A young worker and his friend in Central Asia ventured into an unreached part of the country. They report:
The first day we did a lot of walking. As we walked we asked the Lord to open a door for us to share in this city. We began conversations with quite a few people but no one showed an interest in talking with us. We would chat for a few minutes before they said they had to leave or get back to work. We went back to the hotel and decided to spend some time in prayer before getting to bed early. Tomorrow we would have an early start. As soon as my friend jumped into bed he jumped right back out, grabbed the blankets and sheets and pulled them back to reveal a nice little cockroach in his bed. At this point I decided to get up and check my sheets. All clear.
The next day we met a man using two crutches and walking with difficulty. We asked him what had happened. He explained that he had been in a car accident that affected his ability to use his legs. “Can I pray for you?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. I took him by the arm and began to pray. When I had finished I looked at him and he looked at me with tears streaming down his face. I pulled him in close and hugged him. He cried into my shoulder and I told him that I loved him, that Jesus loves him and that not once has God ever forgotten him. He asked me if I could help him sit down and after a minute of him catching his breath I asked him what was going on. He said, “When you took my arm and began to pray I felt loved. I can’t remember ever being loved this way.” We sat and talked for about twenty minutes. I shared in different ways about the love of Jesus and salvation. In the end I told him that I would like to give him my Bible as a gift and asked him if he would accept it. He told me he would. I pulled my Bible, in the local language, out of my back pack and told him again how much Jesus loves him and how much this Book has changed my life. He took my Bible and kissed it before putting in in his bag. He then told me that his wife actually teaches courses from their holy book but that he was going to take my Bible home and read it with his wife. We hugged and he began to cry again. I told him again that I love him, Jesus loves him and that God has not forgotten him. Pray for the salvation of this man.
Jake, a former discipleship student, stayed on in the city after the course finished. We have seen him grow even more in his faith. He works as a barista at a popular café and shares his faith with the students who come. He also helps to mentor young people in our church. Jake stays at the Discipleship School property and organizes cleaning. His family remains in a neighbouring country. They do not share or support his new faith and conversations with them have been brief and angry, and sometimes they try to persuade Jake to return to Islam. In the many years Jake has lived in this country, his family has never come to see him, until this year. His mother and older brother suddenly decided they wanted to visit. Jake went to meet them in a city near the border and flew with his mother back to our city while his brother took the bus. Unfortunately the bus had an accident and Jake’s brother broke his leg. He eventually made it back here but because of his limited mobility was mostly confined to the Discipleship School property.
Jake notes that had his brother’s leg not been broken, he would have been out and around the city, certainly not spending so much time with Jake and his friends. Now Jake’s brother was constantly exposed to worship and sermons that Jake likes to listen to, and he was also exposed to the discipleship students and our church community. The Discipleship School property is a place to hang out, where we have barbecues, Bible studies, and prayer meetings. Jake’s brother was overwhelmed by what he saw and his prejudices about Christianity began to drop. He began to ask questions and to listen. And then, praise the Lord, he came to faith. It was incredible. A teary-eyed Jake baptized him recently and now Jake’s brother is a guest student in our discipleship program. Such a joy!
Andrew and Aimée Janzen and family have spent the past year and a half in Toronto preparing to return to Brazil in 2018. They have had to overcome serious health issues while in Canada and at the same time give much time to study. Andrew is completing his Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology. God is at work and they praise Him for progress made on both fronts. Andrew and Aimée have a call to help indigenous people use their music to experience and glorify God.
Andrew and daughter Anna took a two week trip to Brazil in June last year. Andrew shares a story of unexpected joy.
Andrew and Anna spent the Sunday morning at Semiraita (Indigenous Bible School where we previously worked), sharing in the church service and visiting with students and co-workers. After eating lunch together, Andrew pulled out three flutes he had purchased earlier in the week in the city. These were flutes from the region that we had not seen before. Even though Andrew had known everyone at the table for years, and knew they usually sing in Portuguese and play guitar, he wanted to hear what the students might say about the flutes. One of the Semiraita teachers immediately reached for a flute (one from his father’s nation) and enthusiastically began playing it. Then a student who is usually reserved, also joined in the conversation, explaining how her music is similar and how it is used in village celebrations. Very soon, her husband joined in saying jokingly, “Stop – you are going to make me cry.” It was a surprising reminder of how much traditional music still connects to hearts even if it is not so visible at times.