Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Mission Musings


Staying in the Presence of the Lord

By Caroline Mutsago

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

John 11:21-23 (NIV)

Caroline Mustago
Caroline Mutsago/GMF Intl.—Class of 2014-2016

Looking at my fellow young adults of today, I see how enthusiastic we are. We are full of dreams we hope to realize one day; we are full of energy. Yet I also see how many times our energy is redirected to earthly pleasures and material desires, things that distract us from being in the presence of the Lord.

My mission assignment has taken me to Harris Memorial College, where I work in the Community Extension Service and Development Department. As part of this assignment, I engage with the indigenous community of Mangghan in Rizol Province. This community is deep in the mountains, 80 km (nearly 50 miles) away from the nearest city. The houses are built with bamboo. There is no electricity and no running water—the community members fetch water for their day-to-day use from the rivers and springs in the mountains. The members of this community are set to be removed by the government to make room for a dam project, which requires the Mangghan’s land. They will be resettled in another place.

As I entered Mangghan for the first time, I noticed that many of the houses had no beds to lie down in at night or food for the families. The weather challenges are numerous. The most amazing part of this community is that its members are content with what they have. They are full of life and warm-hearted. As I lived with the people for a week, immersed in their culture, I realized that they stay in the presence of the Lord—and this has inspired me greatly.

As I continue on my mission journey, I have learned to depend on and trust in the Lord. I know that God is in control at times when I stay in the presence of the Lord.

John 11:21 reminds us of the story of Martha. She says to Jesus, “If you had been here my brother would not have died….” I believe she meant to say that whatever had caused Lazarus’s death was not only his sickness but also the absence of Christ during that time.

As people engaged in service, we need to stay in the presence of the Lord. The absence of Christ causes death and havoc in our ministries. Even as we face challenges in ministry—and we definitely do—we must remember that when we call upon the Lord, we too will experience a resurrection, just as Christ resurrected Lazarus from the dead.

Caroline Mutsago was commissioned as a Global Mission Fellow in July 2014 to serve two years with Community Extension Services and Development of Harris Memorial College in Taytay, Philippines. She is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe.

This article was originally published in the July-August 2015 issue of New World Outlook magazine

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