You may actually know Dr. Geoffrey and Nicole Moses. He was recently a caring hospitalist at PRMC. Nicole is an occupational therapist and devoted mother of their three beautiful children, Myla, Elias and Haven. I pastor their sending church, Kerrville Bible.
They have gone to Sierre Leone in West Africa under the direction of Frontiers and Restore Hope. Their mission is to show Muslim peoples the love of Jesus through medical care and evangelism. They hope to partner with local indigenous church planters.
Using WhatsApp, I’m in regular contact with them. As I was writing this article, I texted Geoffrey to be reminded of exactly when they arrived. His response was sobering.
“March 23. I get flashbacks of that first feeling of landing here with small children. I was excited and my gut was wrenching at the same time … because men at the airport were physically fighting over my tip!”
During the current rainy season, it basically rains all the time. Go figure. And it stays around 82 degrees. Malaria is a constant threat. On one recent occasion, the entire family was sick for a week with fevers and diarrhea. They were struggling to keep the children cool. Tylenol was running out. The electricity was constantly going out. His generator broke down. And Geoffrey’s extensive medical knowledge was both blessing and curse as he’s aware of the various life-threatening diseases there.
He was considering a medical evacuation then the Lord answered their prayers for healing and recovery.
We do a video chat every other week. Recently, I dialed them up, and it took longer than usual to connect. Geoffrey came to the computer and apologized. He had fallen asleep on the floor (it was 9:30 p.m. his time) and woke up with 10 mosquito bites. Lesson learned.
Now mind you, this is inside his house with doors and windows closed and every effort made to keep the little vampires out. They all (normally) sleep under mosquito netting.
Or try to sleep. It’s hot, and the fans are constantly turning off. Everything we take for granted and do quickly and efficiently takes forever. They are renting a newly built home, but it required extensive repairs to the plumbing and electricity.
Opening a bank account took five different trips to the bank. They live in a guarded compound with rather large dogs roaming the grounds.
It’s taken four to five months just to get settled and begin to have a routine. Next up is language training.
Human poverty and suffering are all around them. You really can’t imagine it until you’ve gone to such a place.
No matter how bad they have it, they quickly realize that their lives are far easier than the people they have come to serve.
In many ways Sierre Leone is a stronghold for Satan.
They met one young man in his 20s who is a church planter. He loves the Lord and seeks to share the gospel. I saw a picture of him sitting upon a large rock out in the bush. Why that rock? Because that’s where he was to be offered up as a child sacrifice before a family member intervened. The practice may still go on out in the remote regions. Female circumcision is a major problem.
In one video chat Nicole shared how much she misses church. The people, the music, the sermon, the worship … everything! They can attend an international church service two times a month that’s a 45-minute drive on teeth-rattling roads, but beyond that, their options are fraught with challenges. And we miss worship for the flimsiest of excuses?
So why did they walk away from so much comfort and security in Kerrville, Texas? Why did they go to such a destitute place to lay down their life for strangers?
Because Jesus walked away from comfort and security and went to a destitute place to lay down His life for enemies. Because He who was rich became poor so that we who are poor, through His poverty, might become rich. Not in dollars and possessions, but in lasting spiritual wealth.
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Eliot).
Why are they there? Because their Master said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples (learners and followers) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Please join me in prayer that Geoffrey, Nicole, Myla, Elias and Haven would know that Jesus is with them to the end of the age.
And ask yourself, “what sacrifice am I willing to make to spread the gospel?”
Chris McKnight is the pastor of Kerrville Bible Church. His column appears monthly in The Kerrville Daily Times. He welcomes feedback and can be reached at email@example.com.