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Ahepe, alive and moving forward

January 26, 2010

I wasn’t real surprised when I arrived in Ahepe unannounced and couldn’t find anyone.  I had heard nothing from them in the previous year and honestly didn’t expect a lot after hearing of a possible rift between them and their neighbor Tabligbo  over a recent church conference.  I was met by Faly’s older brother who lazily lounged on the same church bench that he has used for the last seven years for his daily rest under the same shade tree in front of their family’s compound.  Faly, the industrious brother, was off in his farms.  Within thirty minutes or so, Faly’s wife shows up, and then later one of the promising future leaders, named John, arrived as well.  John procured a bike and was off like a flash to Faly’s fields.  An hour later, Faly arrived for a joyful reunion.  At this point, I’m not expecting much of a report, in fact, I never expected much from the church that began by the trash heap in a place as dark as Ahepe.  For years we had given Ahepe advice, whether they wanted it or not and they hadn’t followed it, so in many ways this was a call on old friends.  I accompanied them to the building, which from my previous vantage point looked fine.  I had given them a little advice two years ago, to fortify one of the exterior walls with cement to protect it from an ever broadening stream.  They hadn’t done it and low and behold, the entire wall had been washed away.  I sat down beside it, thinking, same old Ahepe.  Boy was I wrong.  I geared up after the greetings and began my “encouragement” asking them when, if ever, they would follow through on the teachings they had received and I noticed the hurt in their faces and the confusion.  They stopped me and began informing me and shocking me with the growth they were experiencing and the spiritual reputation they had been building in their community since I had been gone.  They had followed through and were bearing the subsequent fruit form their efforts.  Convicted I was, having judged them by mere appearances.  The church itself had grown by twenty percent in the previous year and was established in the community as the group that sought to know and obey God’s word.  What more could I have asked or prayed for?  Once again, yet another wonderful surprise from my trip.

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