We have so many stories of lives transformed, churches planted and disciples making new disciples that it is impossible to share them all in one blog post! However, we do want to give you a brief glimpse of what has happened over the past 30 years with a recent story from the harvest fields of Africa.
We often don’t hear back from African partners working in remote locations, who have long distances to travel and limited access to the internet. This story, told by Mike, our SIU Africa Regional Director and a gifted lead trainer, is clear evidence that even if we don’t always hear their testimonies, these partners are achieving much for the Kingdom:
While training in N’Djamena, Chad, I had the opportunity to meet a young missionary from the Central African Republic. The training had continued for three days when my partner, Rene, had to leave early the next morning. By that afternoon I noticed a missionary sitting in the corner. He was very upset. Through a translator, he said he was upset because he had missed giving his report to Rene. I said I would be happy to take the report to him. The missionary then unrolled a scroll of paper with almost 4,000 names and dates. I asked him what this meant. He explained through the translator that it was a list of people he had led to Christ from his Pygmy people group.
He had begun his Bible storytelling ministry after a young teenage girl mysteriously died in the village. After the pagan death ceremonies were completed, he felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to pray for her resurrection. He touched her ankle and she returned to life. The village was astounded and the story spread throughout the region, opening the door for the missionary to tell Bible stories and bring all the names on his scroll to Christ.
Such testimonies as that of this dear African brother, both the ones we learn about and those we don’t, are abundant in the harvest fields where “childlike faith” is so active among storytelling fellowships. Jesus instructed His disciples to:
“8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
Jesus’s words are as true today as when He stated them publicly nearly 2,000 years ago, and those words are for His disciples, past, present and future. What’s amazing is that the statistics SIU reports about the number of new church plants, new believers and new disciples are actually “conservative.” We do know that the harvest fields are ripe with new believers, disciples and churches as a result of SIU Bridges training events held all over the world these past 30 years. Only our Lord could have created such an incredible movement, and it actually comes from Jesus’s first-century model repeating itself now in the 21st century.
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