Believers becoming family

It's a bit like watching your children leave home.

Missionary Lourens Laureti faces two quandaries right now. The Mengen believers are beginning function as mature Christians but Lourens finds it difficult to step back and allow them to respond in their respective spiritual gifts. Also, he desires to be a good co-worker to the other missionaries but the living in a remote village can drastically change everything.

Lourens and most other missionaries truly enjoy the role of teaching and giving the Gospel to a group that has never heard it before. And yet the true purpose of producing believers is to see them take responsibility for the church. God has given each believer in the Mengen church the gifts He feels they need to grow the church.

Recently one of the believers, Anton, recognized a need in a family because the wife was injured and the husband was very busy helping Lourens as well as carrying out other duties in the church. It was difficult for the man to find time to go to the garden, so Anton got a big bag and went around believers houses asking for donations of sweet potato and tapioca root.

“He was able to take a big bag of food to Apite and Brus to help them out as they are having a difficult time just now,” Lourens wrote. “I asked him why he did this and he said we are the family of God and need to help each other now; and he thinks God has given him the present of helping people.

“Many of the older believers are talking about what he has done and were taken aback, as this is not typical behaviour in the village or even among the body as a whole. Anton said he doesn’t want paid back for the food and that it is just part of us being a family.”

The other struggle facing Lourens is helping his co-workers. “Living as a missionary in the jungle strips us of all who we are,” Lourens wrote. “It strips us of our time, our culture, our friendship, our likes, our opinions, and our privacy. There is literary no place for the self in here. So either you die in your old-self or you’re out.”

“Please pray for us as we learn more and more to bear our own cross and lie down our lives for Christ and His calling, as it is often not a pleasant experience” Lourens wrote.

Pray for the Mengen believers as they take their first halting steps toward being responsible for the function of the church. Pray too for Lourens as he allows them to make mistakes or anything necessary to learn to function in their gifts.