Monday, September 26, 2011

Volunteer Testimony: Mt Olive Baptist Church (Sept 2011)

"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land..." Isa 1:19

When we are obedient, God will reward us with His power, presence, and supernatural blessing... all in His good timing. What an honor and privilege it was to have been chosen by God to be His hands and feet...

The days we spent visiting the villages were some of the hardest days for me... being bold for Christ... walking down the streets, meeting complete strangers, in a foreign land, and the only form of communication were through our translators, Biba and Cephas... So, how do you proclaim the name of Jesus Christ when the only words you know are FO FO, which means Hello.

But God knew we were ready, He knew I was ready, even when I didn't think I was. As the days went on, we were becoming more familiar with the Songhai culture and becoming more engaging and the Songhai continued to be hospitable and receptive.

On Day 1, I had been given my African name, Aissa...which means grateful.

On Day 4 we arrived in this village. I sat down and had the most enjoyable time with one of the ladies in this village. Her name was Aissa. I felt an instant connection with this woman. I was able to talk with her, and about 15 others, about this great God we serve. I sat there, opened my Bible, and began this love story that God had written to me and that I would love to share this story with them as well.

I talked about creation... about the fall and the broken relationship between God and man... and when I got to Noah, I realized that I was sitting in a time such as Noah's time... they were in the desert... we were in the Sahara desert... there was no rain... there was a drought here... and in Genesis it said that "people on earth did what God said was evil and violence was everywhere"... this is true today... and then God asks Noah to build a boat in the middle of the desert... how crazy is that... I continued on to tell them about the sacrifice of the perfect and spotless lamb and the laws... that God said in Deuteronomy... "Respect the LORD your God, and do what He has told you to do. Love Him. Serve the LORD your God with your whole being, and obey the LORD's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good" ... I went on to talk about the Prophets talking about a coming Messiah that would right our relationship with God again... and I talked about Jesus, this Messiah that did come... about His birth, His life, His burial, and His resurrection... and I ended with Romans that "as the Scripture says, "Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved."

The entire time I'm reading this story about God's love for me and His people... I looked up into eyes that were completely captivated by the words of God. I could see the work of God in the eyes of Aissa. She would listen intently to me as I read from this great book, and then she would listen intently as Biba translated. When I finished, Aissa turns to me and tells me... "thank you for sharing this incredible story... I will remember what you said about what God did in the beginning, about the flood, about Jesus... and I will tell everyone else about what you have told me..."

At that moment, I was reminded about what the Bible says in John... about Jesus being the Good Shepherd... "And the sheep listen to the voice of the Shepherd. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out" ... and Jesus says... "I know know My sheep and My sheep know Me."

The next day, our last day, we visited our last village... Kouli Kwaara... David is a recent believer... His story goes back about 20 years ago when he recieved a NT Bible. This summer, a mission team had come to David's village to paint a clinic... David aproached them and asked them why they were here... and they said with boldness, "We're here to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ." David's eyes lit up and he said, I've waited 20 years for someone to explain this book to me... they shared and David said... "I believe! I want Jesus."

What an honor to have read about his story this summer and then meet him. Sadly, though, David was sick with malaria... there was much sickness here and in many of the villages we visited... cholera and malaria... So, as a team, we circled in front of David's house and prayed for him.

Afterwards, Laura, Biba, and I walked down those dusty streets...praying that God would lead us to His sheep... it was very quiet... Biba said it was very unusual... and like we'd done every day in all the villages we visited, we prayed that God would send the rain, His peace, His presence, His blessing, and health.

We saw the evidence of our prayers... darkness was fleeting... God's sheep were hearing His voice... and the miracle of rain... one day it rained for about 5-10 minutes... another day, thunder and lightning rain on and off for an hour... and another day 2-3 hours of a steady, soaking rain.

His power, presence, and supernatural blessing were most evident...and all we brought was our obedience to pray, to declare the Name of Jesus Christ, and His Word. It was very simple and basic, because the greatest need for all people, not just in Niger, Africa, but in all nations, is the Gospel.

I will end with this verse that God gave me to promise me that He was preparing the way and that He kept His promise....

"Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

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