Launch week has arrived for my new book Learning and Leading in the Land of a Thousand Hills. As the book launches, I also have to confess that a new day has arrived for me.
On Sunday, Pastor Tim delivered a profound and impactful message. He passionately expressed his wish that more people, “ordinary people,” like you and me, need to share their encounters with Jesus authentically. Tim felt that doing so will help to lead more to do what Jesus said, “Come follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people” (Matthew 4:19). Tim shared that openly expressing our encounters with Jesus will help to facilitate more people following Jesus and bringing others along to follow him.
Tim’s message challenged me to look back and see where I have encountered Jesus in my life. Reflecting on the highs, lows and plateaus of my journey, I can now see that I have met Jesus more frequently than I was aware. I am more mindful of it today than in years past. I now recognize those encounters with more awareness and embrace them, resulting in a stronger faith and commitment in following Jesus. However, my feeling is that my efforts in sharing openly with the intent of bringing others to Jesus are frankly not up to par.
I know the reason. It is fear. Fear has prompted a stubborn refusal to let all know authentically and without reservation that I am a Christ-follower and that I have a responsibility to help bring others to Jesus. I have not always extended the trust and authenticity to those whom I do not have a close friendship or relationship. Tim’s message pointed out that I have fallen short. I feel I have not been inclusive but rather exclusive and neglected making all aware of my commitment to Christ. I am honest with those who are in my circle of comfort, but not so with those outside of that circle. I want this to change and Tim’s message inspired me to see this change.
Tim’s message is timely. Especially as I launch my new book that describes my experiences and encounters serving with the Wellspring Foundation for Education, a Christ-centered organization committed to changing the lives of thousands of Rwandan people through the provision of a quality educational program.
With the publishing of Learning and Leading in the Land of a Thousand Hills, I can no longer hide behind the fact that I am a follower. If you read the book, you will clearly understand that Jesus has influenced my life. I describe this in many of the chapters in the book. I also do not sit on the fence and fear professing my belief, faith and walk with Jesus. And I share that my contributions in Rwanda has played a role in influencing others to come alongside and follow Jesus.
Tim’s message has challenged me to do more actively. To honestly share with all of my family, friends, colleagues, community members with conviction, my story of how Jesus has transformed my life. To not be afraid of sharing the calling and the responsibility of making “fishers of people.” To not be fearful of declaring my truth, because if I can share openly within my circle of comfort, I must do the same for all.
So today is a dual launch where the launch of a new book morphed into a launch of a new day. Together with the launch of Learning and Leading in the Land of a Thousand Hills, I am now also launching into new terrain. A place where I no longer am reticent to openly profess my love and trust in Jesus to guide my life, and to share in the responsibility of helping to bring others to him.