Posted in Missions of LIFE

REAL Missionaries

In some past years our church and church family have hosted  missionaries/ preachers/ teachers from other countries, such as South Africa and China as they attended a mini seminary through out the summer months. This mini seminary course was inspired by a good friend and great man of God, who has a purpose to do for others, by equipping them to spread God’s word. The goal to equip these with the tools to reach others, in their countries, with God’s word.

Tony Reddy, from Durban South Africa was one of the ‘students’ who came to America to be ‘taught’. I have told of Tony Reddy before, in this blog. (Please take the time to read)  I believe that Tony  was not brought into my country, my town, my church, my life so that he could learn how to be a good missionary. I know he was brought so that I, we, could learn what it is to be a true missionary of God.

Since meeting Tony here in Midland God has given us more opportunity, to learn from Him, from him. Keith had opportunity to go to Zambia and go with Tony on one of his many, many  missions..  Then we both made a trip to South Africa, me to help equip a group of women to facilitate a course, and Keith to help equip Tony with a vehicle and equipment to present God’s word to the people in the ‘bush’ of South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, . The last time we saw Tony we were in Lusaka, me again teaching to facilitate. This time with Tony’s daughter Charlene, who herself a great missionary, and to other women from churches Tony planted and grew through the years.  Keith as a chaperone of sorts for we women traveling, and to teach with Tony to some men, and to come along side Tony, and be a comrade in arms, so to speak.

Tony travels by himself sometimes, but usually with others to assist him. To cook, to unpack and set up camp and the meeting area. Someone to help him minister to the sick, physically and spiritually.  Tony’s family has been his travel mates most of the time. Sushi his wife. Charlene is his oldest, she is married and has a son, of her own, he is about 2. Shubael is his son, he is about the same age as my Evan, 23ish.  Tony has a younger son also, that I have not met, he too has made some trips with the family. Charlene and Shubael have recalled childhood memories to me, of travel, sleeping in the bush, on the side of the road, in one room churches on the dirt floors, fond memories. Sushi, Tony’s wife cooked meals for her family and the many that would come to hear Tony share Gods word with them. Their few fish that they bought on the side of the road would feed hundreds. 

This ministry does not sell tickets, nor meals. They do not pass the plate at their meetings. Tony does not have a video series he sells to fund his trips. Tony will travel for days to reach a destination he has heard of through the African grapevine that is needing for the Truth to  be revealed them. Tony makes at least bi annual trips to churches he has built, in the bush, to ensure all the now believers are cared for, to feed them physically and spiritually.  The funds Tony receives is sometimes a chicken, or the invitation to sleep on the floor of the church he previously built, or to sleep in the home of one of the pastor of the church, and possibly meals there.

For the past few years Shubael has been Tony’s right hand man, when he was not attending school or having trouble with the symptoms of his Juvenile Angiofibroma. Trouble being excessive, like days of, nose bleeds.  A Juvenile Angiofibroma is a benign tumor .  Usually these things are taken care of before one reaches Shubael age, if in the US, where we don’t have socialized medicine, yet.It has taken literally years, several doctors, some weird ‘class’ issues, some medical fails but now it looks like Shubael will have surgery soon, maybe in about 5 days. Praise God.

Shubael, is more than the bus boy for Tony, he has grown into a missionary himself. Shubael plays soccer, and has taken that interest into the mission field. He teaches soccer, attracts the young boys with the game of soccer and then presents the gospel. His goal is salvation. I had opportunity in the Lusaka trip to be with Shubael, to watch him work with his father.Shubael is a godly young man, he respects his father, and loves God. Shubael does not sit back and wait for his father to tell him what to do next, or go find him to help out, he was always doing WITH his father. I had to remind myself often that Shubael was only 22. Shubael having a tumor was not something I even knew of until we were a week into our trip, when Tony mentioned as Shubael was on top of the truck tying down equipment that Shubael had  another nose bleed the night before, as Shubel was on top of the truck tying down the equipment.  I have a headache it takes me 2 days to get back in gear and load the dishwasher.

Tony and Sushi will be accompanying Shubael as he has his surgery and recovery in Cape Town, about 1000 miles,/19 hour drive, from their home in Durbin. Of course they will be there, nothing would keep a parent from their child during this kind of surgery. There is risk. Only a few doctors in the world will attempt this. Dangers of: bleeding, paralysis, blindness and death are linked to this surgery. Tony and Sushi will be there. Our prayers will be there. A trip of this distance is costly for everyone! For Tony and Sushi, exorbitant, they receive chickens for payment.  Tony told us over Skype that he figured the trip would cost him about 8000R, which is 900$ american dollar. For a week stay in  hotel in resort town Cape Town about 2000R.-$230 He said he found the cheapest in town, I bet he did. Some of the ‘better’ places we have stayed in South Africa, would be condemned here in the US.  Petro which he can not find the cheapest, just pay what it costs, which is A LOT, would be 6000R-$690.

