It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Our family was all dressed and ready for church. We got in our car, ready to drive to our morning place of worship, when behold, our car wouldn’t start. At the very same time that my husband was trying to figure out why our car wouldn’t start, I was receiving a WhatsApp message from my Muslim friend, Sarah*, asking how I was doing. This friend of mine lives in a different country than I, but we used to live in the same location. I RARELY receive messages from her unless I have initiated first. This is particular morning I find this unusual. It’s also unusual that our brand-new Toyota Fortuner car is not starting.
We have learned to see God is all of our circumstances. “All things work together for good to those who love God” says Romans 8:28. So I immediately start wondering what this means for our morning – this message from my friend, and our car not allowing us to go to church. Our university son who just happens to be with us mentions watching a sermon on TV. We turn it on and the pastor ‘just happens’ to be preaching on Mark 5 – the story of the lady who has had bleeding for 12 years, and how she reached out her hand to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. THIS IS THE STORY I HAVE SHARED WITH SARAH ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. Sarah has had bleeding, infertility, and many miscarriages the last few years, and she longs to get pregnant. I have encouraged her to “reach out to Jesus” just as the lady in this story. I have even given her a Bible in her own language, Urdu, and she has been reading the Bible.
Is this coincidence that we are kept from church, that I have received a message from Sarah at the exact time, and that this pastor is preaching the exact story which Sarah knows well? Could it be that God is showing me right now to pray for her, to share the story to her again, and to spend my morning reaching out to her instead of going to church? I believe my purpose on this Sunday morning is doing just that: connecting with Sarah.
I then share this happening with Sarah, and I remind her of Jesus’ love for her. Will you pray for Sarah right now? She is searching for truth. Jesus is her truth. Pray that she would reach out for His hem, and receive the truth into her heart. Also pray that Jesus would do a miracle for her – and allow her to conceive a child. Jesus wants her to be His child, and He can also give her her own child. This is my prayer.
Creating dependency ultimately hurts more than it helps and in some cases actually undermines the economy of an entire nation. (Haiti is one example). When there is free food available, one can’t afford to grow it because no one will buy it. It also shuts down local stores trying to sell what is being given away which causes loss of employment. With free medical care available, who will pay to see local doctors and dentists? With free clothes shipped by the bales local clothing industry has shut down in many under-developed countries. So how do you help people in an oppressive environment? We are thankful to have Brett and Allison Barnhill from Reclaimed Ministries join the Zimbabwe Evangelism Team. They have come in to teach people how to grow their crops in a way that conserves seed, fertilizer and water, yet yielding an abundant harvest.
They provide training in financial management. They also help people identify skills they have and get them started making things (handcrafts, baskets, clothes, etc.) and then seek out local markets where their goods can be sold. While they are doing all these things, Brett and Allison also share the gospel and do discipleship with those who are involved in the project. This is how we as Christ’s ambassadors can continue to “proclaim good news to the poor. . . to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
There’s a small church family located in a big village in the North West Province of South Africa that could use your prayers! Ledig (lee-duh) Baptist Church met for many years in a house, but now meets in a “makuku” or tin shack on their own plot of land. This church is mostly made up of women and children. It is very difficult to get the men to come to church. Every week the children/youth sing songs for the church. Every week the ladies lift up voices of praise. The offering is taken and a message is shared from God’s Word. Many Sundays special prayers are lifted for those with “matata” or trouble. There is a family spirit in this church.
I’m asking you to pray because the missionary family that worked with this little church for many years has had to leave. It is God’s time, but still painful. Pray for the women in this church to persevere in difficult circumstances. Most of their grown children are not following God. There are many issues; including joblessness , alcoholism, food insecurity and ancestor worship. Ask God to strengthen the women of this church to be the role models & teachers of God’s truth to their children & their grandchildren. Pray they will continue to share the Gospel in their communities. Pray for the young adults to take their places of responsibility in the church. Ask that the children will see that God’s way is best. Petition our Lord to raise up more godly leaders. Praise Him for His faithfulness!
Xanadu is recently divorced.
Her religion requires her to remain at home for 90 days. She cannot go to the grocery store, the bank, or any other typical life activity. Xanadu does not have a job and she has four children to raise on her own as a result of the divorce. Thankfully her family lives nearby and they help take care of her by bringing her groceries and providing money for other necessities. Nevertheless, she gets very lonely and bored sitting at home so much.
- Pray that Xanadu and other women in her situation will have a Christian witness in their lives during this time via a radio station, TV show, literature, or a visit from a Christian friend.
- Pray that they will find the freedom, grace, and life purpose they crave in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Join Linda in thanking the Lord for R’s continued desire to study God’s Word. As the study of “Seeking Him” progressed, it was evident that it may have been too advanced at this time. So, the ladies have started a study of the women of the Bible instead. Please pray that both ladies would see God afresh through the lives of these biblical examples.