On a beautiful day, while visiting the Elgon Mountains, we made acquaintance with Alex, a local pastor of the Intex region. When he heard that missionaries were coming to a nearby village, he rescheduled his Sunday meeting and went there to attend the church service where we were due to preach. He shared his amazing testimony, which moved me deeply and made me see our mission work in a new light.
“We are really touched by your visit and attentiveness,” he shared. “The fact is, we went to the city many times, searched for and asked many missionaries to come visit us. We told them that we are local pastors and we have churches filled with many simple, poor people. We urged them to come and teach us how to build schools, church buildings, and to train people so that they are ready to take responsibility for the ministry and rejoice in it. We assured them that we are ready to motivate people to serve and reach those who are lost, but we need their help to educate them. We often added, ‘You know how to teach children so teach ours. We do not know how to take care of them, but they are our children, and we are not indifferent to their future. How do you manage everything?’ I traveled many times, tried to find someone. In the beginning I was told that they would come, but once they found out where we live, they would refuse, using bad roads, poverty and long distance as excuses. Then the thought began to creep in that they do not want to teach us, because the “white missionaries” want to make sure that they provide themselves with job security for the rest of their lives. So I gave up any further pursuit for missionaries. You are the first people who came here to Elgon. And I’m glad of that. Now you know that there are people here who were born in paganism. Our ancestors worshiped demons and did terrible things. But we accepted the Word of God, and we believed in Jesus Christ, and you are witnesses to this. Thank you for your visit, for me this is a great encouragement.”
As missionaries, our very first priorities are to bring the Word of God and educate local people. The success of our ministry is determined by this factor – discipleship. The main goal when we leave the missions field, is to leave people who are not only saved, but also trained and equipped as ministers and pastors. Our calling is to bring influence upon the values of people and renewal of their minds.