Tanzania Intern Reflection – CameronSeptember 7, 2012 by admin
There is a bible story that Don Rogers likes to tell about a poor widow who owns nothing but a jar of oil. She goes to Elisha, the prophet, and he tells her to borrow empty jars from her neighbors and fill them from the one full one. Because of her faith and subsequent action, the woman is rewarded with a multitude of jars filled with oil. The widow is asked to respond in demonstration of a living faith. Through the little that she had she was eventually able to pay off her debts and live off the fruits of her faith.
In 2 Kings 6 there is a story of a young man who lacks faith in the one he serves, so much so that he trembles with a great fear. As scripture is so adept at doing, it encompasses the complexity of humanity – we are capable of moments of immense faith and remarkable fear. As servant of Elisha, seeing his city surrounded by horses and chariots from the Syrian army, the young man goes to his master with this troublesome news. The servant comes before the master and, with trembling in his voice, asks him, “What should we do?” With an unwavering and otherworldly faith, the prophet pierces that fear with these words, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see!” As the words go forth from the prophet’s mouth, the servant is able to see a great heavenly army of horses and chariots of fire.
Reading this story while serving in rural Tanzania, I cannot help but substitute the Syrian army with the realities of poverty. Being here, I am constantly bombarded with the fallenness of humanity and the amount of injustice that permeates this world. Like Elisha’s servant, I stand before my Master saying, “We are surrounded. We have no escape and the problems cannot be solved.” Thankfully my Master replies, “Do not be afraid, for those that are with us are more than those that are with them.”
Poverty will be beat, whether in this life or the next, but the beauty out of the darkness is this: We get to have God open up our eyes! Through my sojourning as a young believer, I am captivated by the way God takes circumstances that can be perceived as insurmountable, and He allows for them to expand the work of His Kingdom. Empowering Lives International is a part of this Kingdom expansion. God allows us to spread his Kingdom one training at a time, like an oasis in a desert. Only this time it is not a mirage – it’s a light that shines in the darkness.
Cameron Demetre is currently serving at ELI’s Kalemela Training Center in Tanzania. He is living in community with the Yasini family.