We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 (NIV)
The photo is of goats not sheep, but I couldn’t help but think on these words from Isaiah and Matthew when I compared their wanderings to the state of the people of the village of Tibolón.
Just over a decade ago, there had been a vibrant mission in that town. It had been raised up through the trials of persecution. Over time, it grew to about 30 members, but then, the pastor of it’s mother church stopped looking in on the congregation. The vision and direction began to fail, and the mission actually closed its doors–its members disbursed and disillusioned, wandering like sheep without a shepherd.
We went from door to door with Pastor Angelino Ek, the new pastor of the mother church. He’s taken a interest in the people of Tibolón and is undertaking the hard task of rebuilding the work.
As we visited the former church-goers I heard a similar tale. When I asked them what they had been doing in the mission’s absence, they simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Nada.” Left on their own, they had foundered.
Thankfully, services are beginning again. Pastor Angelino and his team are visiting the abandoned and moving them through the discipleship process. The lost are finding their way again, and new members are being added to the fold.
There is a satisfaction in seeing the steps of restoration, but there is an urgency too. As we finished our visits we saw cult members walking those same streets, ready to claim those who still wander.