I was chatting with a couple women in a shop and when I mentioned Jesus, they immediately said: ‘We don’t know much about Jesus, will you tell us about him?’. And so I shared the big story of the Bible, building up for them a picture of why Jesus came. Her friend was in and out of the conversation, customers came and went but Karla was engaged and asking questions. