The enemy can throw every hurdle in the way of our pastors, but God keeps moving in the hearts of the people who hear the Good News. Governments placed restrictions that kept churches from gathering, but God continually opens new opportunities for pastors to minister to the people of their community.
We are thrilled to see the creative responses our churches use to reach out to people. In the USA, you expect that technology is readily available. Almost all churches have sound systems and video equipment. The White Fields churches reaching out into the rural areas usually lack all that digital resource. Still, our pastors use creative methods to find ways to live stream and get simple devices that would let them reach their church members during the lockdown. Young people have really come to the assistance of pastors with their natural skills for technology.
As the churches are now able to regather, they find that many people came to faith during the past year. Pastors could make home visits, and the church families would invite their neighbors to join them for a Bible study. The pastors have also delivered food supplies to the impoverished families that had lost the opportunity to do any labor. These acts of generosity opened the hearts of many people to listen and respond to the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of people. Our responsibility is to proclaim the Gospel with clarity and boldness. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that they were to go into all the world and declare how God would forgive repentant believers’ sins.
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.Luke 24:45-47 (ESV)
God Works in Marvelous Ways
I had the privilege to preach at an open-air crusade in Kagashe last year in August. We were praying that the Lord would provide so we could start a new church in this village. Our pastoral team conducted home visits, and a Bible study had begun among people showing an interest in the Gospel. On the afternoon of the crusade, many people gathered to join the music and hear the preaching. At the end of my message, I invited anyone who wanted to place their faith in Jesus Christ could come forward, and we had counselors who would answer any questions and pray with them.
Many people gathered from the crowd, and our pastoral team joined them. One man stood out to me. As he approached, I could tell that he was drunk. I expected that he might be mocking the people who were gathering—that is a common occurrence at outdoor events we hold. We concluded the meeting, and the counselors began their interviews and prayer with the people. Our team loaded me into the van for another meeting.
In November, I returned to Kagashe with another short-term team from a local church near our office in San Diego. They went into the Kagashe Village because we planned to begin a new church starting in January. When our team met for dinner after the home visits of the day, one of our partners shared that he had met Disimus—the man who gave his life to Christ while drunk at the outreach in August. They had visited in his home, and he gave his testimony that since that day that he gave his life to Christ, he had been sober. During the first week after his conversion, he struggled with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but through the prayers of the pastors that ministered to him, he had victory.
He was a new man. His family had rejoined him, and he had been sober every day with no more drinking. He confessed that before salvation, he’d been a schoolteacher, but alcohol destroyed his career. He was a fall down drunk, often seen lying beside the dirt road in the gutter. Now he was sober and doing small jobs to support his family and was incredibly excited that we were starting the church in his village. The new church began the third week of February with fifty adults present and as many children.
God Is Not Finished
I received word this week that our Field Director, Pastor Onesimus, visited Kagashe on Sunday to share in a special event. Disimus is now fifteen months old in the Lord. He desired to give a special thanks to the Lord. This week, he invited all his friends in the community who knew him before his salvation to visit the church. He asked them to come and thank the Lord with him. Many friends gathered to share with Disimus in this Sunday worship, and Pastor Onesimus clearly and boldly proclaimed the Gospel.
At the end of the message, he invited people to come forward if they wanted to receive the same life-changing salvation that had transformed Disimus. Twenty-two souls came to the Lord and gave their lives to Christ.
Then Disimus came forward, not drunk, not to receive the Lord—but to give an offering from all the goods that the Lord had blessed his family. Because he was sober and diligently laboring, the Lord blessed his work, and Disimus gave a particular extra offering to the church.
White Fields has sent funds to purchase a plot of land where the church will meet. We may need to help them with more funds since the church appears to be growing. They currently have some poles to hold up canopies and some tents for special occasions. Our goal is to get them a solid roof when they purchase a permanent property where they can gather out of the rain and the sun’s heat.
Disimus has already started them on the road to a more permanent place. Disimus designated his offering to help the church have a permanent structure. That is how your partnership comes alongside the local offerings. Your support for pastors brings the Gospel to these rural villages. When the church starts and believers gather, they do their part from the blessings God gives them; then, we match your gifts to help them accomplish all that God has laid out for them.
Together we can expand the influence of the Gospel into the most rural villages in need.