Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name…
Hush, hush somebody's calling my name.
Hush, hush somebody's calling my name.
Hush, hush somebody's calling my name.
Oh my Lord, Oh my Lord what shall I do, what shall I do?
To my colleagues and fellow servants of the Most High,
It has been a great honor for me to serve you as African American Mission Director. It was not an easy task from the start, three years ago. But with your prayers and support, this ministry is vibrant. I give honor and credit to my God and to you, His servants, as you serve Him so faithfully. Your voice at International Ministries is being heard: praise the Lord! Now in this year, let me humbly share with you that your support remains critical.
We need to walk with those who are being called to serve overseas, to make sure they do what God is calling them to do. We also need to keep our African- American missionaries in the field where they are effectively serving. Building on that, we are beginning a new ministry with our neighbors in the Caribbean Islands. We are planning a mission trip to Antigua, this year, August 20 -27 to sign a covenant of partnership with the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship during their Mid-Term Assembly. If God is calling you to be part of this exciting mission trip, see details below about signing up today!
This ministry with you through International Ministries has taken me to the cities, towns, and rural areas in this nation. The most recent trip led me last month to the ABC of Rocky Mountains in the city of Denver, Colorado, February 16-20. Rev. Dr. Steve VanOstran is the Executive Minister and Rev. Mary Tellis, a wonderful host and a great leader, is one of the Area Ministers. She guided me during my entire time there. She organized several important meetings, including a luncheon on Friday February 17. We broke bread together in the only Denver Soul Food Restaurant. It was wonderful to discuss our common ministry as we take seriously the Great Commission of Jesus: “witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world” (Acts 1:8). On Sunday, February 19, I was blessed by Faith Community Baptist Church, located on Grant Street, in the heart of Denver where Rev. Katherine Farley and Rev. Douglas Farley are co-pastors. I was honored to have the pulpit and I preached the Word as my Lord guide me.
Besides my meetings with pastors and lay leaders, I will never forget the two hours I spent in the Lone Tree Cultural Arts Center, where the Spiritual Project Choir was singing. The makeup of this great choir and the talents each one of them brings make you feel the glimpse of what heaven will look like. This event was part of the celebration of 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders. That evening made me think again about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech: “I have a dream”. In that speech he said: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood”.
Indeed, if Dr. King had been allowed to attend this concert of a 100-member choir, he would have rejoiced that his dream is coming true. Of course, more remains to be done, but we must thank God for all that we have achieved. I was particularly excited about the fact that the members of this Spiritual Project Choir from the Denver area were ethnically representative of the entire nation—Euro-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans. Awesome!
As I listened to great songs, the spiritual “Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name” caught my attention. I was reminded of the story of Samuel and his call by God almost 3,000 years ago as recorded in 1 Samuel 3: 4-9. Here is the text: … the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
When God is calling, it is hard to turn the deaf ear! This spiritual provides the response of the called: “Oh my Lord, Oh my Lord, what shall I do, what shall I do?” I guess this was the response that Priest Eli was trying to convey to the little boy Samuel. Rev. George Liele, the first Baptist in this nation to take the gospel beyond America, who happened to be a black man and former slave, must have heard the call as well, and he responded: “Oh my Lord, Oh my Lord, what shall I do, what shall I do?” Then he was sent by God to Jamaica where the same God who called him, did mighty things through him. He was, indeed, hands and feet of almighty God in Jamaica.
In the same manner, God is calling African-Americans again to his ministry, not only here at home but also abroad. As a native of the African continent, I can never thank enough our churches and individuals who support the ministry of Rev. Charles and Mrs. Sarah West. These are the only African Americans who are serving through International Ministries on the continent of Africa. Both Charles and Sarah have been literally hands and feet of Christ in the country of South Africa, where they served from 1998 to 2006, and in Zambia where they began serving in 2006. They have understood that wherever they minister, their primarily objective is to train Africans. In South Africa, they trained hundreds and hundreds of “Wests” to the point that eight years later, they decided to leave the ministry in the hands of those trained and moved on to Zambia to do the same thing. I am sure that when the time comes and they have accomplished their training goals, they will move to another place. However, Africa is not a big country. It is a big and great continent. We work with almost 30 partners in different countries of Africa, including South Sudan, a newly born country. The West family will not be sufficient for all those nations. I know that God is calling people like Samuel today.
Can we be as Eli was, coaching those being called by God to serve overseas? Can we assure them by our pledges that we are ready to support them on the mission field? Can we also support those who have already responded to God’s call to serve in Africa, like the West family? There are others as well, like Ketly and Vital Pierre in Central America, and the Nzunga family in the Caribbean. God is calling my name as well! He calls me to go, or he calls me to support those who went or are in process of going. One thing I am 100% sure of—God is calling each one by name.
Since last year, we, like the Apostle Paul, have heard a “Macedonian Call” from the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship. They challenge us to go and serve alongside them in their mission field. They want us to give them a hand in the areas of evangelism, theological education, general education, health and economic development. International Ministries believes that we must respond to this Macedonian call! As mentioned above, we are sending a team to participate and contribute in their Mid-Term Assembly to be held in Antigua Island. The team will leave the U.S. on August 20 and return on August 27, 2012. I ask you to prayerfully consider being part of this delegation. If you are ready to respond to God’s call to go to Antigua, please contact me as soon as possible!
Eleazar Ziherambere, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482
Make no mistake God is calling each one of us by name!
OH MY LORD, OH MY LORD, WHAT SHALL WE DO?
African American Mission
AB International Ministries
American Baptist International Ministries was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to Christ, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.