As any good preacher, Pastor Goma has his illustrations and those illustrations come from his culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As one of the participants in Outilingua this year it was Goma's turn to lead morning devotions, and his passage was 1 Corinthians 13. As he gave his meditation, he started into the tale of the Tortoise and the Antelope and how they agreed to have a race. A familiar story to us from Aesop's Tortoise and the Hare, but with a twist. You see, in Goma's culture, the Tortoise beat the antelope not because of his individual determination and persistence, but because of his teamwork. The tortoise gathered all of his friends and they hid in the grass along the trail up to the finish line. Every time the antelope thought he was beating the tortoise, he called out, "Tortoise where are you?" Only to hear tortoise calling back to him from way ahead. The antelope eventually collapsed, exhausted, and the tortoise in the front walked slowly across the finish line, first.
I don't think I would ever have compared our Outilingua group with a tortoise. In fact, the technology usually makes us identify more with the speedier partner. And in this story, the tortoise ended up tricking his oponant, but that wasn't Goma's point. He started talking about Outilingua and how each of the participants here cares for and helps each other. He cited examples of caring and love between the members as we all work together to achieve a common goal, that of accelerating the translation of God's Word in Africa through the use of modern technology.
As I listened, I had to fight back the emotion that welled over me. To think of how God brought together this community that didn't even exist 8 years ago, and who now are working together to support the Bible translation movement in Africa in any way that they can.
Thank you Pastor Goma, for the reminder that we are all here to serve one another out of love, and to work as a team so that God may be glorified through us.