People like me just shouldn’t get to see what I got to see:
Just before Christmas, I went on a quick little day trip to see Frank, a friend who used to help in our yard. I was hoping to tell his family the Christmas story, maybe pray with them, nothing much more than that. He says they believe everything in the Holy Book I have given him, and that he has been sharing it with others.
It’s a rather tough three-hour drive, and not easy to find his house. Luckily, I look pretty different so it was easy for him to find me. We went up to his house and sat down for a meal. Soon his uncle joined us. We chatted. Two other guys joined in the conversation – middle-aged or younger men, obviously not family members.
Before long the oldest of the men brought up something religious. I used the opportunity and started telling the Christmas story. It’s quite an offensive story to the religious mindset here: God making a girl pregnant with the Son of God, worship of a man, all in one story. Nothing quite like seeing if your audience really wants to be hospitable or kick you out or worse!
I got to the end of the story and the main talker immediately said, “Yeah, yeah, we already believe all that. My question is, what do we do now?”
Oh. Right. Silly me. Apparently, this is a little more than a group welcoming the foreigner to town. This seems like a gathering of followers who want to know exactly what they should do next. Apparently, someone shared pretty clearly before I got here, these guys decided what he said was true, and now they don’t know what to do next. My plan for the visit had to be changed! I spent the next hour and a half discussing how to study the Holy Book, how to pray, how to gather, etc., and left promising to come back with something prepared to teach them as soon as I could and promises from them to visit me when they came to town.
I don’t even know how many there are. I asked, “Are all of them followers?” when I left. Frank misunderstood, and he answered, “Oh no, there are quite a few more, everyone who wanted to meet you today couldn’t because there was a funeral they had to be at.” Oh, right. He says maybe 200 people there want to follow.
People like me shouldn’t get to see this. A tiny Muslim people group of maybe 5,000 people living in one remote valley with no real tourist attraction or much reason to visit at all, how do I get to see the birth of their church? What did I do to deserve that? How could I possibly be qualified to be part of this? I can just see the conversation around the throne related to these people, “Really Lord, you want him there? Do you think that will work?” “Well, yeah, his language is frankly pretty bad, but he is there. Besides, no one on earth is going to think he had anything to do with it, so it’s kind of how I work.”
Getting to see one unreached and unengaged people group impacted for the first time with the Good News is amazing. I can’t overstate what I saw that day. A people with a unique language, in some of the most remote mountains of the world, politically and religiously isolated until very recently, now has a group of people worshipping Him. Another of those tribes we are promised in Revelation has joined the throng around the throne. One reads about things like this, one shouldn’t get to see it.
By “Peter James”