John 21 v 9 reads:
And so, when they got on to land, they saw a fire already laid and fish placed on it. Jesus said to them come and have breakfast.
This sounds good to me!
While stacking firewood at our home in the UK, preparing for the upcoming winter, my attention turned to thoughts of fire and the need we have for it. For most, it is essential for daily survival, for warmth or for the preparation of food. It can be both very destructive, as seen in the recent forest fires, as well as a positive tool for good. Used creatively, it can enhance our lives, through its use in the process of producing things such as pottery vessels or pieces of fine art.
Fire is also associated with purification. The production of pure gold requires heat by fire to separate out the impurities. I prefer to think about BBQs, breakfast, and friends to be honest!
I recently lost a cousin, aged 50 with a husband and three children to cancer. As she was making the journey from her failing physical body to an eternal one, she remained loving, faithful, creative, and somewhat feisty. She was all too well aware her days were numbered and she lived them to the full. She, and her family, provided a home and food for many international students visiting their town for studies. As a family they support an orphaned boy in Uganda. The testimony of her impact was beautifully relayed by family and friends at her memorial service.
A bit tenuous I appreciate, but I couldn’t help joining the dots of fire, food provision and a life well lived in the service of others. The supreme example being Jesus.
Here at CPA, we are mindful of how our work carries eternal consequences. But right here and now in partnership with our co-workers in Africa, we can lovingly, positively, creatively, and faithfully keep the fire burning in the lives we are impacting for Jesus. For those of us ‘not on the ground’, we can still be part of the story through our prayers.
With a focus on our work in the North Kigezi Diocese, Uganda, let us pray for:
- Esther, Adeera, Nelson, and Naome, all committed social workers who proactively look out for the caregivers and children on the projects. They are lives lived in service. Pray for their well-being and that of their families.
- They recently organised Centre days for the 80 project children, who gathered to learn about health education with a focus on both physical and spiritual growth. Pray that what was learned would strengthen each child.
- The new school term started on September 18th – Pray that all the children, including those on the scheme, would flourish in positive, creative surroundings.
- Training was given to the caregivers who are part of some relatively new savings groups. This has allowed many to begin to move up, out and away from poverty. Examples of what they are doing include growing coffee, peanuts, vegetables, farming animals (including a new litter of piglets!) The owner was delighted to be able to purchase some clothes and shoes for her family from the profits made in selling them. Let’s pray for the success of the new groups.
- Patience, an experienced trainer in Self-help groups, brought fun and challenging, but uplifting, training to all. She focused on working together, enhancing leadership skills, improving self-esteem, poverty reduction, helping each other in times of emergency and promoting a savings culture. Let’s pray for good friendships to be established within the groups as families begin to support each other.
- Training in positive parenting was also carried out. Encouragement on how the caregivers could both practically and spiritually look after themselves and children was given. Let’s pray that the caregivers would catch a glimpse of their potential for a positive impact on their children, each other, and their community.
- Thank God for creativity, which is central to who he is and is also placed in our hearts. One care giver was delighted to tell us about a new recipe that the family were enjoying, that she had created from the spinach her child had planted at one of the centre days. As it involves spinach, I may not adopt it! Another was making passion fruit juice to sell in her retail shop.
- Let’s continue to pray that as the cloud of poverty is lifted, people will begin to think positively about their future, while always remembering those around them in their community.
- Can we all pray for Rebecca, a child on the project, who was involved in a motorcycle accident that fractured her leg. We would love to see a full recovery with no long-term after effects.
- Finally let’s pray for those in positions of power who make decisions affecting all. We pray their decisions would be made with the poor in mind and that their own hearts would be focused towards the ultimate, fire laying, breakfast making, servant KING Jesus.