When we lived in Ukraine, we visited castles occasionally (see photo of castle in Ukraine). We felt as if we walked through a wrinkle in time and arrived in the Middle Ages or a set from “The Lord of the Rings”. They were always built with strong walls and fortifications to provide sanctuary from inevitable attacks. The Huns, Goths, Mongols, Turks, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, Swedes, Russians and Germans tried at different times to establish their rule over western Ukraine or the entire country, bringing war and havoc. It is no wonder Ukrainians value their independence. This provides a vivid image of the dire situation Israel faced when Nehemiah went to rebuild the wall.
After inspecting the situation, Nehemiah gathered the people.
“You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be a reproach. And I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me, and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.” Neh. 2:17, 18
After the rallying call to rebuild, the people began to work. They did not simply return home to hope and pray that the work would somehow get done. There was no way Nehemiah could accomplish the work by himself. If it was going to happen, it was up to them to accomplish it. So each one did their part in rebuilding a portion of the wall. The common vision held them together and the wall was rebuilt.
Reaching cities and nations requires this kind of vision and dedication. While in Manila, we have been amazed to see a passion for God and reaching people combined with a clearly defined plan for making disciples from the point of meeting Christ to training and empowering people for ministry. The tremendous growth here did not happen overnight. It is a work of God and the result of focused leadership, a clear vision and strategy, and the hard work of many. And I have to add that the filipinos are exceptionally good at enjoying what they are doing.