It is God who gives the growth – CEUM General Assembly

We all want to take credit for something good, however small our part was,” said Josef Rasheed in the third of his six messages to the CEUM Biennial General Assembly in Bumba Jan 14-19.  As chaplain for the 6 day meeting Josef spoke on the theme “We are God’s field.”  His text was I Corinthians 3:1-9, esp v 8-9.  The subject Tuesday  was “God gives growth to the seed,” an important reminder that while many may have a part, it is God who gives the growth.  Josef went on to say “This text challenges our ego.  If we are nothing, then who are we?  You must know who you are or you will get lost in your work.”  This spoke to me, because yes, we all want to take credit for something good; I want to take credit for good things.  But God is the one who gives the growth.

Josef’s other daily themes were:

  • – God created us with a purpose in life given by Him. This is God’s gift.  Our seeds need to be planted.
  • – The seeds must be maintained. God placed us here to assure that his field would be maintained.  The assignment way back to Adam and Eve in the garden was to protect and maintain.
  • – The devil plants weeds.
  • – The field must produce. Not ‘can’, but ‘must.”  The field ‘must’ produce because of who God is.  God wants us to live a life of productivity.
  • – God is coming for the harvest.

Keith translating for Josef

These messages led off each morning of our collective work.  The meeting was attended by 215 delegates from the 46 regions of the CEUM.  Through the week the business of the CEUM included

  • – a comprehensive report of activities over the past 2 years
  • – the finance report
  • – a presentation on a discipleship initiative that Tim & Helen Smith are involved in. The goal is to provide intensive discipleship training to 1,800 people over the next 2 years.
  • – departments working on goals for the next 2 years

delegate studying the discipleship proposal

The one subject that was a bit controversial was the proposal from an ad-hoc committee delegated to review the constitution and consider changes.  Given the tribal history and dynamics within the CEUM they brought a proposal to have a rotating system of choosing the president.  Instead simple nominations and then voting, they proposed that the presidency rotate between three geographical groupings.  The nominees for president would come from these groups and thus ideally offer opportunities for leaders of other smaller tribes to be nominated and elected.  The term length would also change from 4 years, renewable once, to one 6 year non-renewable term.  As this was a change in the constitution it required a 2/3 vote to move forward to the next biennial meeting.  It fell 2 votes short of passage.  While there was disappointment people also demonstrate a deep, deep faith in God’s providence and care for the church.  Something we all have to learn from in such times.

These meetings are also wonderful times of connection between people, some of whom haven’t seen each other for years.  We enjoyed seeing many friends and hearing how God is caring for them through all circumstances.

Josef giving pointers to the keyboardist for the choir




Travel to and from Bumba was, well what should I say.  To quote another missionary in Brazil, “to say the road was terrible is to say the ocean is damp.”  3 days each way for a distance of 320 miles.  The second day of our return I drove 16.5 hours and covered about 178 miles.

Processional for the Sunday opening service

So what happens when it rains? We were VERY grateful for dry roads


Watch your guide carefully!

Delegates from Kinshasa plus Josef and Keith traveled to Bumba on this beautiful MAF plane, a Pilatus PC-12

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One Response to “It is God who gives the growth – CEUM General Assembly”

  1. Becky says:

    Pete – thank you so much for this report. Very insightful!

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