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  • Writer's pictureMatze

Alone in the village?

It’s been an eventful month with a lot of new things for me. I drove to town by myself, learned some new skills and was in the village by myself. Above all this, I saw the goodness of God and his abundant grace, protection and provision.



Dreaming of change

I’m currently listening to a teaching series called “Future Church” by John Mark Comer and it really hits home. He dreams of the future of the church in the West. In the 2nd sermon, he talks about individualism and how the church should be a community of tight-knit loving relationships. Psychologists found that there are 4 things that make a human happy: friends, family, vocation and religion (a theology or philosophy that makes sense of life, death and suffering). Individualism, in its extreme forms, hinders all of them! Comer says, “What started with an ecstatic liberation, ends up with a war of tribe against tribe that crushes the individuals it sought to free.” Millennials and Gen Z (my generation) is the loneliest and least trusting generation in American [and I would say: Western] history. Only 13% of them think that most people are trustworthy. In comparison among the Babyboomer generation it is 60-70%. In Romans 12, we find 3 commands on how we as Christians should live in community: “To Forgive each other for not being God”, “To Listen in Love” and “To Stay”. David Brooks said, “Culture change is when a small group of people find a better way to live and the rest of us copy them.” Comer dreams of the church as a counter society where people love and trust each other again and through that worship God.


A lot of New’s

In the beginning of this month, I was able to ride my bike out to Torit (85 km and 3h one way) to meet up with a former team mate. It had rained a lot the days before, which made it a lot of fun and partly very exhausting. God protected me on the road and I had a great 2 days in Torit. I started with my online class “Perspectives.” We are now in week 4 and I really enjoy it. It’s a lot of work, but I’ve already learned so much about God and missions.

A lot of men in Lopit are weaving mats, baskets and hats when there is no other work to do. I really wanted to learn weaving, not only because it’s a fun and useful skill, but also because it helps me build relationships with the men. A good friend of mine is teaching me now and I’m making progress. My whole village is impressed that I can do it and is now requesting baskets … I guess I’m starting a side business? :)

And then mid-month, my 3 team mates went out to Kenya for a leadership meeting. It was the first time that I stayed alone in a place and I was a bit unsure of how it would go. It turned out to be a really great opportunity. It pushed me to take on some of their ministries and so I shared bible stories, preached on Sundays and continued theological training with 2 church leaders. It also deepened my relationships in the village as I was not able to rely on my team mates anymore and had to make decisions often by myself. And ultimately, I was not really alone in the village. I have neighbors, a few fellow believers and already many friends. I was definitely never alone and many people took good care of me. It was a really great time, but I’m also glad that they came back this week :)



United in Christ

But the thing that I am most excited about is our different church plants and in general, how God is moving among the Lopit. While I was by myself, I continued with bible stories, church and theological training and was really encouraged by the progress you see. One of the leaders told me that the villages notices a difference in his life since he started with theological training. I was also able to go and encourage a fellow believer in another village, who all by himself, does discipleship groups, class catechism and runs the church. We were mutually encouraged by our company. And then my highlight: Beginning of this month, we started something new. Once a month, all the local churches gather together in one village to fellowship together. And it was amazing! Even though it was raining, we were 50 people, crowded under my little sitting area and had a blast! We worshipped God together. What an image to the village. Why would you come all the way to our village? Because we want to fellowship together. We are united, we are one. Pray that God would continue to work among the Lopit and that this unity would shine bright as a light on a hilltop to all the people.




Recent Video Projects

Last week, the Inbound Promo Video finally launched, which was my first project for AIMStories. Inbound is the one year program that I did and a great start into missions. Check it out:



I then did a small video of my team mate’s kids ministry. Carol started to teach literacy to pre-schoolers and while she does that, she always connects it with some Sunday school songs, Bible verses and prayer. The kids love it and the number is growing.




What’s next?

These past two weeks, I’ve been struggling with several smaller injuries, infected bug bites and a burn wound on my leg. It really hindered me from getting out in the community and moving around. Please pray for health. I want to continue strong with my Perspectives course and focus a bit more on media now. There are many great opportunities and ideas - pray for wisdom on what to tackle. Again, thank you for all your prayers, support and encouragement. I wish you all a really good and relaxing Christmas and hopefully great start into 2024:)

Matze


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Stay updated!

Pray for:

Thanks:

- For the rains that have finally started! It has been a great refreshment.

- For a very good, though short break in Kenya.

Requests:

- For more rain. The fields have been prepared and need rain. Pray for continuous rains, that the sorghum would grow and people will get a good harvest.

- For the video projects that God would lead and guide us to bring glory to Him.

- For the family who has lost a daughter, a mother and a friend. For the little girls who have lost their mother. For comfort, hope and perspective in this hard time!

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