I just received this from a dear friend who sold a very prosperous business in town to take up the mission field in Africa. Joey sends us occasional emails which I have found to be creative, informative and quite stirring. This one is the best, by far, that I've read. I just had to share this with you all. How simply, and yet eloquently, Joey gets his message across: the simplicity of Christ's love and how it should shine through us. I hope this stirs you as much as it did me.
Dear Mission Team,
Matthew 19:14b "for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
5:30 am Roosters are crowing and light peeks out from behind the jungle forest ridge to their west.
6:00 am The man stirs in his bed as he listens to the sounds of his wife?s soft breathing, water pouring from the village well into metal wash pans and buckets as village women and children exchange greetings and assist each other to place the heavy loads upon cloth cushioned heads.
6:15 am The man heats a kettle of water on the stove for coffee and visits the bush outside his tent. He returns and pours the hot water into the drip style pot that always reminds him of his Pawpaw and enjoys the memory.
6:25 am Coffee is ready. He sits with the hot black coffee and reads from his favorite book. He wonders. Where will He be this day?
7:00 am The village is now very much alive. The early arrival of students and teachers begins. The sounds of sweeping, fetching water and firewood for the cooks and children laughing and playing fill the air.
7:30 am The wife stirs as the man greets the cooks as they pass by the back side of the tent with a coconut shell full of hot coals to start the fires for the days cooking.
7:35 am Children sit outside the daughter?s tent patiently waiting for her to stir. The man hears one call to her, ?Look, Claysey, look! Avuga (automobile),? as he seeks her attention and the expected sharing of joy he yearns for.
7:45 am The man walks to the school to begin the day and greets the teachers and children as he passes.
8:00 am He rings the school bell and watches the children come running to line up by class for morning assembly. Akiti is among them in the prekindergarten class. Called to attention by a small kindergarten student, they sing Good Morning Jesus, recite the Lord?s Prayer, The Ghana National Anthem, officially greet the man and march by class into the school singing The Marching Song.
8:10 am Classes start.
The man has not seen Akiti for two weeks. Severely stunted, the tiny twelve year old is smaller than most of his five and six year old preschool classmates. His father will not work and his mother struggles to keep him and his siblings fed. He has learned how to sneak into neighbors? kitchens and steal food. He sometimes disappears for days as he forages among the forest and small farms that dot the landscape. The children treat him as an outcaste. He cries. His hunger for love is as strong as that for food. He has not paid his school fees. A solution must be found. The man asks Akiti if he would wash the Land Rover. The tiny face fills with excitement. "Yes, Daddy, yes." He and two other students run to the well with buckets as the man moves the Rover to the well.
They eagerly scrub and wash for an hour and a half. The job is done and Akiti approaches the man. The man tells Akiti that his school fees are paid, and he can join his classmates. It is 9:50 am and time for early feeding. The bell rings and seventy children make their way to the serving tables. Akiti receives a heaping bowl of rice, noodles and fish and a cup of fresh water from the village bore hole. He sees the woman, holds up his bowl to her with eyes full of wonder and says, "Momma, Look!" The woman shared his joy. Akiti ate his food. The woman looks into his eyes. Jesus is there.
Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
Jeremiah 22:16 "He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?" Declares the LORD.
To what lengths will God go to in order to provide for man?s need to know Him? You have been faithful to pray, send and come to Akiti. Our Lord has been loved with freight, medical supplies, rice, school supplies, books and clothing given, packed and shipped by His servants. You have given me, Patti and Claysey the gift of seeing Jesus in the countenances of the least in a forgotten place in the jungle of West Africa. You may never see Akiti this side of eternity. He will greet you from His glorious throne saying, Matt 25:34-36 "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me." Confused maybe? "Is Akiti Jesus?" Matt 25:40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Where is Jesus? He is among us in life providing opportunity to look into His eyes and hear His sweet voice say, "Look, Disciple, love me." He is all over the world seeking His own. He is the little boy down the street, the lonely widow next door, the divorced mother of three working at the convenience store you trade at and the teenage girl with no guard. He is the mother who bore you, the spouse you married, the boss you work for, the classmate you school with and the child in your womb. He is providing us with a lifetime of opportunity to experience life with Him so that we may know Him and hear the multitudes in His voice say, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Until then, let us wonder in the mornings. Where will You be this day?
Next Day 8:10 am Akiti, affectionately named ?Little Man? by the daughter, is learning his letters now. The teacher draws them on the marker board. Akiti practices on his slate with chalk.
8:35 am Having completed his practice, he suddenly leaps up from his bench and runs out of the class. He spots the man, holds his slate up as high as he can reach and cries out with voice and eyes, "Daddy, look!" The man sees the letter "S" scrawled in crooked lines on the slate. The smiling man looks into eyes longing for approval and says, "Very good Akiti." Little Man hitches his tiny body up to its full height, pokes out his chest and struts back into class telling all his friends, "My S?s are good."
March 6th 11:30 am Akiti led his class in the Ghanaian Independence Day march for pass and review by the village elders.
I wish you could have seen Him. Jesus was there
Joey, Patti and Claysey/ Missionaries to Ghana-West Africathere was a picture with the email of Akiti but I don't know how to put it in here. Please keep Joey, Patti and their daughter, Claysey in much prayer as well as all those they come in contact with. And especially, "Little Man"...Akiti.
a more humble....