There is great power in the act of remembering. When we memorize something we say that we have learned it “by heart” signifying that it now dwells deep within us and we remember it fully and completely. When the thief hung by Jesus on the cross he asked him “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”(Luke 23:42). Jesus himself exhorted us, along with the twelve, to reenact the Lord’s supper or Passover meal continuously, “In remembrance of me”(Luke 22:19). We are all called to remember.
One morning we sat at the breakfast table with our three children, one of our son’s buddies who had slept over, and our dear friend from Tanzania Pastor Andrew Mukasa, who was staying with us for the week. We were freshly home from our latest trip to Guatemala where we had conducted our second week of teaching at the Bible School there and our hearts were probably still a little raw. After breakfast, William led us in a devotional time that happened to touch upon the Church having a heart for those with great need in the body of Christ. The devotional shared a video at the end urging us, as Christ’s Body, to be present for Him among all the nations of the world who needed fathers, mothers, food and shelter. It was a sobering lesson and we sat around quietly sharing our thoughts of how we could do this in an even greater and more effective way. To be honest, contemplating this deeply I felt completely overwhelmed and I was not sure what more to be doing. In that moment, an answer came to me that I had been seeking during our time in Guatemala.
Our Guatemala trip had been an emotional one for me. Everywhere I looked I continued to see need. When we met with our main contact there, Pastor Misraim, he shared with us concerning a new law to soon be enacted which would eject all current pastors from the ministry unless they had formal ordination papers approved by the government. He shared with us the cost and expense of going through the process of ordaining the 5,000 pastors who were in the northern Peten region of Guatemala alone, not to mention the remaining parts of the country. My feeling that week, even as we taught in the Bible school each evening, was that we were simply not doing enough. While there, I was very aware of the poverty and plight of so many who were still living without a hope. I did not think of Guatemala alone, but I also thought of the school children we had met back in February, suffering in Africa and the pastors struggling to start churches. I thought of the woman we had bought vegetables from with her baby strapped on her back and how alone she must be in this world. I thought of the Muslim slums we had ridden through and the young Muslim man we met who had fled his family after receiving Jesus in order to avoid being beaten and shipped off to join the radical Islamic forces in Pakistan. I thought of all of these and more that I have yet to meet and my heart felt heavy. By the end of the two weeks we spent in Guatemala I was ready to come home for rest and respite. Yet upon arriving, I found that my heart still carried the heaviness of all of these individuals and many more. The devotion that morning stirred the emotional pot already bubbling inside of my spirit and I sat there listening and watching and asking the Lord what I am to do. In my spirit I heard the words: ”You are to remember”.
I believe that one of the greatest things we can do as believers today is never to forget who God is. We are never to forget the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for us and the way he humbled himself to come to this earth. We can never forget the healing miracles he performed and the way he endued us with power and authority on the day of Pentecost. Each day as we rise up and read His word we are forcing ourselves to remember who He is and what His standard for living is. Each time we gather in our churches we are remembering Him and setting Him before our eyes and giving Him first place in our hearts. When it comes to the hurting people of the world, I believe our greatest call as well is to remember. The opposite of remembering is forgetting. I realize that in my Christian walk when I begin to forget to seek first God’s kingdom or when I forget to prioritize Him in my finances what I am really doing is failing to remember that He is my priority. When I forget to call upon Him in prayer and when I forget to cast every care upon Him I am forgetting that He is so faithful. There is danger for every believer who forgets yet here is power for every individual who remembers.
We are called to remember that over half of the Body of Christ is suffering persecution in the world today. We are called to remember that more than half of human beings in the world are hungry and alone today. Whether we are at home or abroad, we are called to remember….and to act. Just as the taking of communion is an act of remembrance, each time you pray for these people groups you are actively remembering. When you give financially to those who are being sent, your giving serves as an act of remembrance.”The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Mathew 25:40) Today, I am challenging myself to remember those who need me to be Christ’s hands and feet to them. As I write, I am challenging each of you to remember them as well. Do not let our days of comfort and freedom here in this blessed nation cause us to become dull in remembering. Let us remember and act.
Please continue to remember us as we travel and as we seek God on how He would continue to use us in ministry. We are to Ohio next to minister in a church there and meet with the board from Guatemala to discuss ideas for William to help in some of the administrative duties for the hospital in Guatemala we work with there. We are also strategizing while we are home how to help in the ordination of at least 150 Guatemalan pastors by the end of this year. We ask you to remember these in your prayers and remember these in your giving. Above all, remember who God is and has been in your life and continue to serve Him faithfully. As you do, we have the great assurance that He lives and abides in constant remembrance of us and will be faithful to complete all of the things He has begun.
P.S. Just for fun: If any of you saw the kid’s facebook video as we headed to Guatemala you know they were excited about visiting a certain natural springs swimming hole. Well…we went and the water was so clear! Here’s a few pics.