Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)
- TITLE: An African Heart
By Cheryl Flatt
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The biographical book, “Out of Africa” begins with, “I had a farm in Africa…” My biographical first line could be, “I had a childhood in Africa…” It was a rich, colorful and short childhood in Livingstone, Zambia, and it burned deep memories within me. So it was no surprise to my mother when I loaded my backpack, said tearful good-byes and headed back to Africa (the land of my heart though not my heritage) to teach at a boarding school.
The tedious bus journey over the hot, dusty village roads to Livingstone took hours to accomplish that day. It was dark by the time I arrived in town and began my walk to the school grounds. The security guard greeted my warmly after I introduced myself. I was grateful to be shown to my new quarters: a small room in a concrete building that housed the girls. The single bed, desk, chair and small bookcase were just what I expected, and all that I wanted after such a long journey.
That first week passed quickly as I settled into my new surroundings and prepared for start of the school year. It had been a good week, but I was ready to get off the school grounds and relax. In town there was a great little pizza place called the Funky Monkey, and that was where I chose to decompress. As I sat waiting for my pineapple chicken pizza to cook in the brick oven, I overheard a group of people talking. I was glad when they noticed me and invited me to join them. As we ate and shared, we soon realized that although we were from various walks of life and locations we had one common bond: the Lord Jesus Christ. It was one of those nights that simply filled my soul as we shared the Word and spent time praying for one another. By the end of the evening, when we finally said our good-byes, we were no longer strangers; we were friends.
The Funky Monkey became our weekly meeting spot and provided much support, encouragement and love. People came and went, giving our group a fresh flow of colorful characters that often had only two points of commonality: Jesus and a heart for Africa. We were able to see and experience the truth of Matthew 18:20 (NASB), “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” It was during this time in my life that I was finally able to understand that my fellowship with other believers had very little to do with common interests with others, and it had everything to do with my own personal relationship with God. If that relationship was in good standing then the others would fall into line. This lesson settle deep in my soul just as Africa and I settled deeply into one another. Yet it would be years before I understood the true value of this lesson, but that is another story.
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