To a young couple who were one of the first missionary
families sent from World Harvest Mission (WHM)
to the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda.
Dear Tom and Joanne,
Today is the third day of spring here in Philadelphia, but the weather has in it the sharp fingers of February rawness. But I managed to get my walk through Jenkintown completed anyway, about a mile and a half. While I was walking, I prayed for you and meditated on how to pray more effectively for you. Yesterday we had good prayer all morning and brought you all before the Lord more than once. Then in the evening I had more prayer. But still to pray effectively is more than any human being can work up. I am convinced that prayer, effective praying, is a divine gift that comes while praying. Sounds odd, prayer comes while you are praying? But I think that really there is praying which gets results and that is fine, but then there is praying that gets into the center of God’s will and gets bigger results and also leaves the soul at peace, satisfied that God’s will has been contacted and God has responded with peace in the heart.
What I finally came to as I walked and prayed for you is the old, old story of getting the gospel clear in your own hearts and minds, making it clear to others, and doing it with only one motive—the glory of Christ. Getting the glory of Christ before your eyes and keeping it there—is the greatest work of the Spirit that I can imagine. And there is no greater peace, especially in the times of treadmill-like activity, than doing it all for the glory of the Lord Jesus. Think much of the Savior’s suffering for you on that dreadful cross, think much of your sin that provoked such suffering, and then enter by faith into the love that took away your sin and guilt, and then give your work your best. Give it your heart out of gratitude for a tender, seeking, and patient Savior. Make every common task shine with the radiance of Christ. Then every event becomes a shiny glory moment to be cherished—whether you drink tea or try to get the verb forms of the new language.
Put quality in your lives then. In the sloppy world in which we live, try to make the most ordinary things have a special touch from God. I think Florence Allshorn used to serve tea in good silver up in Busoga district when all was primitive. Not so much as a touch of home, but as a touch of heaven.
So I have prayed that God would give you grace to seek quality in all that you do and seek to promote quality in others. We have prayed this for your language studies, for your preaching and teaching, and for your whole way of living. Believe me this is no easy battle. You will find in the world of Uganda, as in the world here in the States, “getting by” is the dominant tone. Of course, I know we are all glad just to get by with many things. Some things merit only getting by, but don’t give in to it as the rule. Keep up the standards.
I’m also praying that God will give you some “quality people” with whom to work and some “quality converts.” I don’t mean flashy and razzle-dazzle people. Uganda and the U.S. always seem to have plenty of that sort. But I’m thinking of the solid people like John in the Kampala painting company. He’s a real example of how Christ can take a raw pagan out of the marketplace and give you a life that shines for Jesus through honesty and hard work. I just glorify Jesus for such a brother!
Tom, two pieces of counsel: always try to be daring but don’t be in a hurry. I’ll let you think about that. Another thought: if you don’t like what’s going on in Uganda, wait a week. It’ll be the opposite.
Rose Marie has had much physical weakness of late, for about the last two months. We are watching her diet and sending her to the doctor on Monday. She spent nine days in Florida resting with Jill and Kimberly [daughter-in-law and granddaughter] and got some rest with me when I attended a seminar at Ventnor on “Evangelism and the Poor” by Vinay Samuel.
But spiritually Rose Marie has continued to grow, really very encouraging. I think all the wear and tear of the last year have begun to catch up with her. She has closed down her Thursday afternoon Bible class. The results have been great, but my feeling is that a good foundation has been laid for these women and now they can seize the opportunity to build on it.
Naturally we are most eager to hear reports of your trip west and to learn how you are settling in. We take up an offering at New Life this week to help with your costs. . . . Greetings to Zeke and James. We also pray for them.
In Christ’s love,