Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why We Tell Our Stories

   I am sure that many of you who read our blog have often wondered why we tell our stories. Sometimes our posts may be a little "more reality" than you would like to read. But, my friends, the Gospel is messy. To be an ambassador of Grace is not an easy feat in a fallen and dying world. If we take our real experiences and cover them in any way, then we are ashamed of Grace, the Gospel, and God. We are debtors to the Tanzanians and the rest of the World(Romans 1:14) because we have received Grace and our calling as Missionaries to bring about the obedience of faith among the Tanzanians(and the rest of the World) for His name's sake(Romans 1:5). Freely we received and freely we give, or we nullify Grace. I think that scripture stands alone and does not need any help from me to clarify. So, listen to Romans 15:15-19, and join us in taking the Grace that you have freely received to your neighborhood, your city, your country, and the nations.

                                                                 Romans 15:15-19
     But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a Missionary of Christ Jesus to the Tanzanians(and the World), ministering as a Missionary the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Tanzanians(the lost of the World) may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Tanzanians(lost of the World) by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from America and round about as far as Tanzania(the ends of the World) I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

   We tell our stories so that you can rejoice in our hardships and victories alike. Through them we pray that you see an unending stream of Grace and obedience. We consider it ALL joy, my friends, when we encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance(James 1:2-3). Because of our debt to Grace and the Gospel we are indebted to everyone in every nation that has not heard of this Grace.

Until Everyone Has Heard,
The Cogdills

Saturday, February 15, 2014

When Love Fills Your Basket

 I have spent my entire life talking and teaching.  I never understood why God had given me the power of the spoken word but for some reason that is how he made me. Now, I can look back and see that it is a blessing. Now, I talk and teach in  two languages all day long but it has begun to wear on me a little. By about 5pm my mouth and my body just shut down. I literally find my self collapsing on the bed and laying there for hours in complete silence. The sound of the wind and local wildlife are my allies drifting me into a peaceful worship. I pray for God to sustain me and refresh me so that tomorrow I can be salt and light. Just like the rising of the sun, He provides all that I need. So, each day I head out and greet my fellow brother and sisters, teach two Tanzanian girls in Swahili and English, correct the studies of my own children, and provide ESL for four Tanzanian Mommas. So my body goes through the movements of the day switching from Kellee the American to Kellee the Tanzanian Missionary. Back and forth, back and forth, until I fall into the slumber of my dreams which thank God are always in perfect English.

The other day, as I headed into town, I found myself at the end of the road and I didn't know how I had gotten there. I had walked all the way into town without any mental remembrance. I recognized the signs from all my training, I was exhausted. Long days and long hours had finally caught up with me.  I stood for a while watching the traffic and then I took and deep breath and headed to the market. Everyday my friends in town expect to see me. They expect me to sit and talk for a while, share a cup of tea, greet them and their families. On that day, I didn't want to be me. I just wanted to be invisible. I wanted to enter and exit without a word, without a hand shake, without any contact what so ever.

I headed to my favorite Muslim lady, Mama Helen, to buy some fruit and vegetables. I could not even utter out what I needed. Standing there I thought to myself, "If I open my mouth to say one word, all that is going to come is tears. Lord, I am doing all that I can to stand at this point, would you please fill my basket?" Mama Helen knows me and what I buy in the market.  So, while all of these thoughts were reeling in my head, something in my brain triggered my hand to reach out. So, I reached out and grabbed on to Mama Helen's arm. At this point, she rescued me. How is that possible? The Muslim rescue the Christian? It is supposed to be the other way around. Today God showed me that He shines His light on the lost and found alike. The same sun that rose for me today is the same sun that brought light to Mama Helen. God's love is for all the world. And, when one of His children is in need He can use anyone or anything to demonstrate His love. On this day he used Mama Helen to fill my basket.

God was not showing me a general love that he offers to the world, or a sustaining love that gives sun and rain to His enemies and children alike, but on this day, He was showing me the love that He has for His bride. He was keeping me. He was working in me what was pleasing in His sight( Hebrews 13:21). He was saying to me that nothing can separate you from Me, and I will go to any length possible (even using a non-believer) to demonstrate My love for you. I have not called you to wear you down. But, if you ever feel that way, I will take great lengths to refresh you and hold you.

O that God would grant you to know this love. Take hold of its power, savor it, and rest in it. Spend the rest of your life commending it to everyone you know. I know that I will because I am daily changed by the love of God. What about you?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

When Waves Come and Our Feet Fail

Our Prayer.

Increase our borders and our trust, Lord.
Until Everyone Has Heard.
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.