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  • Linda Abwa

Grace, peace and growth

Stories of kingdom leaven

'The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.' (Matthew 13:33).

The leaven of grace

Rev. William Haddow died in 1924, just two short years after arriving as a CMS Mission Partner in Maridi, in what is now South Sudan. He had spent his life in the hope that God would use him to draw people to Himself. When Rev Haddow passed away, eight people in Maridi had responded to the message of redemption by faith.

During the Sunday service of centenary celebrations in Maridi Diocese, 350 people were confirmed into the Church that God planted through those eight new believers. Over 100 years, the Church has been growing little by little, from person to person, until Maridi Diocese now worships and serves God with believers in seven strong archdeaconries. The Kingdom of Heaven is like this!

The faithful trace of God’s leaven of grace in the history of Maridi is astounding in its Kingdom growth.

The leaven of peace

In another part of the global Church, (which I won’t identify for security reasons) the Kingdom of Heaven is like a team of believers visiting, caring for and sharing Christ with prisoners from around the world.

In Leviticus, the only leavened bread that was to be presented as a sacrifice was the peace offering. The following testimony (from one of the prison team members) powerfully expresses how, through these prison visits, the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven of peace that transcends all boundaries – affirming that God’s salvation and hope reach beyond nationalities, religion and circumstance.

“Thanks be to the Almighty God for giving me peace in prison.”
Before he was imprisoned, MAC did not understand the true meaning of peace. He did not have peace with God, nor was he at peace with himself.
MAC was born into a Christian family, but he never trusted or believed in God. But inside prison, everything changed; he met his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when Jesus came to MAC in a dream. In this dream, Jesus spoke to him, and asked him what he needed. MAC told Jesus that he needed freedom from prison. Jesus responded that while he could be free from prison, freedom without peace is nothing. He said that MAC would never be happy with his life, even after he was released from prison. After MAC woke from this dream, he prayed to God for peace.
“God gave me peace with Him, peace with the people around me, and peace with myself.”
God responded to MAC’s prayer. God provided him with true, lasting peace. But He also gave MAC more than that; He gave him a mission inside the prison. God called him to be His servant, an ambassador, and a minister for His Kingdom to those inside the prison. God blessed him with the responsibility to care for the flock there. God has not only transformed MAC’s life, but he has used him to reach out to others in the prison with similar struggles.
“He will never leave me, and never forsake me. Let us have peace with God, and enjoy life with Him forever. Blessed be His holy name.”
The Diocese’s Prison Ministry seeks to inspire and encourage those such as MAC. The foreign inmates are often very far from home and separated from their family and friends. They are lost and alone. The Prison Ministry team, however, steps in to serve them, and helps them find hope despite their dismal circumstances. Their time in prison is not just time spent serving a sentence, but it is an opportunity for spiritual revival, and an opportunity for them, like MAC, to find the lasting peace that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.”

New beginnings

.A new diocese is emerging in Eastern DR Congo – it will be called Lac Tanginika. We introduced you to Bishop Elisha Tendwa in the Spring 2021 edition of inMission alongside the picture of the woman working leaven into the dough. It is our joy to also remember the areas where the working of that dough is just beginning.

A new diocese is emerging in Eastern DR Congo – it will be called Lac Tanginika. We introduced you to Bishop Elisha Tendwa in the Spring 2021 edition of inMission. Coming from Tanzania to support the mission of the Church in DR Congo, he has made a journey from home to the unknown, similar to the one that William Haddow made 100 years ago. Working with marginalised people groups and remote rural parishes, Bishop Elisha is also leading the Church to break common boundaries.

Recently, CMSI was able to facilitate support from the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland for the burgeoning Diocese of Lac Tanginika, to purchase motorbikes for the four archdeaconries along with some bicycles. Bishop Tendwa shared the testimony of one of the archdeacons:

“It is truly when you are serving God in love and faithfulness that you receive blessings from him. Our eyes never expected to see this miracle to receive motorbikes for pastoral visit, because for a long time we were walking by foot for long distances. Now it will be easier and happier to serve God’s people. Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 says “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” We thank God that the time arrived for us as church ministers to dance for this gift we received.”

The people of God will spread his grace and peace ever wider with the new transport in Eastern DR Congo. Many of our Global Partners continue to cross boundaries through prison ministry. And so grows the Kingdom of God, which is like leaven worked through dough.

After the centenary celebrations, Bishop Moses of Maridi Diocese signed off his email: “I am now available for a further page of a new 100 years.” This is what the Kingdom of God is like.

Linda Abwa

Partnership Coordinator



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