In Acts, Jesus is described as “one who went around doing good.” And yet I regularly hear some suspicion about MCC because their main gift to the church is leading us to go around and do good — in a professional, creative , personal, inclusive way! They are accused of being unevangelistic, even though they stamp everything they distribute “in the name of Christ.”
Rather than being unevangelistic, I would say that MCC and other ways the church expresses God’s love in practical ways are the MOST evangelistic things we do in an age that is suspicious about words in general and particularly Christian ones. I don’t know how much personal evangelism you do, but when I get an opportunity I often hear about how uncompassionate the church is. Many people think we hate gay people and immigrants and anyone who does not agree with us. They think we are fierce competitors for government power to enforce the morality we don’t completely agree on among ourselves. We lament the shrinking church in the U.S. — I still think the antidote is intercession and compassion.
When I was connecting with the BIC about 30 years ago one of the main reasons I did it was because they were part of MCC. My friends had been to Kenya to study. One of the things they described were these great missionaries who went about doing good, were close to the people, and had a better reputation than other missionaries who seemed more concerned with building their organization than serving –they were called MCC, whatever that means. So I am glad we are hanging in there with MCC in a rather selfish age. I want to show people Jesus, especially the neediest.
I guess that’s what people say while on an MCC learning tour. We see a lot of good being done in our name. Today we visited the Zimbabwean bishop, were taken by his wife to visit the needy, visited with a peacemaker trying to undo the trauma visited on Matabeleland (having been in prison for his passion) — and that was just part of the day. The church is making a lot with the little they have. Jesus saves.
Here are two other special moments.
Sibo Ncube has been leading the BICC Compassionate Development Services for three years. My poor picture does not reveal what an articulate, passionate, intelligent leader she is. She is combining the elements of the hospitals, MCC projects and other efforts in a coherent framework. It is part of a new commitment to compassion by the church. She laments the lost generation who have grown up without integrity in a sea of corruption. She sees them enslaved by an atmosphere of fear and despair. She plans to lead the church to restore their historic character as a peace church and so restore the country. I pray she succeeds.
The National Parents of Disabled Children Organization has a big name for their struggling but blessed ministry. MCC had been funding a larger organization of parents with severely disabled children. The director stole the organization’s money and sold the van! A segment of the betrayed parents reorganized, found a man to build them a house and donate a van! In a country with completely inadequate and unaffordable health care, this is what you do. I am moved by them. They radiated joy. As we said our goodbyes several workers sang a song of love and danced in praise. That was worth the whole trip.
These people are going around doing good with Jesus in a needy, traumatized, and abused place. I am delighted MCC is in league with the BIC in Zimbabwe and so allows me to go around (and dance) with them as they do it.
The other Africa posts:
First thoughts from Zimbabwe
Being poor is tough
Going around doing good
Coming up against the powers
The food chain
The work of the Lord
Showing God’s love in practical ways