International Ministries

I Hope You'll Be My Valentine!

February 14, 2012 Journal
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What’s true love?

Be my Valentine!  It’s February, and love is in the air.  In the Congo, we show young people how they can tell whether someone who says “I love you!” is telling the truth, or if he (or she) has other intentions.

In the “True Love Waits” program, we tell the stories of two young men in the Bible, and their attitudes toward love.  The first is Amnon, first-born son of King David, who claimed he was in love with his half sister Tamar (II Samuel 13).  He faked an illness, had her fix his favorite meal, and then raped her in spite of her screams.  The “love” he felt for her changed to hatred, and he threw her out of the house in disgrace!  The other is Joseph, fiancé of a remarkable young woman who had a mission from God to accomplish (Matthew 1:18-25).  When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant, he first thought she had cheated on him, but cared enough for her that he didn’t want her disgraced.  He rejoiced when he received a divine message that her Son would be the promised Messiah, and he waited until Mary’s Son was born before celebrating his marriage to her. 

Which of the young men showed true love?  The description of love in I Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us some clues in words that describe true love and its opposite (in this case, lust).  We write the words on strips of paper, and tape them to the shirts of two young volunteers, playing the roles of Amnon and Joseph:  PATIENT, KIND, ENVIOUS, CONCEITED, PROUD, SELFISH, IRRITABLE, REJOICES IN INJUSTICE, REJOICES IN THE TRUTH, PERSEVERES, KEEPS THE FAITH, HOPES IN THE BEST, FORGIVES.   The point is brought home when everybody sees that the negative words apply to Amnon, and the positive ones to Joseph. 

So, if someone says, “I love you,” now you know how to tell whether they really do, or not.  If they say, “I love you, sleep with me,” that’s not true love.  If they’re willing to wait, and not rush into things, then it just might be true love!

In January in Kimpese, the Responsible Living Skills team held a training session, attended by 43 pastors and youth leaders from 15 different churches and organizations, on how to present the “True Love Waits” program.  The next day we presented the program to over 70 young people in three churches, scattered all over town.  Fifty-three young men and women signed commitment cards, pledging to wait until they are married to have sexual relations.  We’re working on organizing follow-up sessions, to encourage them in their decision.  Another program is planned for February 25 at a local church.

Thank you for making it possible for me to be here in the D.R. Congo, and to have a part in sharing God’s Word with the Millennium Generation!  Thanks, too for your prayers for a new vehicle!  I’ve bought a 1998 Rav4, fully automatic and electronic, in collaboration with the Evangelical Cooperative Center, where I work.  They will benefit from it when I retire next October.

Please pray for Lydie Zinu, a 25-year-old Baptist pastor’s daughter and medical student, who was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.  She’s had a mastectomy, and is now receiving a series of chemo treatments that are even harder on her than the surgery! 

Pray also for Clavien Manianga, a 21-year-old diabetic who doesn’t look a day over 10 years old.  He’s hospitalized as I write this, and is constantly monitored not only for glucose, but also for cataracts on his eyes, various sores on his body, digestive problems, and occasional bouts with malaria.

Our student pastors are taking first semester exams this week.  Please pray!

I HOPE YOU'LL BE MY VALENTINE!  I LOVE YOU TRULY!

Wendy

[To reach Wendy, email her at wendydrcongo@msn.com.  If you would like to contact her Missionary Partnership Team – send email to wendy.bernhard@frontiernet.net. Thank you for your prayers for and support of Wendy; she is in her final months of more than two decades of service in the DRC.  Wendy will return to the US in October of this year, and will be traveling to visit her supporters in the spring of 2013.  She will continue as an American Baptist Church missionary, in the US, until her full retirement in June 2013.  Your continued support is deeply appreciated!]