Through the Flames

When I first came to Eswatini many years ago, I thought this is what Jesus must have meant by the “end off the earth” in Matthew 28. Now I know that place well – it’s Maloma, a beautiful church with belivers who deeply love the Lord. It’s the backwoods of Eswatini, sure. But I’ve change my mind, Maloma is not the end of the earth. 

Lundzi is. 

Do we have a story for you to today, friends. This morning we got in our van and drove to a place not a single one of us had been. And when I say not a single one of us, I definitely mean Xolani and Mpumelelo too who are FROM Eswatini. Nor Jimmy, who’s been to Eswatini 20+ times. Nearly 2 hours of tar road, then gravel road, then a minor encounter with a bus far too big for that gravel road, then van mountain climbing  with rocks more like boulders in the road (sorry Avis), then a half-mile hike basically straight down, we ended up at a homestead in Lundzi. 

And a group of believers gathered there. They praised. And worshipped. And poured out their hearts to Jesus. I’ve never heard such heartfelt, deep, prayers in a language I do not speak. But some things transcend language. Hearing them cry out, watching their tears pour in earnest – do I love Jesus like that? 

After lunch (which we did have to go back for, half-mile there and back) and hiking out (which was not an easy task, let me tell you), we drove home a little faster than we arrived. It’s always easier to drive a road a second time. 

And we saw flames. In Eswatini, oftentimes dry grass is burned instead of cut. As we drove down, we drove through the fire, literally, I’ve attached the photo to show you. 

There was fire, yes. But all I could see was a physical fire that represented the spiritual fire of those hungry believers in Lundzi, who walked to that homestead, up and down mountains, through rocks and grass and forests, to nourish the fire of their faith with us. Do I love Jesus like that? Do you? 

In America, it’s easy to love Jesus from our church pews with heat and air conditioning and flashy lights and booming sermons, where we all get back into our cars at the end of the gathering time to discuss what is for Sunday lunch. We’re privileged to receive Jesus in that way. But are we on fire? 

Do we so desire Jesus that we would walk mountains and valleys and forests to meet him? Do we love Jesus enough to cross oceans? Do we love Jesus enough to leave our church pews and go? To see? To witness? To learn from these believers in Lundzi? To share what we have? 

Jesus, let us be on fire for the Gospel. Let us be hungry enough to put our yes on the table. You put it one the map, even if that map leads to the end of the earth. Amen.