God has unique ways of testing our hearts. Waking up was difficult, standing up was worst. Yet, we knew we had to do it for the final time on this trip. We were excited though as we knew there will be baptisms. So, we left on time to be able to reach the river where the baptisms would take place by 7:30. When we got there at around 7:45, we didn’t see anybody. We tried to ask around and were told that nobody showed up thus the church might have elected to do the baptisms elsewhere. So, we resumed our walk towards the church.
A few minutes before reaching the church, we see a huge group of people flocking and walking our way. Things were delayed a bit and they had not done the baptism yet. It meant that we had to walk back to the river with them despite our aching legs. We encouraged one another to give the extra push but also not to grumble in our hearts, as it were to be a happy occasion.
And it was. It was a joy to sing along with the church on the way to the river. It was a joy to witness these 9 people testifying of their faith in Christ and their obedience to Scripture through baptism. We then walked back to the church.
The church service was attended by around 500 people. The singing made me tear up seeing how it came from the heart. Our team did the teaching for the kids and Pastor Rija, visiting from a nearby region, preached a great sermon from Luke 9:23ff, challenging all to a genuine walk with Christ despite the cost. We then took communion together as a great way to cap off the week.
We had one last thing to do before leaving. We gathered all the pastors and church leaders and presented to them a project that Hasiniaina is piloting through which we aim to provide means for the pastor to improve their financial status. Most rural pastors are poor and survive by working the field or animal farming. It leaves them very little time to focus on the work of the ministry. I will share with you on another post about the project we are setting up to help them, using cassava to make biofuel.
They insisted that we would stay for lunch and then we finally left. We arrived at the car at around 3:30 pm and drove back to Tana for the next 8 hours.
Luke 17:10 says “when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” We have indeed done nothing special nor exceptional, but we do serve a very special and exceptional God!
To God only be the glory for everything He has done during these 4 days.