Friday, January 10, 2014

Give me the Konkombas' love for your Word, O Lord.

In Unafraid of the Sacred Forest, Ronaldo Lidorio tells the story of his church planting among the Konkomba tribe, an unreached people group in Ghana, Africa.    Especially touching is his account of the affection with which the people received the Word of God as it was being translated:

The hunger for the Word of God became clear even while people were still painstakingly learning to read. As they gathered in small groups they developed effective ways of hiding the Word in their hearts. One week everyone was memorizing Matthew 14:34-6 and they particularly liked the final part, 'and as many as touched it [the hem of Jesus' garment] were made perfectly well.' Some women repeated this short text over and over as they walked to the river to fetch water. Others repeated it while working in the plantations. Even the children were saying it as they played under the trees. The desire to know God's Word was so great that when people living in outlying villages forgot some of the Scriptures they were memorizing, they were prepared to walk several kilometers to the nearest believer to ask, 'How does that part go?' Christians set Bible verses to music, singing them repeatedly so they would not forget them. 
          Many people wanted to learn to read and write. In the evenings they would gather in a circle around a small fire and listen to each other reading portions of the Word to demonstrate what they had learned. No sooner had we begun to teach them to read than they started writing Bible verses all over the place: on jars, walls, trees, anywhere.They did this so they would not 'forget the Lord'. This love for the Scriptures, placing them at the heart of Church life was a wonderful indication to us of the way the Spirit was moving among the Konkombas.  

The Power of Sharing Your Pleasures

I have a habit -- good or bad, I am not sure -- of dipping into the middle of books.  It is sort of like fishing. You throw your line out into the middle of the water somewhere. Let me tell you, I have caught some whoppers.
Recently I was reading Talks to Girls by Eleanor A. Hunter.  Though I am not sure how gospel-centered the book is, there are some sweet words of wisdom.   Among them is this gem on sharing pleasures:

 ... there is no surer way to get a good influence over people than to let them share your pleasures. That new girl, for instance, who has just come to your school: she is rather shy and awkward perhaps; she does not look very interesting. Do not think you have done your duty by that girl when you have asked her to Sunday school and Christian Endeavor. Probably she will not accept such a formal invitation. But if you will not ask her to play tennis and to lunch with the other girls on some Saturday, she will believe in you and love you and will go with you anywhere you like.         Then did you ever think that there are people in this world---and some of them are young girls too---who never have any good times of their own? They have to work hard, and they know wha it is to have constant care and anxiety. Sometimes they catch glimpses of you, my happy girls, flitting along in your pretty clothes. They see your smiling faces now and then, they hear the cheerful ring of your voices as you pass by and that is all they know about good times. Think of them, and let them come within the charmed circle too, and give than a little taste of lighthearted happiness, to let them know you love them and sympathize with them.    I think God often teaches us by joy as well as sorrow, by pleasure as well as pain; and if we receive our good times unselfishly and thankfully as coming from His hand, we never need be afraid to take them, for we shall be nobler and better for every one which we enjoy.