The Mengen believers had been without missionaries for about eight months and they had a lot of time to independently walk with the Lord and they did very well, but there was something that really bothered them. And this prompted them to come and ask Lourens this question, “We know our spirits are clean and ready to enter death but we have seen that our bodies are not ready. We will be very ashamed to stand before God and present ourselves to Him in this way. We want you to teach us, how we can change our bodies."
The Mengen believers understand very well that they are positionally saved, in other words they have trusted Christ for their salvation and they are justified by faith! They would say that their spirits are clean and ready to enter death and go to God for eternity. But their concern this past year was that their flesh is not ready yet to meet him. They are very concerned about the Bridegroom coming to fetch His bride and that the bride is not prepared to meet him. They understand full well that they are His bride, but they feel that they are still dirty and have not yet prepared themselves to meet Him. They feel that they would be very ashamed if He returns and they are not ready. So this Christmas service they had the opportunity to be reminded about Christ's redemptive work, but also about His imminent return to come and fetch His bride. And the challenge was, "Are we ready to meet Him? Yes our spirits are ready but what about our flesh? Are we putting of the old and putting on the new? Are we consciously working towards crucifying the old man and allowing the Holy Spirit to live in and through us, so that we He can prepare us to meet the bridegroom?”
This was a real challenge for the Mengen believers! After the church service they all went to meet in small groups and visited together most of the day and many even through the night up to the next day talking about what they heard. The church leaders visited with these different groups and talked and prayed together. The next morning many came to Lourens and said that they are very ashamed about how they are living and would love the missionaries to teach them through Romans 6,7 and 8 again so that they could be reminded once more about the process of "changing our bodies”.
These are the kind of things that brings missionaries so much joy! Sharing with their friends and hearing their hearts longing for change, brings tears of joy to Lourens and Marie! it makes all the loneliness and hardship worthwhile!