“God Will Not Forget”
February 19, 2016
Message Summary: We continue to help God’s people even after we pass on. We do so through our spiritual descendants, those whose lives we have impacted who in turn impact others even after our departure. That is a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment! 2 Timothy 2:2 expresses this principle: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” In this sense our ministry impact continues long after we have left this earthly home.
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Surely someday will come to an end
But faith will conquer the darkness and death
And will lead at last to my Friend
We have four friends (2 couples) who are visiting mission works in Spain and Africa. They left last week for Spain before heading to several mission stations in Africa. In fact they plan to attend the church from which our Zimbabwean neighbors have connections. We pray for their safety of course and that they will be a blessing and also be blessed since all four of them have a compassionate heart for missions. Their trip prompted a consideration of a pioneering missionary we met early in our ministry. A pioneering missionary is one who takes the gospel to a place for the first time, which can be very discouraging.
One of the dominant sources of difficulty in any type of ministry is discouragement. All we who seek to serve the Lord by ministering to others are aware of this. We may not see the results we would like. We may see little or no evidence that our work is making any difference. There may be little to no receptivity and in some cases people fall away from the truth.
About 10 years ago we met a pastor who serves a church in Boston. Pastor Christo Kamara (photo to L taken at that time) is originally from Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa. He was with another pastor friend of ours helping to prepare the church building for a wedding that I was to officiate. We visited for a few minutes and I found out we shared a common association.
George Hemminger went to Africa on a steam ship as a young single man in 1928 with a call of God to reach the lost. He arrived in Sierra Leone and served as a pioneering missionary preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He mailed a proposal for marriage back to the states which took one month to reach his future wife and another month for him to get her affirmative answer! He returned to the states for his wedding and both he and his new wife returned to Africa in 1935.
They faithfully served the people of Sierra Leone most of their adult lives until their retirement in the mid-seventies. My brother Pat, who pastors a church in the Lehigh Valley, is married to their only child, Laverne. As a child she recalls being in villages where they were the first white people the natives had ever seen.
The Hemmingers never lost their burden or love for the African people. I remember their home being filled African music and all kinds of neat stuff from Africa, most notably a huge carved elephant which my brother now has in his home. I’m quite sure there are several on this list who recall meeting Bro. Hemminger. He’s the kind of person that, if you ever met him and heard any of his stories or witnessed his passion, you are unlikely to forget! He often wept as he preached due to his fervent devotion to God and His Word and burden for people. He went to be with the Lord in 1984 and I recall the powerful sense of his life’s purpose at his funeral, conducted by my brother. They also had his memorial service in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone.
When I shared with Christo Kamara I was deeply touched to learn that he is among those whom George Hemminger impacted for Christ. His last association with missionary Hemminger goes back over forty years ago when he was just a young man. Pastor Kamara is evidence that the fruit of Pastor Hemminger’s faithful service for God goes on.
I first learned today’s verse on a mission trip to Fusugusuga Colombia about 25 years ago. Although I had surely read it in the course of reading the Bible it jumped out at me when the Columbian pastor shared the verse in Spanish and it was translated to English. He was thanking the American mission team for our service the final night of our trip.
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).
“God is not unjust” Isn’t that a powerful verse that bolsters our assurance of ministry impact? In fact if you can’t memorize the entire verse just remember these four words, “God is not unjust.”
“He will not forget your work.” George Hemminger is now in the great cloud of witnesses but God has not forgotten his work. That which is done for Christ goes on. It has lasting, eternal impact. And God does not forget about it.
“And the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” We show our love for God as we help His people. Readers in this encouragement series are involved in scores of different ministries. Even among the several hundred on this list that we know personally we consider the variety of ways that you serve the Lord. We all have spiritual descendants; those we lead to faith and disciple. Pastor Kamara and the church in Boston is actually a continuance of the faithful work of George Hemminger.
Consider the sense of the phrase “continue to help them”. It surely speaks of faithfulness and steadfastness in our service. Our goal, as much as we are able, is to continue to help God’s people whether it is those we have personally met or the many who know us only through this internet ministry.
But there’s another sense that we “continue to help” God’s people even after we pass on. We do so through our spiritual descendants, those whose lives we have impacted who in turn impact others even after our departure. That is a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment! 2 Timothy 2:2 expresses this principle: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” In this sense our ministry impact continues long after we have left this earthly home.
I believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered
And earth is no more
I’ll still cling to the old rugged cross
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank you for the diligence and passion of faithful missionaries, pastors, evangelists, song writers and others who are in the trenches of impacting lives destroyed by the devil’s vices. Sometimes we feel our impact on others is so insignificant in comparison to the Billy Grahams but you’ve called us to make a difference in our circle of influence where You strategically placed us. We’re reminded by Scripture today that You will be the One who evaluates our effectiveness. It is not the visible fruit of our labors that determines the validity of our calling, but it is obedience to Your Word that helps us to continue in the work You’ve called us to do. Help us to be faithful!
For those who may desire additional study on our daily text here’s an online resource.
Pastor Christo Kamara continues to pastor in Boston and I contacted him sharing this message and requesting an update.
I received an email from another man from Sierra Leone who now lives in Europe. He had come across a reference to Pastor Hemminger in one of our messages from many years earlier and wrote to joyfully tell me of his association with Bro. Hemminger, who had discipled his father who went on to become a pastor. In fact his older sister was named after the Hemminger’s daughter, my sister-in-law, Laverne.
Ten years ago I spoke at a church about 25 miles away in York County that was between pastors. The former pastor, who has since gone home to be with the Lord, had long retired and was in his nineties, but still attended the church. When I introduced myself to him he mistook me for my brother Pat, who is married to Laverne Hemminger. As we shared he still recalled the visits that the Hemmingers would make to his church during their itineration and specifically how the burden for souls was so great that Pastor Hemminger would weep as he shared the stories of his mission work and was referred to as “the weeping missionary”.
Next week we will share what is perhaps the most moving missions story I have ever read.
“I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary” Video GVB
“The Mission” Video Steve Green
“Love Changes Everything” Video Red Rocks Worship
Yesterday we mentioned passing a harness racing track in a field near New Holland PA. Here’s that location on a Google map.
Yesterday Brooksyne shared concerning an interesting find in a thrift store. Charlotte from Oklahoma writes, “I have to share a story similar to your thrift store adventure. I once bought a large ‘pretty glass platter’ (as it was advertised) for $5 or $6. It turned out to be Mikasa crystal!”
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