Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Journey of Obedience

Obedience is the highest form of worship. If we love God, we should obey him

Source: Exhortation
Five years ago, this month I packed two suitcases and got on a plane to Burundi having said a big ‘yes’ to Papa God to step out to the unknown of a missionary life overseas. Recently, I was asked to share some of my story and I’ve found myself reflecting on this journey of obedience. I couldn’t have planned or written the story myself, but God has clearly weaved this beautiful, and sometimes painful, journey into existence:

The resignation letter… I clearly remember sitting with my boss, at a big London children’s hospital where I worked as a Pharmacist, with the letter shaking in my hand. I passed it to him and when he read the letter he asked me what I was going to do when I leave. The truth was, I didn’t know. I guessed something to do with mission work, but there was no clear plan, and if you know me I always have a plan. A plan for the day, a plan for the week, a plan for food, a plan for holidays, a plan for gifts, a plan for church activities, a plan for……. and here I was without a clear plan for the next step, post resignation. My boss handed me back the letter and encouraged me to keep the letter until I had plan. We played ‘pass the letter tennis’ for a few minutes as I shared that God had asked me to hand in my resignation, which I was now doing in obedience.

Preparation time… After finishing my job, I moved to All Nations Christian College and did a three month ‘En Route to Mission’ course with an idea I would go to Burundi as a missionary. God was so kind, as amongst the 13 students on the course there was a man from Burundi, which was a little confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time. From there I went to Burundi for a month to visit organisations and then on to Mozambique where I participated in Iris Global Harvest School for the first time. God knew I needed to receive His love and be completely transformed and forever changed so I could serve Him here in Burundi.

Feet on the ground… I arrived in Burundi with a two-week plan to stay with Burundian friends. The two weeks turned into seven months and I not only immersed myself in the culture, but learnt the language, as well as what stepping out in faith looks like. Looking back God gave such a grace for that time. I remember the laughter I caused the family with my screams when the rats (well probably big mice) ran over my face in the bed, the visitors, the different foods and the day I got caught in the floods and had to be carried over a river.

Source: Read My Bible Study -
Overcoming fear… Sometimes our journey requires us to overcome fear. It was a few days after the family first let me out by myself. I came back from town on the bus and as I walked across a dirt school playground I noticed a young man who had followed me from church on numerous occasions, was suddenly alongside me. Fear set in, the real deal fear that chokes at the neck. He had found me. I turned around and half-ran half-tripped back to the main road and just jumped into a passing taxi. The next day I had a choice – do I go out again by myself or let fear control me? I was reminded of a key life verse; Romans 8:15 ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’. So, I decided to not live in fear, but as a Child of God to walk in confidence and knowing my inheritance and that I could ask God to hide me supernaturally if the young man was there.

Angels all around… I will never ever know the number of times angels have protected me here in Burundi. One day clearly sticks in my mind when I drove my good friend and her new baby to the vaccination clinic. They were both in the front passenger seat with no seatbelt. It was a clear good road and I remember driving at about 45mph on the dual carriageway. A bus parked at the side of the road pulled out and started driving across the dual carriageway in front of me to turn the other way. I slammed on the brakes, but knew we were not going to stop in time. My only option was to shout ‘Jesus’, and the next thing I knew the steering wheel had turned and the car came to a stop a finger gap from the turning bus. A miracle.

A move to the mountains… A year later God moved me up into the mountains to serve the beautiful TCOAC (The Cries of a Child) family. I had read many previous blogs about the joys and tears of being on the frontline in a rural Burundian village, especially babies needing milk as their mamas had died in childbirth. Opening a medical clinic and working on logistics such as no fuel for the generator which was needed for the oxygen machine. One of the babies was heavily dependent on oxygen! The journey there was clearly God, but there were days I literally started to pack my suitcase to leave, but I kept hearing God’s gentle whisper, ‘Don’t run away’ and I reluctantly unpacked my bag. That is where I really grew, in character, in using my gifts, in leadership, and in learning to trust and of course, it was in my obedience of staying that I met Claude!

Journey of obedience… So, what is the point of me sharing all this? Well, I think I am so challenged about obedience and continuing to walk on this journey of obedience and want to encourage you on your journey. Obedience is the highest form of worship. If we love God, we should obey him (see John 14:15,21,23). At church yesterday morning, the Preacher spoke about how Abram had to be obedient in Genesis 12:1-2 ‘The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing’.

We often want the blessing and our name to be made great, but obedience comes before the blessing. Please hear me, I can give you many examples of getting it wrong, of being disobedient, of falling short, and messing it up. Pray for me to hear God and to walk in obedience! Pray for Claude and I to hear God and to walk in obedience so we can be a blessing to the Nation of Burundi. May God bless you.

Author: Ruth Baraberewe

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. Listening and reading God's Word is important in our day to day lives, however obeying God's Word is what deepens our relationship with Him. This testimony shows us what God can do and how He will use us if we are simply obedient to Him. God will not call us all to missionary work in other parts of the world however He may give us something much closer to home, which will require our faith and obedience. The blog made me think 'how does God want me to be obedient today?' A thought provoking testimony and thank you for sharing. God bless.

  2. Thank you dear sister in Christ for taking the time to share your testimony. ALL the Glory to God ALWAYS.

    God please help your Church to rise up in obedience and move in the power of the Holy magnificent Spirit, help your Church to move in unity to save the lost where ever you have stationed us to be, for your Kingdom and your Glory I pray.

    It will be a pleasure to cover you Ruth and Claude in our prayers.
    God Bless you and keep you both safe (numbers 6 24-26)

  3. thank you for sharing your experience in Burundi with us it was very encouraging and will be a blessing for the body of Christ .
    I agree very much what you said about our toil in the Lord being worship back to God . everything we do is worship to God . in the workplace, Church events , caring for family and friends, caring for everything in Gods world . What we do with our God given abilitys , is our gift back to God , we must receive our work before us as our opportunity for communion with God , to work and build with him , we are priests in our daily work .
    I will certainly pray for you and Claude to be always in his perfect will for your life , and that your steps will be ordered of the Lord all the days of your life. God Bless you .travel well x

  4. Thank you so much for the words you have written to encourage the body of Christ it is true when we are obedience to God the blessings always follow. We will continue to cover both you and Claude in our prayers may the peace and blessings of the Almighty God always be with you in what ever you do to bring glory and honour to his name may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all Amen