John

Dave in Liberia

LIFES Group Afterwards April 2017On Saturday (April 8) at 1:00 am I was picked up by Moses, the LIFES (= Liberia International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) staff-worker, and his family.  Shannon joined us from Guinea Bissau later that evening.  I was scheduled to speak at Monrovia Christian Fellowship on Sunday at the second service, but with typical African warmth, my friend Pastor Joshua invited me last minute to speak at the early service also. “Sure,” I replied.

As I entered the sweltering sanctuary I thought agreeing to a homiletic “double-header” was a bad idea.  I wasn’t used to the heat.  A few weeks earlier I had been shoveling snow off my driveway in Pennsylvania.  As I preached on the smiting of Uzzah (my go-to sermon; 2 Samuel 6:1-11) my light blue shirt became distinctly two-toned—because of sweat.  Afterwards, a woman came up to Shannon and I, telling us just the day before she was reading the story of Uzzah and was distressed because she couldn’t understand it.  The talk felt like God answering her prayer.

Dave Carrying Well Water

On Monday, we spent several hours filling up large barrels of water at LIFES student camp site.  There was no running water, so cooking, bathing, flushing were all dependent upon getting those barrels full.  We filled them from the well with a bucket on a long rope.  It took several hours, but right as my back started to ache (my shirt had already changed color), I realized this was phenomenal preparation for my talks.  At the camp I would teach on the Wedding at Cana (John 2) and the Samaritan Woman (John 4), two passages where wells and water feature prominently.  I was doing first-hand research, and just like the Samaritan woman, we were doing this at mid-day.  (But I still don’t think that means we’re prostitutes; see Prostitutes & Polygamists, page 81.) The students at the camp filled up the barrels for the rest of the week and slept on thin mats on hard concrete classroom floors.  We were humbled by the costs these LIFES students were willing to pay to study the Word of God with us.  I particularly enjoyed my conversations with two students.  Pray for Ibrahim a recent convert and Cyrus who is helping to start a new fellowship on his campus.

The low point for us came when we decided we could no longer handle the heat.  We had were teaching long hours every day with a heat index over a hundred degree Fahrenheit, and had been staying with a delightful and wonderfully hospitable Liberian family, who didn’t have air conditioning.  We moved to a local hotel so that we could have air conditioning at night.  It felt like defeat for us since we wanted to be with Liberians as much as possible.  We had been teaching on the incarnation of Jesus (John 1).  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but Dave and Shannon couldn’t take the heat, so we needed to move over to Jandy’s Tropical Paradise.  It was humbling.  And it made us even more appreciative of the costs Jesus’ paid to dwell among us and die for us.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Going to Liberia (April 2017)

Dave Boy on ShouldersDespite the malaria, it was one of the highlights of my life.

In the summer of 1985, I went on a summer mission project to Nigeria.  We taught in churches, worked in fields, and enjoyed amazing Nigerian hospitality (my favorite, though, was giving rides to kids on my shoulders).  We served among the Tangale people in Bauchi state, in the NW region of the country, near where Boko Haram holds power today.

While my wife Shannon has made three trips to Africa in the past fifteen years, I’ve stayed home with the boys.  I’ve loved hearing her stories and supporting her efforts, but I’ve missed seeing first hand what God is doing and serving alongside her.  But now that we are empty-nesters, I will be able to join her this April on her next trip to Monrovia, Liberia.  Shannon will be traveling for 3 weeks (she is also visiting Guinea Bissau); I’ll be gone for two (April 5-19).

We have been invited to serve alongside staff from LIFES (Liberian International Fellowship of Evangelical Students).  There are currently 1400 students involved in LIFES and only two full time staff.  Liberia is the fifth poorest country of the world and is still recovering from a fourteen year civil war (1989-2003) and the recent Ebola epidemic (2013-2016).

Moses, one of the staff, has asked us to be flexible, but we know for sure that we’ll be the main speakers for the LIFES Easter student conference: “Knowing Christ and Making Christ Known,” focusing on the book of Philippians and John 1-4.  We will have other opportunities to speak in churches, and work with students and local pastors doing training in Bible study skills. Most pastors in Liberia do not have access to seminary training, so I’m hoping my presence will be a blessing to them.

In order to allow their limited financial resources to remain in the country, I am hoping to raise $2500 to cover my expenses.  If you’d like to contribute, you can go directly to the website: https://donate.intervarsity.org/support/shannon_lamb.  Funds need to go through Shannon’s IV account because my account is still in process.  If you would like to receive email prayer requests please send me your address (dlamb@biblical.edu).

If you’re the praying sort, we’d appreciate prayers
for health (I have reflux which is easier to control at home,
for safe travel,
for God to move powerfully, and
for great partnerships with Liberian staff and pastors.

LIFES Flyer Image April 2017