Africa journal entry #7

the family

an amazing day

Thursday, July 31st, 2014  pm

The ride to the church-tent had been challenging and disturbing, but the training sessions at the church today had been absolutely phenomenal.  I finished my instruction on serving and leading with a talk on the value of working together as a family in ministering the gospel.  I had a picture of my family to use as a simple illustration.  It shows my wife and me, our three daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. The LORD impressed upon me that I should walk around and show everyone that picture, and talk about my family’s testimony and history.  I shared how this family is a gift to me, and that many trust me to minister the gospel to them because of the integrity they see in my family. 

The trainees were hooked!  They wanted families like that.  One older gentleman in the group admitted that his wife was a snare for his ministry.  I felt so bad for him; I told him that I would pray for him right then.  But before I did, several others confessed that they had similar problems.  So, we had those few men sit in the center of the sanctuary, and all the rest of us formed a circle, surrounding them and stood  facing them.  I asked everyone of those standing to extend their hands toward those in the center, and I prayed for God to work a miracle in their lives, giving them the godly families they need to minister in his name.  It was amazing.  These men were overjoyed.  We had found and addressed a major need, and were confident that the LORD wanted to meet that need.

IMG_20140801_141536_478My plan for the rest of the day was to give an overview of Advent Christian theological distinctives.  I was very concerned because I did not want the visiting leaders from other traditions to feel that they were being attacked.  So, I explained that these distinctives were not gospel essentials, like the Lordship of Christ, the authority of Scripture, or salvation by grace.  I asked everyone to accept these teaching on the distinctives as my testimony, and to avoid defensive or divisive in their response, either way,  They did exactly that.

I finished teaching at 4pm, because Bryce and I expected to be picked up and brought back to the hotel in the city.  But, as always, there were several questions.  One of the questions was on the subject of women in ministry.  I knew that was a controversial subject in Africa – and just about everywhere else.  But the LORD’s Spirit was present, and they were delighted with my answer on this very complicated subject.

The amazing day was not over yet.  It turned out that our driver had not known that we planned to be picked up at 4pm.  He arrived sometime after six.  In the meantime, several of the women, and one teenage boy began an impromptu concert of African gospel songs.  As they sang and played and danced, another woman gave Bryce and me the translation of some of the songs.


“Since I claim to be a Christian

but I don’t like my friends

God in heaven

doesn’t like me.”

“If I bring my bible to church

but I don’t like my friends

and I don’t like my pastor

God doesn’t like me.”


Me, I’m the door

whoever comes through the door will have eternal life.

There are others who try to go through the window.

They are brigands.



“I will not eat this meal again

until I eat with you

in the heavens.”



Bryce and I arrived at the hotel too late to do anything but have supper, and then a wonderful discussion until about 10pm.  I was thankful to have stayed awake that long, thinking that I might just sleep through the night for a change. Wouldn’t that be a great way to end this amazing day?

Author: Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at -- !

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