In this new year’s first prayer season, I join the Psalmist in giving thanks “in the great congregation: I will praise you among your people” (Ps 35.18). As we get into 2022, let us take this prayer season as a moment to praise and thank the Lord ‘in the hearing of others in our family and among those around us in the ministry of African Enterprise.’ It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Highest (Ps 92.1). The first and obvious thing to praise the Lord for is for life. Life remains the Lord’s primary gift. We are all aware of many close to us and others afar that have passed on in 2021. But we are still here. Is it not by His mercies that we are? Yes, indeed and for this we owe thanks to the Lord God for sustaining us this far!
African Enterprise at 60
One of the major reasons for us at African Enterprise to praise and say thanks to the Lord is our turning 60 in 2022. What we began as a fledgling work in 1962, was recently brought to our 60th Anniversary Taskforce Committee by Ms Charity Kivengere (Chairperson AE@60). She directed us to Michael, our founder’s reflections of those early days:
“With the smog struggling in vain to chock our enthusiasm, we are vigorously assaulting the mountain of things that must be done before the new year arrives, what with visas to acquire, support to raise, a small office to establish, the Canadian deputation trip to plan and a follow-up programme to develop for us in Africa, we are certainly being kept busy. However, in spite of all there is to do, each of us, I think, is conscious of the fact that all this activity and all this preparation will be nothing more than the “chariots of Egypt” (Isaiah 31:1) unless our basic trust is in God and his enabling power.” [African Harvest (2002), Page 107]
Each of our teams can possibly look back at their national history (including support offices) and join the Israelites in declaring:
Psalm 124.1-8; If the Lord had not been on our side (let all Israel admit it), if the Lord had not been on our side, we would have been swallowed alive by our enemies, destroyed by their anger. We would have drowned beneath the flood of these men’s fury and pride. Blessed be Jehovah who has not let them devour us. We have escaped with our lives as a bird from a hunter’s snare. The snare is broken and we are free! Our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
The Lord indeed has both preserved the work of African Enterprise and our lives. As I write this, I get the chills remembering Thika Mission (Kenya) 1999. We had just finished the Professionals forum that evening. It was dark and I had to drive Professor Aseka, the guest speaker, back to his residence about 10 kilometers away. As we came to the junction exiting Thika town, I saw a bus flying horizontally past me. We met at the T junction; the little AE car that I drove went directly into this big 60-seater bus. It was so fast that before I knew it the bus and my front bumper were gone! The speeding bus stopped about 30 meters away. We were so shocked that for a moment we sat there mystified. We then made our way out of the car. The passengers from the bus equally made their way and came to find out what had remained of our car. They were as surprised as we were that we remained intact. When we looked at our car, we realised that if the bus had been just a few inches closer, it would have hit our tire and our story would have taken a different turn that day. To our dismay, traffic police officers arrived a few minutes later carrying body bags – saying according to the reports they had received they were coming to collect dead bodies. The Lord rescued us and as the saying would go, we have lived “to preach another day!”
Down AE’s memory lane are many accounts of God’s rescue. There are also testimonies of bad happenings and hard times that we have been through. There are accounts of great reconciliations such as the documentary ‘The Threatened miracle’. Yet there are also accounts of conflicts and fallouts in our 60-years history. In giving thanks, we reconcile them all. I was profoundly surprised to find in the bible, that there was a time when God asked for yeast to be included in a bread sacrifice. In Leviticus, the Thanksgiving sacrifice is recorded as the only sacrifice where bread made with yeast was offered: “Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they are to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast (Leviticus 7.13).
Note – they had to be thick loaves! Yeast, also referred to as leaven in the bible is used to symbolize sin. Something whose effect leads to something else. Thus, when the Israelites were exiting from Egypt, their bread on the night of Exodus was to be made without yeast and all sacrificial bread was to be similarly made without yeast, except in the case of the thanksgiving. It’s with the same understanding that many churches insist on communion bread, which is representative of the Lord’s body, being yeast free. How profound that the Lord would in the sacrifice of thanksgiving, call on us to have bread with yeast. No wonder we are to thank Him for all things (Phi 4.7) because ultimately, He makes all things beautiful! (Eccl 3.11). So, as we begin this celebratory year of the Lord’s workings in our lives and African Enterprise @60 – let us bring them all – let us reconcile them all at His feet – the Good and the Bad – let us in humility mix both laughter and tears as our hearts’ sacrifices unto Him!
#AfricanEnterpriseAt60 #HoldingTrue #PressingOn