“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11(NIV)
This passage is from a prayer Jesus prayed at the last supper. He was praying for His disciples and other followers yet to come. He prayed that we, His followers, would be one just like He and the Father were one.
Becoming one with other believers is not always easy, especially if those believers live in a strange land, speak a strange tongue, and have different customs, languages, and even skin color from you. When my parents served as missionaries in
, they and the other
missionaries worked at becoming one with the people among whom they lived and ministered.
When I was eight years old, I made a profession of faith in Jesus and wanted to be baptized. Being a doctor, my father felt he should not be the one to baptize me, but desired instead to have me baptized by a minister. Though there were other missionary ministers he could have asked, he chose to ask Reverend Asaju, the hospital chaplain. Here is the man’s response as written in a thank you note to my parents which they still posses.
In a letter dated, 11/12/67 from Rev. Asaju , the chaplain of the Baptist Hospital Ogbomosho. Address:
The occasion of yesterday afternoon was one of those I will never forget in my life for the meaning it has for me and for the cause of Christ in this land.
Your daughter was the first American Baptist Missionary I had the privilege to baptize. The most important thing about it is this – that oneness in Christ you preach is practicalized. That is you prove to us that you do not say by mouth that you love the Nigerians but you demonstrate it. May the love of Christ continue to flow through you to many more in this land as you dedicate your lives for the service of our Lord, Amen.