Monday, March 24, 2014

Volunteer Testimony: LHBC (February 2014)

"...And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?"
             -Romans 10:14

Stop and ponder that statement by Paul for a moment.  How often in your day-to-day life do you actually come by someone who has never heard the Gospel?  Whether we are at work, running errands, or at a sporting event or concert, do we pass by people who do not know the love that God has for them?  Are there people out there who do not recognize their need for a Savior to pay the sin debt that we have no hope of satisfying on our own merit?

Our missionary team encountered this very scenario time and time again this week, and it was truly a privilege to be witness to the shining of the light of Jesus on lives enslaved to darkness.  Our team departed on the Road to Gaya with the intent of living out the motto on the Songhai team website: sow with hope, reap with humility.  There were some challenges that had the potential to interfere with our ability to share: would our bodies hold up to several days on a difficult-to-travel road?  Would fatigue set in and cloud our minds and confuse our words?  Would stepping out of our "comfort zone" make us too uncomfortable?  God took those worries and used them to humble us.  We never gave these concerns another thought once we started our journey.  As our pastor at Living Hope has said before, "Everything is small to God."

It was apparent from the initial contact in the first village that God had gone before us to open the minds and hearts of His people.  We encountered an openness and willingness to listen that could only be the result of the work of God.  In a country that in 99% Muslim, the message of Christ was proclaimed with little to no opposition or argument.  We were welcomed in each of the 9 villages we visited.  Even in villages where no one was ready to accept Christ, we were told by everyone to come back and share again because they need to hear more.  Many times, we were sought out by an individual rather than having to approach them; God was sending His sheep to us!  A man told the team that this message needed to be shared with the women (a radical statement in Islamic culture).

Whenever a person expressed a desire to become a follower of Christ, we emphasized that the Bible calls them "a new creation," and that their old religion and its associated beliefs were no more.  Each man, without hesitation, affirmed his decision.  The look of amazement and wonder on the faces of those who had never heard the Gospel story was something I will remember the rest of my life.  It was as if you could see God "putting it all together" for them as the plan for salvation was revealed.

God provided a plentiful harvest.  In all, 30 men accepted the invitation to become followers of Jesus.  While only God can know their heart, my hope is that all these men were sincerely drawn to God and will remain strong in their new faith despite the radical life changes or persecution that may come.  Chains were broken as these men experienced true forgiveness of the sin that had shackled them their entire lives.  There was great rejoicing in Heaven at the redemption of these men.  I praise God for a safe journey and the honor of serving alongside the Songhai missionary team.  I pray that these men will grow in their faith and can be used by God to continue to call the Songhai to Himself.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
 - John 1:5

--- Caleb B, LHBC, Bowling Green, KY

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