• Jeremy M. Sipe

Fighting for King'ong'o

Excerpts from my Personal Journal

Through the past year of ministry in the village of King'ong'o, the enemy has attacked in many ways, trying to tear down what God has been trying to build up. He has discouraged through jealousies, blatant attacks, thieves, and even through seemingly pious religion.

In the book of John, chapter ten, Jesus tells the Pharisees about false teachers who would lead people astray. He speaks to them in the parable of the good shepherd, saying that there is one door to the sheep and that the one who enters that door is the shepherd. Anyone who tries to get at the sheep any other way is the same as a thief and robber. The sheep hear the shepherd's voice, and because they know His voice, they will follow Him. Other voices they don't know and will not heed, but will flee from them because they are strange voices leading to destruction. Unfortunately, some do not recognize the shepherd's voice and have left the fold to follow the way of deception. A false shepherd may do good for them for a time, but when they see wolves coming after their sheep, they will not go before them like the true shepherd but will leave them. Therefore, the wolves will scatter and destroy them because there is no one there to protect them. Those 'shepherds' are just hirelings who care not for the sheep; they only use them for their own benefit. The Good Shepherd knows the sheep and is willing even to lay His life down for the sheep.

Many are persuaded through false promises and deception. But those who would be loyal to Him should learn to recognize His voice! They should learn His word and know what TRUTH is. They should recognize the true shepherd. That is why we are here. We are not here to just fund business ventures and give money for school fees and uniforms. We are here to teach people how to recognize the voice of Jesus and to understand God's true word!

Some have come to accuse us of using people in the village who are 'not good' in their words — those who struggle with addiction, alcoholism, and lust. Yes, on our land and present in our Bible studies: we have prostitutes coming to find help. We have addicts and alcoholics, who sometimes raise their hands to be prayed for and other times ramble in a drunken stupor. We have thieves who have stolen from others in the same crowd, and from us. We have murderers and those with murderous intent, who have confessed to me personally that they struggle with thoughts of killing their friends and relatives. We have families of witchdoctors and those who go to them for spells against us, adulterers, spouse abusers, wretchedly poor people who live in little more than holes in the ground, the same who get no support or recognition from others in the community. But in the book of Luke, chapter fourteen, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about humility and then goes on to tell of the 'great supper.' He talks about all those being bidden and their excuses as to why they cannot come. So, the master of the house tells his servant, "Go into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind... go and compel them to come in."

Yes, we have alcoholics who do labor jobs for us, and a former alcoholic under contract with us who struggles at times with temptation. We have drug addicts coming into our home and recovering addicts living there. We have many poor and dirty children who play there every day. If you knew where I came from, you would say that I am unqualified too. That is why I can relate to so many in this community; because I have been there! And those are the people God is calling! While the self-proclaimed 'good' church people have been busy about their own lives, they have not been around to volunteer any assistance, even during this terrible pandemic, when there has been nothing else to do. But guess who has been there? The unworthy. The outcast! Jesus said of those men who were bidden initially but were too busy to come: they shall not even taste His supper. Anyone who thinks they are too good to be around 'lesser' people, or anyone who thinks they deserve better treatment because of who they are, will not receive of what God wants to do in this community – because you love yourselves and your own voice, but you do not know the voice of the shepherd.

"They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Those who are hungry for more and willing to work on areas of their lives in which they struggle are those God will use. And those willing to work for the goodness of the community and better themselves are those we will use, and the same I believe will be blessed in the future ministry here. Some continually say that things are ‘not good’ at our site, and that there is ‘much division caused by our ministry’, and that things in the community are ‘worse because of these people’ being used. I propose to you: water is now flowing freely in a once barren land. Children have a roof over their heads and full bellies, who before were living exposed to the elements and digging through trash heaps to survive. Alcoholics are, for the first time, enjoying a reality that is not blurred by chemicals. Drug addicts are free from their bondage. And many people have received medical treatment, including children, who otherwise never would have had the opportunity, many of which very possibly would have perished by now. Homes have been literally saved from destruction because of the Gospel being preached! There are still those who struggle with alcohol, many who are bound by drugs, and souls lost by the thousands in King'ong'o, but I still say that things are so much better. Sure, there is division, as there will be anywhere the Gospel is preached, but I recognize that most of the division right now is coming from self-righteous individuals who feel that others are not 'worthy' of the help that God is bringing to this village. To you, I will say, His sacrifice is for ALL!

Amid this battle, I can understand why it is easy for those complaining to turn to a religion that teaches and rewards 'works' when those works are only self-justifying or self-edifying. They don't have to get their hands dirty. It's easier to close your eyes to those suffering. And it is easier for them to leave a good church that is helping the community, rather than to see those, who for so long have been bound by addictions, now succeeding them in their faith. But human excuses will not stand on judgment day! Grace is offered to all who will receive it. And no church will be blessed in jealousies and pride, but in humility. There is still a great work to do, as Jesus said in verse sixteen of the tenth chapter of John, "…other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."

- John 10:10-11 (the very first bible verses I memorized after being saved at the age of 18, coming out of severe drug and alcohol addiction)

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