Thursday, January 28, 2010

Helpless and Humbled...

Well, I am humbled, speechless, helpless and overwhelmed. We had a great
class today discussing preaching, but as I was just talking to a few pastors
before class, it seemed that there were some hurting pastors among our
group. So I suggested to Tracy, my director and partner in teaching, that I
cut class a little early and so we could just pray for the pastors and have
them share with the group. Tracy came in and shared a few scriptures and
then opened it up for sharing. And the floodgates came crashing through.
(This isn't Haiti floodgates, but this more normal life and the trials that
are endured here in Zambia.) It may seem just a bit like I am exaggerating
when I share how difficult things are, but, please, believe that I am not.
The first guy shared how he had four funerals in a week, with each one
costing him time, energy and even for one, a woman who gave birth, five days
later died, and the baby is not doing well, and this pastor and family had
to care for the baby and the mother while in the hospital. This pastor, and
a couple others also have lost the stipend which pays for them to be pastors
so as of next month, they have no idea where their salary will come from.
The next pastor shared how he lost his job, his church can't afford to pay
him, and he has a daughter about to graduate college, and another in school
and both desperately need money. The organization that let him go and owes
him money is not giving him the money that he is due. The next pastor which
literally almost died this year, is still recovering slowly with health, but
is completely out of money because he couldn't' work due to his long
illness. The next pastor lost both his daughter and grandson in the same
year, and his daughter just got into college but the money is (a dream come
true for these pastors) due this Wednesday or she will lose her place.. He
said so clearly, "I need a miracle." The next pastor was sharing how two
years ago he was kicked out of his church and for 10 years he gave his life
for that church. It still hurt so bad that no one in the church has come by,
and yet this pastor college has been like a family to him. The next pastor
was sharing about a really difficult marriage situation. And another pastor
has been battling malaria. And those were just the pastors that shared.
Another could have shared about his son who is battling a life-threatening
kidney disorder. The others are battling finances, health and life
challenges. Each pastor is dealing with trials that I just can't even
fathom. We had a real sweet time of praying for each other at the end, and I
walked away with a thankful and humbled heart that I get the opportunity to
be able to learn from these men how to trust God in daily trials that are so
unimaginably common. It is hard to even know where to start. One cool story
though was relating to the pastor who needed a miracle. Earlier this month,
a friend had donated some money to him after reading a blog of the
incredibly difficult year he had that I wrote. It was the exact amount he
needed to get his daughter into school on Wednesday. Praise God for
miracles like that... Please pray for our pastors. I sense they are being
refined in many difficult ways to prepare them for a future rich in
ministry.

2 comments:

Kristi Knifong said...

All I can say is "WOW!"
We will be praying for the pastors and to see what the Lord would have us do. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve for sharing. Let them know that we are praying for them. I am so thrilled to see their faith in God.
-Megan W.