Today  I was whining to Keith, about a $400 couch I fell in love with at a consignment store,and they won’t drop the price. I have 4 couches and a love seat, one I don’t like much, it is too big and white. I think I need another for Keith’s new man cave. Then Tony Skyped us about Shubael surgery and prayer needs for them and their trip funds. Tony told us he was canceling a ministry trip to Uganda that overlapped with this surgery, even though he would be letting a supporting ministry down.  Keith told him we would pray and we would also work on helping him from here to get some funds. I was humbled.

We called our older boys and a couple of our and Tony’s friends,  just after our Skype with Tony. My ‘men’ and friends responded with the promise of funds to give, Brian, who was in the middle of putting a staircase in his home, was at our home within 30 minutes with a check to send to Tony.  Tony’s faith is moving mountains in America, from  South Africa.

I think I trust God,rely on Him for everything. I think I have faith to move mountains. .Yet……. Evan my 23 year old, that I pray can have a ‘normal’ life beyond his disability, decided it was time for himself to set out on his own. He announced he took vacation time at work and was driving 300 miles to San Antonio. He needed his DAD to help him make hotel reservations, because they could not understand him over the phone. This is what I pray for, independence, knowledge, incentive to grow, the strength and courage to achieve it all, and always a ‘healing’. My prayer was answered. I FREAKED.  Evan returned a few hours ago, alive, proving he IS a man and he can live WITHOUT Mommy.  Evan told me of his adventure, his eating out at Sea Island, twice, then following with Cheesecake Factory, twice. He bought shoes for work. He ate dinner in the hotel restaurant and made friends with the lady who waited on him.  She helped him when his nose started bleeding, by giving him a wet towel.

We will wire our ‘wet towel’ tomorrow, to Durbin South Africa.

Posted in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 8

8 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.  My thought is Paul is going through the letter from the Corinthians, asking him what to do about these things happening with us…We don’t know what they said, nor the context, but it looks like from Paul’s response and reprimands previously those asking are trying to find fault in others within their body. They are using their ‘knowledge’ their prestige, what they are proud of in themselves as the reason to point out what others are doing wrong. Paul, I believe, begins this way, “Knowledge puffs up, love edifies’ because of this. This is a reprimand to their attitude behind the question.  Paul is letting them know if you are sure you know it all, above the others, then you are not doing for God, out of love. God knows who loves him, God knows what is truly the desires of the heart. 

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, Paul continues to answer the question, because it deserves a response even though they were asking for the wrong reason. we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. An idol is nothing, even if a man says it is, it still is nothing.  For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), man has made up a lot of things to worship wood ones and pretend Zeus, etc.  yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. For US, Paul and those he answers the question to KNOW there is only one God.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; some who are now believers for some, with consciousness of the idol, Those who in the past believed in this idol, who thought it to be important. Maybe like a catholic today who rubs their beads? until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. Some may not know any better, they are caught up in the past misconception.We do know that eating something or not, rubbing the beads or not, has nothing to do with our belief in God, nor his acceptance of us. 

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? You who ‘young’ believers look up to know that idol food is not a bad thing, but they still do. If they see you it causes them to wonder, to question your walk, your integrity, then theirs.  11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. You know this causes those younger, confusion, that they think idol offered food is evil, yet you do eat in front of them, maybe to taunt them? 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. Paul then says, go the extra mile basically, instead of causing turmoil for and with the weaker brother. 

If a friend is a recovered alcoholic you should not ask them to a wine tasting party, he could abstain, but how much fun will he have watching everyone else? . If your sister is gluten intolerant you would not plan her birthday at Johnny Corinos, even though they do have a couple of gluten free meals to offer, the bread will still be there. How is that a special treat for her, take her to Outback who even has a GF dessert to offer. If your neighbor believes that her prayers are heard by her praying with her prayer beads in her hands, or if she wears red shoes on her hands, you should not tell her differently, this could be how she ready’s her heart and mind for God,.  WE know he hears either way, but she needs know too!

Paul, I, all of us that believe;there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live, are WE. We believe that God’s word, the Bible from Genesis 1:1 through Revelations 22:21 is the Truth, every word, today, yesterday and tomorrow. If WE deviate from the Truth ANY at all, we cause someone to stumble. If we change the gospel to exclude anyone or to include everyone, we cause someone to stumble. If WE decide our interpretation of the word is more loving and more accepting, and fits this world better, than what God really said, we cause someone to stumble. If WE decide punishment/consequences/ for sins and disobedience is just to harsh, we cause someone to stumble. If WE decide we have more knowledge than God, we cause someone to stumble, and WE ALL FALL DOWN