BY A PIONEER IN EAST AFRICA May 12, 2016
A year ago we came to the village because of our friend Anna, a new believer from the semi-nomadic people group we work with. Her father was a “big man” in the area, with nine wives and most of the cattle in the area. He asked our team to come because they wanted “prayers” in their village. We recognized that he was a person of peace. In his enthusiasm, Anna’s father mobilized 300 people to attend our first meeting. They greeted us with singing and dancing and ushered us to a spot under a big tree.
We started by setting the stage for all the stories that would be told in the coming months. But their response was troubling. The people were not interested in the things of God, but rather in the things of foreigners. I had to tell them that we were only offering God’s stories.
The next week, no one was waiting for us. We entered to greet people and invite them to come hear the stories. A few came, and it was with these few that we began our year-long journey through the Bible. Each week was a struggle. While the other villages seemed open to the things of the Lord, they remained hard-hearted.
Finally, we reached the climax of the stories of Christ. It was time to give the gospel presentation. The day of our presentation was hot, well over a hundred degrees. Soon after we began to share, clouds that had been gathering above us released a downpour. Everyone–men, women and children–ran to the small schoolroom with half walls and a metal roof. God had gathered 130 people in a place where our average attendance had totaled five adults and twenty children over the last year. Now the only problem now was that no one could hear due to the pounding rain on the metal roof.
We decided to sing and play the drum. But the longer the rain continued, the more troubled my soul became. We were in the midst of a spiritual battle. After forty minutes of singing and praying, the Holy Spirit nudged my heart to pray boldly, allowing the people to see and experience the power of the living God who answers prayer. My heart pounded as I stopped the singing and prayed loudly for about five minutes.
The rain quieted to a drizzle, and my teammate stepped forward to share the message as the people listened with rapt attention. I felt the Lord tell me to take off my shoes on this holy ground. As I stood barefoot on the grimy floor. I had a glorious though momentary vision of these people worshipping the Lord after he delivers them from Satan’s captivity. One day this would be holy ground upon which the Lord builds His church.
That day, only two women gave their hearts to Jesus. I was sad, but the Lord chastened me. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. I glanced down at my still-bare toes and remembered Moses and how long it took to deliver Israel from slavery. I looked back at these two women and rejoiced as the downpour resumed. The Lord gave us the time we needed. And like the flood that came that day, God will flood this land with truth—a land that has been soaked with the blood of animal sacrifices, of traditional belief systems and of fear and power. It starts with these two women.
The following week we returned to the village. One of the women shared her testimony and spoke of God’s goodness to her. It’s only the beginning. Please pray that the hardness of heart we have encountered would soften by the power of the Holy Spirit so that the seeds being planted will grow into a harvest.