Mikayla Carruth, MC
July 14, 2017
This week, I learned that sometimes ministry is simply hanging out with other believers and encouraging them in their walks. Sometimes ministry is mundane and consists of things we don’t always want to do. Sometimes it’s exciting and you thrive. Ultimately, all of it is done to glorify Christ, and He is present in it all - the hard, the mundane, and the exciting. Ministry is simply doing life and sharing your story in a way that points others to Christ.
We spent this week in Maun, the tourist city of Botswana, an 11-hour trek away in the northwestern part of Botswana. There are many whites and Europeans in this area, as so many flock here for safaris and curio shopping. Maun has the second or third most prolific game drives in the world. So many animals! You can’t come to Maun and not see the wildlife here. So, we got up at 4:45 am, layered ourselves in scarves, gloves, and hats, and spent the next 10 hours exploring the Moremi Reserve. It was freezing on the back of an open safari vehicle, but totally worth it. We had an incredible, rare sighting of African Wild Dogs. These things are no joke! Known to run a lion up a tree, they are the most successful land predators in the world, but they are endangered with only about 2,000 left. I saw more giraffes, elephants, zebras, hippos, and monkeys than I ever imagined. We saw a cheetah that was about 25 feet from us, and we ate lunch in the middle of a park by some hippos. So cool!
We made it home and had an infamous power outage. 90% of Botswana's power was cut that night. So, we hung out in the dark and made do with what bread we had for dinner. I will never take for granted a stove and reliable electricity ever again.
The next day we headed out to Maun Baptist for a day of ministry. Maun is the only Baptist church within a five-hour radius, so they can often feel disconnected and lonely.
We had the privilege to go in to love them and encourage them. We sang countless Setswana songs and had fellowship with the youth. Here, “youth” are all unmarried adults, ages 18-35. And they are the ones who singlehandedly run and take care of the church. They are all such strong believers and they greatly encouraged and challenged me.
We spent the day doing evangelism home visits: 4 hours in 3 different homes, totaling 5 women and 5 men. One of the homes was next to a false prophet church, which the women attended. They were getting ready to leave for a service there, yet they let us speak with them. An hour later, two of them prayed to receive Christ! It’s incredible to watch the Holy Spirit pierce hearts and reveal truth. It was an encouraging time as we connected them with Maun Baptist so they could be part of a true gospel church.
The last home we visited had 5 young men. They all prayed to receive Christ and the former Maun missionary who was with us spent time encouraging them to follow through their decision with obedience and bearing fruit. People here are very receptive and often say yes to things because we are white Americans. I don't say that as an arrogant thing, but as a fact of the culture here. They view white people as powerful and wise, especially in villages. Thus, we make clear the presentation of the Gospel and of Christ.
The filter for those who have made true decisions to follow Christ is obedience. We pray that each person we share with will be planted in good soil for growth and bearing fruit. Maun Baptist does a great job following up with each person and beginning home Bible studies with them. We only come for a week, but the church members are here year round, loving their city and sharing hope on a daily basis.
Sunday, we experienced the definition of African worship: Bible study followed by lots of singing, dancing, cheering, and testimonies, lasting for several hours, followed by a children’s program in the afternoon. Such a good day of refreshing fellowship!
The youth of Maun Baptist are so joyful and always want to hang. We quickly became good friends. On our last day of evangelism with them, we followed up with many people from the previous days, and my group ventured to a new area. We encountered a home with 5 adults and their children. We spent time sharing with them and answering many questions, but their hearts seemed to be hardened still. They were interested, but not ready to take steps toward salvation. We prayed with them, connected them with the Maun youth, and made our way back. As we prayer walked back, we encountered 3 women who said they did not know about the story of Jesus. We shared for an hour. At the end, we asked if they wanted to become followers of Jesus. Two of the women responded with tears that while listening to the story, they felt something change inside of them. The Lord is definitely at work! They decided to become followers of Jesus and Maun Baptist will be following up with them in the coming weeks.
We finished the day with a time of celebration and thanksgiving. All of the youth from the church piled into our mission home and backyard for a “braii.” So much food, singing, dancing, storytelling, and laughter took place. We said our goodbyes and shared how thankful we were to have gotten the chance to spent time with them.
We have passed the halfway point and fatigue is setting in for some on our team. Pray for renewed energy, strength, and excitement for the task set before us. One of our memory verses this summer is Acts 20:24: "I consider my life worth nothing if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has set before me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
Often times, we make missions and ministry look glamorous and have big mountain top stories to share. Yet, the reality is, there are days when we get up and struggle to have the desire to go out and make disciples. This happens to everyone in ministry all over the world - in Botswana, in India, and in small town USA. Praise God that even when we are faithless, He is faithful. I pray for you all as you are at home, in your workplace, or at school ... that you would be on mission, sharing Christ with each encounter you have. The command to make disciples is nonnegotiable for followers of Christ and I have been immensely challenged by it this summer.