Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brighter Days

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."  Luke 15

Yesterday I got to see someone say "I believe Jesus died and came to life again to save me" for the first time.  "Erik" is a man about 30 who I taught English to last year. It was a Cama center team effort in that probably 3 employees and as many volunteers have been befriending and pulling for him to come to faith. 

It was rewarding and energizing to sit in a circle in of men inside River of Love church studying Romans 10:9: "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

And then this young man announced "I now believe and can say today for the first time that I am saved."

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory hrough our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Cor 15:57

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dark Days

There are days when you wonder if things can get any worse.  And then there are days where you find out they can.  If they didn't brighten up now and again, I wouldn't be writing this.  But when I do experience a beam of light, I better write it down to try to remember in the next storm.

A worker of ours was punched in the nose by a family member last week.  Hearing this wouldn't have shocked much or made much for me to do as an employer, except I didn't just hear that it happened at home or somewhere.  I came back from supervising a job to find blood outside and on the door of our project center.  That's when I heard what happened, and who had done it.  The husband had been drinking and came to work demanding something that the wife didn't want to give, probably rightly so.  There was a struggle and a bloody nose.

I wanted to call the pollice.  But two other workers advised against it.  I wanted us to go find him and warn him with superior numbers of men that only a coward hits a woman.  Cooler heads prevailed over the idea of reasoning with or using brute strenth on someone who had been drinking.

We prayed for and with our worker and for her husband, then put out the word that he isn't welcome here drunk or sober until he comes and apologizes.  To our surprise he showed up yesterday and did so to me, then to our male staff, and finally to his wife.  We told him to attend our Celebrate Recovery meeting for the next 4 weeks as a corrective measure/punishment.  (We reminded him here that this we could have called the police)  He promised us and his wife to attend meetings and seemed genuinely sorry enough to change.

It is never easy to figure out how firm to be in times like this.  If you're too hard, he could take out that harshness on his wife later.  If you're too soft, he won't really respect what you say enough to change. 

The thing that I remember at the end of the day is that mercy triumphs over judgement.  And it is the Lord's kindness that leads us to change.  We all deserve judgment for substandard living, irresponsibility, self-indulgence, violent words, actions, and downright rebellion against everything good.  I hope the grace of God is able to reform and bring a good change out of this event which was not good. 

It seemed like the grace of God has shined brighter at the end of the storm than at the beginning.  I hope that light shines for his Kingdom in Mongolia and wherever you are brighter and brighter until this kind of thing never happens anymore.  Maybe that will never happen this side of heaven.  But on dark days, it seems enough to hope that the sun will shine again, and ever dark deed will be exposed.  It will be good for those who have already denounced and exposed their evil deeds on that day. 

Judgement and punishment await those who won't or don't.

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:13

Romans 2:4
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?