Saturday, November 26, 2016

His Words Shall Not Return Empty

"For as the rain and snow come down from heaven
 and do not return there but water the earth,
 making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty, 
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11

     When we first moved to Pine Hill 4.5 years ago, we met a young man named Nathan. We spent time with him occasionally, including a couple trips to a cave for some spelunking. And Clay always shared a Bible story. Things seemed to be good. He was quiet, but friendly.

     Then one day, about 2 years ago, Clay was visiting him in his home. As he started to share a Bible story, Nathan got upset. He said, "When you talk to me about God and the Bible, it makes me nauseous!" He was rude and angry with Clay.

     Clay was a bit shocked, but he only responded, "May your words fall on you." He figuratively shook the dust from his feet, and left.

     About 6 weeks ago, Nathan showed up at our house around 9pm to visit Clay. We were a little shocked and even suspicious of his intentions, but polite. This happened about 3 more times, random visits from Nathan, until one evening he told Clay, "I feel that I offended you 2 years ago. I want to apologize."  Things evidently hadn't gone well for him since that conversation, and he attributed it to the words spoken by Clay, a man of God.  

     We were shocked by the apology because it's really not cultural for a person to apologize for their actions.  Nathan kept showing up at our door. He even came during the heavy rains when most people would stay bundled up near the fire. Clay wasn't home that afternoon, but Nathan came back again that evening. It was as if he had a burning desire to hear the Word.

     As Clay shared his testimony that evening, he explained that as a youth he had prayed, confessing that he was a sinner and asking God for forgiveness. Nathan responded, "Lets do it! I want to pray like that too!"  And so he did.

     Again that night we were shocked and amazed. It had taken four years for that seed to sprout, but God's Word did not return empty. That weekend, we were surrounded by physical darkness--heavy rain and power outages. Times like these it's easy to feel depressed or sad or overwhelmed by the darkness. But God's Son was shining in that darkness.

     Since then, Clay has met with Nathan to disciple him and he has joined us in our home for worship. Pray for Nathan to grow in knowledge and faith! His journey is just beginning, and we stand amazed!

Faces of the ZK 2016

Some of you may remember praying for this little guy and his
mommy. He's 19 months old!
 We have been back in our village for two months and God has been so good to us. Our first term living in the village was filled with trying to get to know people, showing them God's love, and sharing His Word. In terms of church planting, it was a lot of work preparing the soil before we could plant.

                                                                                                                                                                      Since we've been back, we see a difference in how the people see us. They're still curious, and they still stare at us...but the children aren't afraid of us like they used to be. When we greet someone, they return the greeting. 

   The best part though is when people seek us out...
                                          an old man in need of prayer....
                                                a young man who acknowledges that he needs Jesus Christ!
                                                            or a friend who just wants to visit over a cup of coffee...

I love these smiles!