A new year has dawned again: a new year to labor for the Master, a new year to prepare to our heavenly home, a new year to seek to hasten our Lord’s soon return. With the many challenges laying before us, we must learn to trust and hope in the God of hope. Sometimes, we focus on the challenges and our faith and hope subside, but God has called us to move forward “believing all things, hoping all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7. Not only are we to hope all things, but we are to abound in hope, as well. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13. When we keep in mind the God of hope that stands behind every promise of His Word, we realize more fully that we have everything to be hopeful for. “He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His,—a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter…. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything.” Gospel Workers, 39. While our lives frequently do not seem to be uninterrupted victories, this is exactly what our lives are to be when we learn to trust fully in our God of hope. May we learn to despair of nothing and hope for everything—trusting in our God hope!
I have just recently returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where I am thankful that the brethren are moving forward in courage and hope trusting the Lord to bless their work. I was able to visit a number of churches in both Kinshasa and in the area of Bandundu. It is always exciting to see and hear how the Lord has worked to bring people to Jesus and His truth for this time. The territory of Bandundu is a large area, but the Lord has inspired the believers there with a vision to reach the entire area for the Lord. Reaching this vast region where many have never heard the Seventh-day Adventist message begins with sharing the Three Angels’ Messages one town and village at a time. One of these towns that the Lord is working in to raise up a group of believers is Masi-manimba. On the main road from Kinshasa, the capital city, to the major provincial city of Kikwit, Masi-manimba is well suited to reach the many living and traveling to and through this area center. A small group has been established that the Lord has given big visions to reach the community and beyond. Several years ago, a mission pioneer arrived in the area with a burden to share the message of Jesus’ love and soon return. One of the brothers who heard the message was serving as a lay pastor in a Pentecostal church and teaching English in one of the local schools. He and several other English teachers accepted the message and began to share with others. Though, they faced and continue to face difficulty from their schools for not teaching on the Sabbath, they are bold to share the message of truth for this time. By visiting families and sharing the message, others have accepted the message, as well. The group of believers recognized the need to have a permanent place of worship and so they have been able to purchase a piece of land along the main roadway. Now they have a good piece of land on the outskirts of town, but only a palm-leaf church in which to worship. When it rains (the rainy season is from October through May), they are unable to worship. They are praying that the Lord will provide the funds for them to have a simple church in which they will be able to worship in rain or sunshine and which will serve as a witness of our distinct truths throughout the community and region. If you would like to help them, you can mark your donation “Congo Churches.”
Yours in trusting in our God of hope,