BEATEN ..., And rejoicing in Heaven
The women were beaten.
Why? That's what we asked.
Well, they wanted to continue worshipping at their PCEA church, but a pastor had come in, set up a new church and their husbands forced them to leave the PCEA and attend the new one.
If you only knew one of those ladies. She is such a sweet, gentle woman and when we considered this dear lady, her co-wives and the other women, being beaten to leave the church which we brought there ... we felt so deeply saddened in our hearts. (They can be so unrelenting when they are beating their wives. We saw a woman beaten by her husband today ... nothing to do with church ... and her face was so badly swollen and bruised).
While we were gone the finishing touches were put in place. We had asked that the church wouldn't split. The area is too small, the numbers not large, and how is Christ glorified when the people are not one? We had said that if they wanted to join the other denomination, that they should do so as one body. They were the body of Christ and it is the work of Satan to divide a church. We encouraged them to remain united, regardless of where they worshipped. But they came back to us and said that they weren't going to leave PCEA but remain as Gary was the one who had come and brought them the message of salvation.
While we were back in Northern Ireland, we were told that the pastor asked the people there, 'What has Gary given you? I have brought you a school. But he has brought you nothing. So come and join my church.'
One of the men asked what would happen if more people came in and gave them something and wanted them to join their church, were they to leave the next church and join them? He stated that Gary had brought them the gospel when no one else did and that he would remain where he was. Apparently the women all wanted to remain too. But, as we heard again and again, they were forced to leave, forced to do what they didn't want to do. Our hearts still ache for them. And we are so sorry that the church has split. There are so many there who care nothing for the gospel. Why should they listen now to its message? ... And this is how the world will know that you are My disciples that you love one another.
We have never planted churches where others have shown interest. We do not believe that it is right before God. And yet years ago, we planted at Isintin, and not one but two denominations sought to take that church, the body of believers. A small number of people left ... and some have returned. But the church has remained.
We heard last year that people were wanting again to try and take the flock from Isintin, and now another denomination has come nearby and we have been told that they have been speaking against the Presbyterian Church, even stating that the Presbyterian Church's doctrine is the same as the Roman Catholic church, and going to different homes encouraging them to leave and join their denomination.
Then in Olkarkar in January half the flock left (the majority, according to what we have heard, not wanting to go).
Then this morning we were in Nkaimurunya, and were told that the same man who was behind the breaking of the church in Olkarkar came to them and said that he wanted to start a church there. The worship leader in the church stated that they didn't want a new church, they were happy as they were.
There are so many places that this man could start a 'church' as people have had their land allocated and are setting up home in new areas. The problem with Nkaimurunya (as it was in Olkarkar) is that the place where we meet was given into private land. Some of the people have went to the Chairman seeking to be given a small piece of community land on which to build a church, but they haven't got very far with this. Only our Lord knows how this story will end. But again, we'll not want that the church divide or split.
This little church started with only a few members (literally) and this morning every seat was full and it was lovely to see so many enthusiastic faces praising the name of our Lord. Two people gave their lives to our Lord today and Gary was given the privilege of leading them to Jesus. The Worship leader has been going around the homes and speaking to the people about Jesus and their need for Him. He has also been praying for their souls ... and this morning was so encouraging. Here he was seeing fruit for his labour and a few weeks back he had the joy of bringing two men to the Lord too. He has listened carefully to all that Gary has taught and went out, burdened by those lost around him, to tell his neighbours of the good news and most importantly, bathed this work in prayer. I don't think we can possibly convey the encouragement we felt in our hearts this morning.
Please pray that God will raise up more men and women to serve Him, with hearts fully yielded to Him, to bring in His Kingdom amongst the Maasai. Pray too that God's Holy Spirit will move mightily convicting men, women and children of their sins. There is a battle for souls and Satan seeks to discourage (Gary always says that discouragement is of the devil and I fully believe this is true), and destroy. But Christ is Victor, and this morning we witnessed two lives bow the knee before our Beloved Saviour, seeking His forgiveness and salvation.
How we bless our Lord for His goodness and for His raising up individuals to share in the labour. The Lord is good!
Thank you for praying. Oh please can we encourage you to continue. The battle is far from over.
We send this with all our love, in our precious Saviour,
Gary and Mary.
(This email was written on Sunday, but wasn't able to be sent. Sorry).