Autumn*, a Pioneers missionary in tribal Africa, started a discipleship group among women from several different tribes. Leah*, an abrasive, middle-aged woman from a distant tribe began to attend the group. Every time they met, Leah managed to annoy and frustrate Autumn within the first few minutes. But Leah continued to attend the Bible study faithfully. With God-given patience and grace, Autumn persevered. She ministered to, loved on and planted gospel seeds in this difficult woman. After several months, the seeds bore fruit. God won over Leah and the other members of the group, ushering them into His kingdom.
Autumn and her fellow missionaries wanted to share the gospel with the surrounding villages as well. The first village they planned to visit was Leah’s village. But many things happened to delay their travel—sickness, weather, car problems and bad roads. Autumn and her fellow missionaries, however, were undeterred. They pressed on in prayerful perseverance.
Finally, the door opened. After the difficult journey, they arrived to find Leah’s village almost entirely abandoned. Most of the villagers go to the mountains to feed the cattle during the dry season. But Leah, who happened to be one of those who stayed behind, encouraged them to teach anyway. Before they did, Leah stood up and spoke of the transformation that God brought to her life. With visible joy and passion, she laid out how God healed her daughter and provided her family with food. On the heels of her passionate testimony, the three missionaries told the story of the gospel. But no one committed to follow Christ. Still, Autumn and her fellow missionaries felt encouraged. The Holy Spirit had softened Leah’s heart, and they had been witnesses to how the gospel transformed her from a hard woman into one of overwhelming joy.
Weeks later, after all the villagers returned, the missionaries visited Leah’s village again. This time they arrived to find the whole village assembled. Once again, they delivered a message about Jesus and asked the people if they wanted to follow Him. One of the elders stood first, having chosen Christ. One by one, others rose to their feet. Then 10 young warriors stood to follow the Savior together. Four more women joined them, both old and young. In a matter of minutes, many committed their lives to Christ, just as Leah had.
Sometimes God uses the most unlikely people to make an impact. Would you pray for this village of believers in Africa? Ask God to use them in partnership with the Pioneers team to spread the Good News to the villages and tribes that surround them.
*Names have been changed.