It was 6:30 on Saturday morning and the sun was just beginning to peak over the mountains in the East. With clear skies, and the temperature already at 85 degrees, it was shaping up to be another steamy tropical day. I set out in my flip-flops down the pitted graveled road winding down the coastline, disregarding my bicycle due to the broken parts and a flat tire.
Forty minutes later I walked into the shelter and was greeted by those who were already seated on some planks. After some small talk and the arrival of the others we plunged into our study of Romans and wrapped up the truths in the 3rd chapter. There was some great discussion throughout the lesson and some application points made along the way. After the closing prayer, I looked up and saw the infrequent sight of a 4 wheel drive truck bumping along the road making its way toward us.
Here is where I have to pause the story and interject some background info. In recent months, Saturday morning has also become cappuccino morning for me and Lori. She turns on the generator, brews the coffee, and puts the powdered milk into our little frother for that perfect village cappuccino. It’s our little escape from the world we live in and something we both look forward to. I knew that if I left the little group at that moment, I’d be able to hitch a ride on the back of the truck and be at home in 10 minutes. But if I didn’t jump up right then, I would be obliged to another forty minute walk in temperatures that had risen another 10 degrees.
Now back to the story. I saw the truck and in split second of thinking through all my options my hand grabbed my bag and I began to stand. But at the same time my other hand grasped the bench even harder. In that instant it was as if God was telling me to not go. As I hesitated wondering if this was the Spirit of God speaking to me or the effects of the tropical heat, the truck rumbled by and my hopes of a sweat free ride home vanished.
For the next few minutes I sat and listened to the small talk going on around me and wondered why I hadn’t jumped for that truck. Then someone asked me a question about the lesson and I began to go over some of the truths in Romans again. This led to some questions about some of the prophecies in Scripture and then to some discussion about some of the false teachings that have crept into the tribe. All those questions and conversations were good, but that just led up to the final question.
A young lady asked a question that wasn’t so much a question, but the tip of an iceberg she was struggling with. “What is the real fruit of the literacy program that I am attending?” she said. Knowing she already knew the purpose goals of the literacy program, I decided to prod her for a little more information. Eventually she explained that in the last two weeks she has been getting lots of pressure to not finish the literacy program. Some folks in the village are coming to her and warning her to not attend the literacy program.
The number one goal in our literacy program is that people will be able to read God’s Word for themselves and understand it. We believe that Satan knows this and will do all that he can to prevent it. Once again, the community we live in is making an attempt to thwart the ministry that we are involved in. Once again, new Christians are being talked in to an effort to pull them away from getting the help they need to grow in their walk with God.
We paused then and there to pray for our sister in Christ who wanted so badly to finish the literacy class, but was being pressured by others to no longer be a part. We prayed for strength and peace for her and we prayed for those who were warning her that she “better not attend.”
We wish we were in a village where the believers were not threatened, and where attending church to hear truth was not laughed at, and where those who wanted to learn to read so they could read God’s Word were not warned to not do so. But this is where God has led us to do His Work. This is where we have the opportunity to come alongside brothers and sisters in Christ and encourage them while everybody else tries to dissuade them.
Not long after our prayer time I did set off for home. I did end up getting my cappuccino. It was later then I had hoped and the sweat was rolling down my back as I drank it, but it was a really good cappuccino and not just because of the taste.
I know though that her struggle is not over. I know the “throwing stones” at believers will continue. Will you pray for her this week? Will you pray for the other literacy students in their last 6 weeks of class? Only half of the original group are still continuing to come. Will you pray for the Christians here to stand strong and respond right? And if it helps you to remember to pray for them, do it every time you have a cappuccino.
Fact – The rest of my Saturday was spent disassembling our oven to track down the decomposing dead smell in our kitchen. After pieces were scattered in an array all over the floor I found the culprits. Apparently 3 mice decided to build an extravagant home by removing and rearranging the insulation in the side of the oven while we had been away from the tribe. They obviously did not make a wise decision in their location and met their demise when things got a little heated. Thankfully the smell is now gone and the oven still works after I got it back together. Can’t wait to see what happens next Saturday.