Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we start with David, who bravely took a group of high schoolers to South India:
Needless to say, it was an incredible journey. We went to the southern part of India, to a region where we worked with a local church who has a passion for reaching the people around them for Jesus – all 1,200 villages in that area!
We took eight high school students and eight adults with us and it was so incredibly encouraging to hear the stories each day that the kids would come back with, telling of what they experienced as God had glorified Himself through His Word.
One story that really jumps out to me is when we were talking with this one older gentleman who said that he used to beat and mock Christians. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he had sensed God’s judgment upon him for hitting and ridiculing so many Christians throughout his life. He believed that it is because of what he did to God’s people that his arm was now paralyzed.
But he wasn’t aware of God’s compassion and His desire to heal and make us whole.
It was such a pleasure to be able to share with him the rest of the story about God’s grace, His plan for our lives, and redemption through His Son. It was absolutely amazing when he and his entire family prayed to accept Jesus right then and there!
And it would be great if that were the end of the story, but there’s more…
After welcoming Jesus into his life, he said that though once he used to beat and mock Christians, he would now devote himself to standing up for them, and be a leader for Christ followers in his village.
I love David’s enthusiasm, and the ability he had to be able to tell this man “the rest of the story”. It’s one thing for someone to be aware – even fear – God, but to know the rest of the story about who God is and that He wants to spend eternity with us is the best part of any story.
Our next story comes from Chris and Katie, who were paired together to spread the Gospel and start a church in Uganda:
CHRIS: This was all new for me, so sharing the Gospel came pretty difficult at first, but the second time that I shared God’s Word, it was easier, and even easier the third – to the point where before long, it was very easy to share my story and tell others about Jesus. One thing that is very different in Uganda, compared to the U.S., is that the people there are extremely courteous and hospitable to missionaries. Almost too hospitable. They will invite you in, prepare a seat for you and listen to you. They’ll even pray with you, but it’s not always sincere. Sometimes they do all this just to be polite, with no intention of truly following Jesus.
But some, when we would have our evening church meetings, would walk for miles to hear more about Jesus and learn how to grow in their faith! One man, in particular, was drunk when I was speaking with him earlier in the day, and I was certain that he wasn’t really listening to me. Yet that evening, he walked over five kilometers to meet with us, pray with us, and allow Jesus to reshape his life!
KATIE: I was with Chris all week, and one highlight that I remember is a time that we went to this one family’s hut at the end of the day. Exhausted, I sat down and before I knew it, the entire family – several generations, cousins and in-laws – were gathered to hear about Jesus. When we were finished, I asked if anyone was interested in praying and choosing to follow Jesus. The grandmother there – the matriarch of the family – said that she was very interested in doing so, but if she made such a decision without her husband’s permission, he would beat her for it. So, they asked us to come back the next day when he would be home to hear and the other family members would have more time to think about the decision that was in front of them.
That night, God answered our prayers and one of the men who had heard God’s message that day had a dream that God was calling him. He met us the next day in the town square, welcomed us warmly, and led us – RUNNING – down the path back to his family’s hut. Once there, he began joyously shouting in Swahili that he was dedicating his life, his home and all that he had to be used to glorify God!
I had hoped that the grandfather would be there, too, but he was away again. Yet, as God would have it, when we were at a totally different hut the following day, it was brought to our attention that he happened to be there. He listened to our entire Gospel message, and not only decided to follow Christ, but to give a huge parcel of his land in order to plant a church there! So, over the course of three days, we got to witness God speak to an entire family and watch him work in their hearts and lives in amazing ways!
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