By Evan Pyle

Every morning at about 4 AM I heard a rustling in the house where Tim and I were staying. The light of a flashlight bounced across the ceiling and faded with the rustling of feet, followed by the banging of a door. Soon I heard soft talking that lasted fifteen minutes or more. After this, the speaker reentered the house and, after a bit of settling, all would again grow quiet. After we departed Matebete I related my experience to our able helper and interpreter Evelyn and asked if she knew what was going on. With a gentle smile she told me that this was her mother, going out for her morning prayer.

It is this kind of quiet dedication that amazes and confronts me every time we minister among our Maasai friends. That the Lord would choose comparatively soft Americans to work with such dedicated people is testimony to his ability to use the basest vessel that he alone should receive the glory. I am also reminded of the admonition to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

On past trips I have had a difficult time gauging how well the people are receiving the message. I attributed this to the language barrier and the necessary use of an interpreter. Now I think otherwise. Sometime before this trip, Tim encouraged me to prepare and deliver just as I would on any Sunday morning at our church. When I succeeded at simply being myself, the connection to the people present was obvious and immediate. Ironically, the value of "being yourself" is a message I have preached repeatedly.

Toward the end of our time in the village, Tim and I were given a tour of some areas of the village that we had not previously seen. I was unaware that Matebete village covers approximately 36 sq. km., and that the rim of the Great Rift Valley runs right through their land, a feature that rewarded us with splendid vistas of the valley below. We also viewed the remains of several large pits dug with heavy equipment by a man who was searching for buried treasure. Tanzania’s old Mbeya Road used to run through this land. It saw use in World War I when the British and the Germans were battling in the area. When the Germans were forced to retreat, they are said to have buried a considerable treasure of gold, allegedly on Matebete’s land, a treasure which has never been found.

Though we did not find physical gold, our ministry to Matebete village has revealed treasures of God-ordained purpose. When Matebete’s Maasai of all denominations unite under the banner of Christ alone, they become a beacon of light to their fellow Maasai far and wide, who in turn will be a beacon of light to their fellow Africans and beyond Africa. That we have a part to play in something so grand and dramatic is humbling and, at first blush, somewhat frightening, but is ultimately a testimony of God’s goodness, mercy, and power.



From the January 2011 issue of The Vine & Branches