Monday, April 28, 2014

Carriers of Light

Yesterday was an amazing day.  We had the commissioning service and graduation for 34 Marketplace Ministers in Kitale.  It is always an exciting for me to see more Marketplace Ministers released and affirmed in what they are called to do.  This is probably the twentieth commissioning service I've been a part of and maybe the 40th graduation.  But I think this was the best yet.  I'm not sure if words and pictures can capture it - you really have to be there to experience it! - but I will try to describe why it was so meaningful to me.
First, this class was taught almost entirely by those who went through the first class in Kitale with me last Spring and have since gone through the Training of Trainers.  They worked together as a team to teach this class, with three different churches represented by the trainers.  That is a great accomplishment!  Second, this team wisely decided that if they want to reclaim the redeemed Marketplace, it needs many churches and denominations.  So they reserved half of the slots for Friends (Quakers) and the other half for other churches in Kitale.  Sixteen churches were represented in this class!  The word has gone out to all of these churches and the pastors are coming out to find out more about this new ministry - this word is spreading quite organically!  The commissionings are happening as much in possible in the home churches of the members so that it is the church that is sending these Marketplace Ministers out; the graduation was a separate event in the afternoon for all the graduates to come together and celebrate.

Pastor Jarius and wife at their home. He is also a sugar cane farmer.
Yesterday morning began with the commissioning service from the host church with Pastor Jairus Igunza, the General Secretary from the Friends (Quakers) North Annual Meeting (meaning he is important if you aren't familiar with their structure) gave a GREAT message to the Marketplace Ministers on being carriers of the light from Acts 13:47:
For this is what the Lord has commanded us:  "I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."
and Isaiah 42:6-7
I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
The class singing "How Great Thou Art" in Swahili-beautiful.
Pastor Jarius brought a lantern, a candle, and another open kerosene type light with him to demonstrate how we are different and unique light bearers.  He pointed out that without the light, these instruments are useless, but how the light needs to be carried by something - meaning us.  He told the marketplace ministers that it doesn't what they are made of, but it is important that they shine. It was also pointed out that shining a light where there is already light doesn't do much.  But shining even a weak light where there is darkness can make a big difference.  The work of shining the light, of being the church, doesn't take place within the four walls of a church - the command is to "Go" to where there is darkness.
One graduate being hugged by her pastor....notice the smiles...

...and then receiving the certificate from me...again, notice the joy.
The commissioning was then followed a celebratory graduation.  All fourteen ministers were brought up front to congratulate their members as they received their certificate.  It was a beautiful picture of so many denominations working together and joining the Marketplace Ministry movement.  The joy, as evidenced by dancing and singing was very tangible.  The graduates were then lined up and were given "encouragement" (see the tinsel leis in picture above) in a time of great joy where all family and church members were able to join in the celebration and love on their loved ones for the work and diligence in this class.  One representative speaker for the class defined Graduates as this:

G - We are to be Godly in our business; 
R - We are to be Reliable in our business.
A - We will be Admired as in 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12, winning the respect of people who observe us.
D - We need to be both Disciplined and Diligent in their work as Marketplace Ministers.

U - We will bring a greater Understanding to the Marketplace. 
A - We are Ambassadors of Christ in the Marketplace.
T - We need to work on Time Management!
E - We will be Excellent Servers, caring for the Environment, with an eye on Eternal Life
S - We will be Successful!