By Renate Reiner
December in North Carolina means trees are bare and Christmas decorations adorn the lawns in my neighborhood. One ornament hanging above most doors in Winston-Salem always stands out. It's a Moravian Star, a tradition the Moravians brought when they settled here in the 1750s. The decoration is a reminder of the star over Bethlehem which appeared at Christ's birth. I love to see the Moravian Stars illuminated at night as I drive. It reminds me of the solemn fact that Jesus' birth was essential. He had to be born so He could die—for me.
Compelled by a commission
Our Lord Jesus came to die, but it didn’t end there. Three days after His death He rose to life again. He commissioned His disciples to continue the work of the gospel, which eventually expanded across the globe. That commission applies to me as a follower of Christ two millennia later—a task I do not take lightly as the Spirit compels me to move forward in the work of the Lord.
Teaching others to serve
All these thoughts bring to mind my November 2023 ministry trip to Brazil. It was a busy two weeks involving three events in three cities thousands of miles apart. In the far west of Brazil, area churches in Rio Branco hosted a conference of the Regular Baptist Press in Brazil (EBR). In this region, many pioneer BMM missionaries from the 1940s and 1950s instilled a heart for the gospel among these churches. One morning, I taught a workshop on the relevance of education in the local church, and I incorporated the new Sunday School materials by the EBR.
Next I traveled nearly 3,000 miles northeast. A pastor in Natal arranged a two-night course on church education. We focused on its importance and worked on developing Sunday School lessons using EBR materials. I emphasized the necessity of teacher preparation and maximizing class time.
The privilege of serving
Thankfully, my next trip was much closer, only 550 miles south. When I stepped off the plane in Petrolina, I took a moment to breathe and remind myself God has given me the privilege of serving Him. I was there for a special event: The 10-year anniversary of the Christian Global Ministry, a national-led ministry that helps Brazilian missionaries. At the weekend conference, we reminisced on what the Lord accomplished during the last 10 years, and I shared some memories of those beginning days. This thriving ministry looks forward to future ministry trips and endeavors.
Reminded by a star
When I arrived home in North Carolina, my neighbors were ready for Christmas, and I had to get busy with my preparations too. As I admired the Moravian Stars lighting my neighbors’ doorways, I remembered the reason for what I do. It's not for me and my satisfaction. My Savior was born destined to die for me. Life would be utterly depressing were it not for that star—the star that prompted shepherds to seek Him and wise men to journey thousands of miles to pay homage to the baby who would be King. The King who is worthy of all my service.
Based out of North Carolina, Renate Reiner helps build up Brazilian churches through literature ministries.