International Ministries

Tastes Of Grace

February 29, 2004 Journal

The Nelsons continue to find joy in their ministry of teaching in DR Congo.

"You taught well today, I really understood the lesson!" commented one of the Pastoral School Students recently after a Psychology class. God is answering prayers that our teaching, in French and Kituba, become more effective.

Teenagers have fun playing "Phonie" (Telephone) during their Sunday school lesson on the power of the human tongue for good and evil, and the challenge it is to control it.

14-year old Bejo is reading!!! She has, off and on, tutored with Lynn, and now comes regularly of her own free will to "catch-up" with the rest of her 4th grade class in reading and math. Her word attack skills in Kituba are now above average, and she is able to read and understand even in the difficult Old Testament. Now we are focusing on French reading as that is the scholastic language here. Those times tables are as yet not in her head, but she loves "calcul" and seems to catch on fast to the rules of math.

A first year, middle aged student pastor's wife, who wants to get into the beginning French reading class at the Women's School, is coming to Lynn for a "crash" course so that she can read at the level of others who have been in the course for over a year. She is very eager to progress in learning to read God's word.

In the High School, Lynn has seen interest soar in the English class when she writes and tells short information pieces about current events and the history of Africa. The students look forward to Fridays when Lynn hauls in 30 books of all sorts (a small English library).

Jumping rope into the Kingdom? Offering a variety of ways that students can learn and can "shine" is a way to show that the Love of God, His welcome, His work is for all people! A woman in our graduating class has had very limited success in being able to read and write, probably due to malnutrition during infancy and childhood. But you should see her memorize long complicated songs, or jump rope to the rhythm of a Bible Verse as a way to teach the verse to children.

Conflict in the church: When our graduating class first arrived four years ago, they were gifted at memorization, but had few skills in critical thinking. In our church history class, it was EXCITING recently to see them compare and contrast a recent conflict within our LOCAL congregation with some of the conflicts between various reformers in the life of the church. Comparisons included: what were the basic "issues" of the conflict(s)? What actions/statements "triggered" the conflicts? To what extent were the issues over theology? Power? Lifestyle concerns? Practices of the church? Who specifically "had" the power? HOW and by whom were the decisions made? What were the immediate and long-term results?

These same issues face churches in the States and around the world today: how to hold to perceived "doctrinal truth/distinctives," while at the same time acknowledging diversity of interpretations. Is it ever appropriate to "rip apart" the fabric of the "body of Christ?" If we Baptists could "do it over," would we have been a better witness to the world of the uniting "love of Christ," had we never split into "north" and "south" over the issue of slavery? Jesus seemed much more comfortable than many of us, with allowing the "wheat" and the "tares" to remain together until the time when God Himself will be the judge of all persons' hearts. (Matt. 13:24ff)

In the meantime, we are all to be "known" by the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We are to: "love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who love is born of God and knows God...for God is love." (I John 4:7+8) By THIS love in action will the world know that we are Jesus' disciples, and the kingdom of God will continue to break into the old world order.

In His service,

Lynn and Virgil Nelson