The morning after we arrived on Pearl Island, T (our local “friend” who lives there) took us to a remote village on the northern edge of the island. He hadn’t been there himself, so it was a new experience for all of us. While there we met up with a pastor who used to live in the village. He and his family were forced to leave during a stint of persecution towards Believers. During that time their house was burned down. The family we stayed with while there had helped him and his family escape in the middle of the night. This pastor showed us around the village and introduced us to some people there.
One evening we were walking through the village and stopped to give a bunch of jump ropes and candy to some of the kids. A crowd of about 30 people gathered around us to talk and soothe their curiosity. It was too large of a group to openly share the gospel with, so we kept our conversations light. When it started getting dark I heard a voice next to me say in broken English, “Do you want to climb the mountain?” I looked over and was surprised to see a young man trying to dialog with me in English. I said, “Excuse me?” He repeated himself gesturing at the huge volcano stationed next to the village where we were. I asked, “How long does it take to climb?” He responded, “One day up, and one day down.” I really wanted to, but I knew it wasn’t part of our team’s itinerary, so I told him, “I would really like to but don’t have time on this trip, maybe on my next trip.”
Others that were standing around started to disperse and T came over to talk with us too. “What’s your name?” asked T, “My name is Louie”, he said. By that time there were only a few of us standing around and T began to talk with Louie in the local language, sharing the gospel story with him. He was super curious and asked a lot of questions. He told us that he had seen a film about Jesus on TV when he was a little boy, but didn’t understand it. We explained to him about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross. He told us that in Islam he was taught that it wasn’t actually Jesus who died on the cross, but one of Jesus’ friends instead. I looked at Louie and said, “Jesus’ mother was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. Jesus spoke to her. You would recognize your mother and your mother would recognize you, right?” Louie smiled in acknowledgment. T asked Louie if we could give him a Bible so that he could look into these things further. Louie’s best friend standing next to him piped up with excitement, “We’ve been looking for that book!”
We’ve been looking for that book!
T and our team looked at each other; we were surprised to hear that! T said, “We’ll go get it! Can you meet us back here in one hour?” “Yes!” he replied. We started our walk back to where we were staying to pick up the Bible. When we got back to our meeting place with Louie, he invited us into his house. We met his mother, grandmother, uncle, aunt and a few siblings. We all sat down together, we felt so honored to be invited into their home. His family was very welcoming. We shared the gospel with his family and they were very receptive. They set cups of coffee before us and apologized for not offering more explaining that they were poor. T asked if he could read them a story from the Bible he brought them. They enthusiastically agreed. T read them the story of the Rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16. They followed along in their new Bible.
After reading the story it was obvious that it struck a chord with them. Later that night, as we walked back to where we were staying, we prayed and thanked God for ordaining the time and appointment He had just given us.
As I think back on our time with Louie and his family I can’t help but see the hand of God leading this young man to us. I thank God for giving T just the right Bible passage to share with this family. In Luke 16 when we read the dialog between the Rich man and Abraham, the rich man is begging for a miracle of Lazarus to be raised from the dead. He wants Lazarus to go warn his brothers of the reality of hell. But Abraham responds “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man replies, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham responds with this,“If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” What I glean from this story is that we have the Word of God (the Bible); we have the stories of Moses and the Prophets. Furthermore, we have the stories of the New Testament recorded in the Bible. If we don’t believe the Word of God, we won’t accept His miracles either; after all, His miracles are recorded in the Bible. The family we shared this story with doesn’t need to see someone rise from the dead, they just need to believe God’s Word and the gospel (which includes Jesus being raised from the dead). Jesus overcame sin and the penalty of sin on our behalf. We gave this family the best gift possible! We gave them the ability to enter into a relationship with God through His Word. I’m excited to see the fruit that will come out of this!
Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” More laborers are needed! The harvest is ready! Could you be the answer of an earnest prayer and be the one to go as a laborer into God’s harvest field? Will you go?