Summary: Have you ever cleaned fish? It is a messy smelly job that requires you to get your hands dirty. Missions work can be like that sometimes. Yet what beautiful things can be accomplished when we try.
Missions Work in Zambia
There is a man in Zambia named Jimmy Kongwa. He has been a guest at our church. He and his wife Ivy work tirelessly to rescue the children of their country from disease, starvation, forced labor and a life of crime. They do it through an agency we support called Kids Alive International. www.kidsalive.com
We often take for granted that such far reaching work is being accomplished right here from our little corner of the world but it is true.
Thanks to the faithful efforts of Faith Baptist and those of you who support our Kids Alive Home (Chikondi House) children are being reached with the love of God in ways that change their everyday lives from hopeless to hopeful.
I was searching for a way to applaud the work of our Missions outreach and the story of Jonah came to mind. I chose my title for the message carefully and thought that it was something everyone could relate to.
Have you ever cleaned fish? It is a messy smelly job that requires you to get your hands dirty. Have you done it on a hot summer day? It is even worse then.
You probably noticed that there were few volunteers to offer to help you. That is because the task of cleaning fish is a pretty disgusting job. Missions work can be like that sometimes. You are sent to the far corners of the world with very little but much is expected.
Everyone enjoys eating a fish fry but there are few volunteers who are willing to clean the fish that are to be eaten. Last week Pastor Kent talked about how Jesus had a fish fry with the disciples.
We see from today’s scripture passage that God reminds Jonah of just how difficult missions work is by having him swallowed by a great fish.
A call to missions work is no different than a call to full time ministry or a call to be a deacon or sit on the Finance Committee or a call to be a Sunday school teacher. Each call is from God. Each call is a call to carry that small part of the cross that moves the church forward.
It involves a heart that is tender to the need. In the case of Mission work it is the basic needs of Gods people from all around the world. Things like fresh clean water, food, clothing, education, jobs training and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If these are things that are on your heart than I invite you to talk to one of the team members of our Kids Alive Team and ask how you can answer the call that God is placing on your heart. Maybe 2010 or 2012 will be the year you visit Zambia?
My song this morning was almost a reflection of what Jonah was thinking when he tried to avoid responding to Gods call.
Jonah tried his best to go in the opposite direction but God got hold of him in a physical way that changed his travel plans.
You might share some of the sentiment that was in that little song. You may have felt you have served God long and faithfully in many areas of church life so why should you consider missions now?
You should only consider it if indeed God is calling you. You would not want to offer your time and effort out of a sense of duty or obligation you should offer it out of love.
The work will be a joy if you are truly answering Gods call.
I can tell you from experience that no small effort goes unnoticed in the lives of the people that you reach through Kids Alive.
I meet a blind Pastor Kenneth Kaulembi who uses his church as a Kids Alive school in the poorest province of Zambia called Mongu. His work is called the Jerusalem Kids Alive Centre in a small village called Sefula. He trusts God to get him from the city to the village and back again. He trusts God to feed all 200 of the children who attend school each day. Some how the children are fed and their lives changed. It was a miracle to see.
I have seen first hand how adults and children have been affected. They go from a situation of desperation to a place of inspiration as they regain hope and dignity in their lives. You give them that hope when you share from your time and effort and from your financial resources.
This August you will help send our team to the Emmanuel Kids Alive Care Center and School. Manuelly Nyumbui has started a trade school for men and women as well as a grade school for the children. The men learn carpentry and the women sewing while the children attend school. There are now almost 200 orphans and vulnerable children registered in the program.