The Word on the Street - 4.20.2023
The Chinese have 11 words for what we call “white” in English, or so I have heard. I was in China, once upon a time, but I didn’t get the undertones there either. White is the color of death in China. I saw a bride and groom on the Bund, a promenade on the bank of the Huangpu river in Shanghai, and the bride was wearing red, the traditional color.
We also took LWCC’s newest missionary, Miriam, visiting from the Czech, to the tidal basin in DC on the last day of the Cherry Blossom festival, the thousands of cherry trees gifted as a token of friendship at various times in the last century by the Japanese government. We saw a bride and groom under the trees there also and the bride was wearing the traditional white, matching the petals falling like snow from the trees.
After World War II, there was an artistic movement called Benigirai, “red-avoiding pictures”, in Japan. I join with that artistic movement against war, which we all need to raise together for the sakes of the people of Ukraine. There are brothers from the TMAI center in Kyiv, which was bombed, a mission we support, who are risking their lives on the Eastern front to reach soldiers, both Ukrainian and Russian, with the gospel because they have found an openness to the Word that wasn’t there before. Nonetheless, we must pray with these soldiers, all our brothers and sisters, for peace, the end to this insane bloodbath, the restoration of the red-avoiding picture in Ukraine.
We think of heaven being “white” in our imaginations, drawn from the clouds in the sky above us, I suppose. I jokingly suggested to my loving wife that she had the walls painted the color of heaven as a not-so-subtle hint for this old man to move along smartly! But I imagine the undertone of every alabaster street in heaven must be blood-red like the cross of Jesus!
I posted in my family chat on Easter morning, “He is risen!”.
I was met with a veritable deluge of rabbits, eggs, flowers, all sorts of pagan fertility imagery in response.
I shared from Proverbs 9:10:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
I also included an illustration from The Canterbury Tales:
May the Lord bring conviction to my family of the empty lies of the three enemies; the flesh, the world and the Devil and the truth of grace and mercy through the atonement of our sins through the death and the resurrection of our savior.
We were sorry to see Brian back on the street. He said he had some bad news he wouldn’t share the day before Easter so we discussed what good news, the hope and joy we have found, Easter is.
Please pray for our brother Brian. It is my sense that there is some kind of demonic assault on his mind, that he cannot work as he so wants to work out of his homeless situation, become respectable again, because of the delusions arising in his mind. Please pray that he would be protected on this front by the 12 legions of angels Jesus could have called to defend Him in the garden of Gethsemane but He did not call out to them. May they form an impenetrable hedge around the soul of our brother. I did not see him last week and I fear for him.
I thank the Lord for Wayne and Kim Cooley. They are at the center of this ministry, not I. It is their tables we pile high with our offerings. It is their music everyone hears. It is their love for the homeless that makes the ministry happen, God reaching through our feeble arms to embrace these poor folk. Pray for them, for surely Satan wants to drag them down. But there are twelve legions of angels shining in the darkness we can call upon through our Lord. I praise God for Wayne and Kim, our leaders. May the angels watch over them.
And Jamie cracks me up. There was a woman shivering the cold morning before Easter. But Jamie saw her drawing too close to your humble narrator and took action, coming right over and introducing herself as my wife! I had to laugh about that and Sheri my true wife laughed, grateful that Jamie had played her role while she was working. Whatever fellow who finally comes her way, may he have the wisdom to truly see the great treasure our Jamie is. Her temporary husband can attest!
Jeff and his son have joined our ministry team. They served a long time as a missionary family in China, in Tibet, I think, where the air is thin, where it is hard to breathe. The capital of Tibet, Lhasa, is the highest city on earth at 10,000 feet above sea level. Any time a missionary comes home from a long mission, I have heard it can be a difficult adjustment. Jeff brings such peace and grace to our ministry. From the highest mountains in the world, the clear, cold air just under the roof of the world. I felt His Presence at the base of El Capitan, , a much lower peak. We need to pray for our new brother and his family, in Jesus’ precious name!
Tracy helps with street ministry when she is able and we have also started an ESL class together on Saturday mornings afterwards. It was my privilege to serve with Tracy, who has a very good command of Spanish. We had over a dozen students from the Dominican Republic last Saturday who spoke barely a word of English and if not for Tracy there would not have been a class!
It was my privilege, my pleasure, to translate Juan 3:16 into English for them:
Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. For God so loved the world…please pray for Tracy and I, please pray for these new arrivals in this country, that not only English but the Living Word also would quicken their hearts and minds. May they be welcomed as strangers in the name of Jesus (Matthew 25:35-40)
What is the best paint, then?
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all transgressions. (Proverbs 10:12)
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
I wish I had time to share about the two Kens, Terry, Denise, so many wonderful servants the Lord has provided for the mission on the street which Mike Bongo has pronounced so well when he says “to go out and give ‘em heaven”.
It is the love between us, our fellowship as his servants we share, that offers a glimpse through the glass darkly of our common brokenness, what we deeply and earnestly pray will be their eternal life in heaven together with us. May their weary eyes see the light in the darkness that is Jesus whose love is the best paint of all!
And that is the Word on the Street!
For more information, or to learn how to join us in reaching people for Jesus, please email Living Water’s Director of Outreach, Mike Bongo, at email@example.com and he will get you plugged in! You will be blessed as you become a blessing to others!