Quarterly Newsletter from Emily
Dear Loving Friends,
“I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest…” John 4:35
It’s Mommy Emily, coming to you at this poignant time in history, prayerful, thankful, and in awe of how our God is preparing His world for a tremendous harvest.
But before we consider that, and before we share more with you about how He’s leading Lulu, we want you to know that we’re not ignoring the very prevalent issue of racial reconciliation that is rocking the United States.
As a board of white women working with Africans, we realize with utmost soberness our responsibility to address the extreme hurts being expressed.
We praise God that He not only told us not to travel at the beginning of this year — before we knew that a global pandemic was coming — but He also told us at the beginning of June to set aside our normal rhythms and devote the entire month to prayer for Unity. Little did we know of the protests and riots that would soon erupt all over the United States.
Will you travel with me now, to a little town at the border of Uganda and South Sudan, as I share with you my heart regarding all that has happened?
An aroma of rice and beans wafts from the back of the church. Ladies in flowing skirts have quietly brought in pots and plates, and children are peering through the open windows. At the back of the room, a tiny little child sways back and forth on his bare legs. The church reverberates with the voices of pastors — men of God holding Bibles and teaching. A woman stands to sing, and the moment is so holy I can only raise my hands.
I’ve been sleeping here at this church compound in South Sudan, sharing a room with teenage mothers, and every morning at 6 I rise to meet with men and women in the school for devotions. We consume homemade donuts deep fried over an open fire, sweet hibiscus tea, and fresh pineapple and jack fruit, the sun blazing through the kindness of wide green leaves.
We’re so united in the spirit, it’s a shock when I look down and see my pale arms. I’m the only white person, and it’s jarring to realize we’re not woven from the same skin-cloth, because our hearts have so fully meshed together. But I know the truth, a truth no difference in skin color can challenge. Strangers here in Africa might look at me with a mixture of disdain and admiration, seeing me as a walking ATM, but on the church compound, we are family.
We see the beauty in our diversity, yes, but more than that — we see Jesus.
I grew up in Africa, and as a young girl, a part of me died when we returned to North America. I felt like I’d been ripped from my spiritual aunties and uncles.
Six years ago, I returned, and that part of me resurrected. But then I saw mothers unable to feed their children, fathers so discouraged they were drinking themselves to death, children so hungry they looked four when they were actually eight, grandmothers with backs bent to the ground from scraping through garbage. I saw my African family, starving to death. And everything in my life changed direction because when you realize your family is starving, you will move heaven and earth to help them.
We are family, as the body of Christ. We are all Jesus. He is our head, and we are the limbs, the heart, the hands, the feet of this incredible Savior. We are no longer Jew or Greek or African or Canadian or American. We are no longer male or female, black or white — but we are one spirit, the Spirit of the Holy Father who’s heard the cries of His family and has moved heaven and earth to help us. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Now I recognize we as a human race are very culpable of innumerable tragedies, and I don’t want to minimize the very important discussion of racial reconciliation. I recognize my own culpability in that I am sinful, and thus, I have caused division and hurt on this earth. I also recognize the culpability of my ancestors who have been very sinful, too.
It is crucial that we take time to repent, for the Spirit of God is grieving. On a personal note, I was led recently to apologize to my Zambian brother-in-law on behalf of my husband and myself, and on behalf of the white race, for anything we’ve ever done to hurt him. We know he has experienced numerous accounts of racism during his time living in both the United States and Canada. We mourn that reality.
But we must also take the next step. We must both forgive, and accept forgiveness, so we can continue to fulfill the global mission God has given us.
Because while we’re protesting, our family across the waters is dying. While we’re arguing over white fragility and black rights, countless voices in Africa are crying out for the hands of Christ to pull them out of the pits of famine and poverty.
Friends, what we’re having IS an important and divine discussion, but it can quickly turn into a demonic distraction.
I look into the eyes of my brothers and sisters from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, and South Sudan, and I see myself, reflected back through their pupils. Mirrored there in the shining windows of the soul.
We can find each other, in one another, if we look hard enough.
And the more we look, the more we’ll realize we’re actually staring into the face of Jesus.
Even as we’re staring into the face of Jesus, friends, He is giving us His heart for those not only starving for physical food, but for spiritual food — people starving to death spiritually and going to hell because they have no one to pull them out of the pit. In fact, it’s become a constant tugging at our spirits, as we’ve realized God is preparing the entire world for an enormous harvest — a harvest ripened by the sorrows of a global pandemic, economic recession, riots, flooding, earthquakes, and locusts — a harvest which will rot unless the workers are raised up and sent out.
This is a vision that, over the past month of praying for unity, our African brothers and sisters have confirmed. A vision that is calling us to provide audio Bibles and raise up local missionaries and send them out two by two to the remotest villages, because the villagers are desperately hungry for spiritual food. The fields are ripe.
But they’re not just ripe in Africa. They’re ripe around the world.
In John 4 Jesus compels us to LIFT UP our eyes and see the harvest. This implies that our eyes have been downcast, which often happens in times of immense suffering and sorrow. The harvest will come during a time in which we’re tempted to doubt, to pull inward, to take care of ourselves. But it’s exactly then that we need to RISE UP as a church and shine.
Will you join us? Will you pray and ask God to send out workers into this harvest? And will you go out, too, and share the good news of Jesus Christ?
He is such a faithful Father. May I boast in Him about all of you? During this pandemic, in spite of all of the job loss and economic insecurity, He hasn’t failed (through you) to provide everything our Lulu families need, and more. So, thank you. For giving. For loving. For serving the least of these.
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12)
May our Loving Father meet you exactly where you are, right in this moment, and assure you of His divine presence which will give you everything you need, each hour of your life. And may the vision of a divine harvest stretching to the horizon fill you with fresh purpose for such a time as this.