every language! I spent the rest of the day thinking, “What does ‘Go’ really mean?”

And I’ve decided that it means, “move outside yourself”.  You can ‘GO”, as we did, to Fiji, or you can ‘GO’ next door, you can “GO” to someone in your family, someone right on the couch beside you………… It’s just that simple.

And even though Jesus wasn’t specific, in the “going” you receive a huge blessing, so that makes it worth the trip don’t you think?

We had a lovely time in Fiji and accomplished our goals to help in the ministry, do some writing and then some relaxing.  We returned safely and started on the doctor visits. I will meet with the specialist this Wednesday to try and find out why my body chemistry seems to be bouncing all over the place, but I’m not too concerned.

Tony, on the other hand, has already been once and told to go back this next Thursday for an MRI because the doctor feels “pretty certain” that his prostrate has turned cancerous. We’ll hold off on that until we know more, but in the meantime we do appreciate your prayers. It is of some comfort that so many of you have already walked this road, but still, it’s a bit hard (I’m guessing) for the ‘invincible man’ part in him.

As Tony says, “Now it’s time to live what we’ve been preaching: know that the Lord is the last Word in all things. He’s put us on this road, and in His will, in His time, He will take us off it and on to be with Him.”

Until that time, Praise the Lord for the journey!

Keep on steppin,

Marsha

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