It’s been a good week this week. We often have good weeks but this week was exceptional. Last Wednesday Sam and the well digging team baptized seven people in two communities. No, this does not often happen! But it is glorious. Sam and the team have worked hard for over a year and a half to dig wells and share the Gospel. You can’t imagine how hard it is to drive pipe down with a sledge hammer through hard soil and rock in 110 degree heat while sharing the Gospel with strict Muslims. Hard work, a great team, and an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit have collided to create new followers of Jesus who are even now fearless witnesses in their communities. I am proud of Sam and the team and I am grateful for the love of our Lord who called these out of darkness and into His glorious light.
As I think about the hard work and the perseverance though, I want to stop and count the costs. Sam has worked with us for eight years. He has changed a lot! We have together strategized about evangelism and prayer, and church planting. He spends between three and five days a week away from his wife and five young children as he goes down to the villages where we work. There is a cost to him and his family and they all gladly pay it for the love of the Father.
I have paid a price as well. It is not easy being here. Our standard of living isn’t great and it doesn’t help to face ungrateful government officials or thankless, resistant people. We have never doubted the price we have paid together as a family until this year. I have two girls in college in the US. One is on the East Coast and is doing great. The other just failed half her classes, has no friends within 500 miles and has spent the entire summer depressed out of her mind with no job, no where to go, and no one to help. My wife and I have wept buckets. Praise God our daughter managed to get enrolled back into school and seems to be back on track but the whole situation is pretty shaky. I know, I know, I can hear you from here. Why don’t we leave? Why don’t we take care of our daughter? Who will look after her if we don’t? Isn’t this our responsibility? Yeah, it is. And those baptisms would not have happened if we had left. We counted the costs. We hate the costs but they are what they are. We have paid the price and all I can tell you is that we go on home leave this November and we are very much looking forward to Christmas with the WHOLE family again.
You have paid a price. Did you know that? You who give to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon pay the roughly $40,000 it takes to fund me. You pay a further $60,000 to fund our office which provides a humanitarian aid platform for 25 adults in this country. You who give to Baptist Global Response- or the Hunger Offering- or the Human Needs fund have provided us with the $20,000 per year it has taken to run our well program. You have counted the costs and paid. We complain about the efficiency of the Cooperative Program and the SBC in general but the costs do go to something tangible: seven new brothers and sisters just last Wednesday. Thank you.
Our God has paid a price. He sent His Son Jesus to a lost world who did not ask for His help. Jesus died at our own hands so that we could live. He counted the costs and paid the price. To some of you the costs I have listed seem pretty high. Yes, we sometimes pray the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden and ask if there is not some other way. There are any number of strategies, any number of methods, any number of ways. But the only way to see lost souls come to faith is to count the cost and pay the price. All I can say is that it is worth it.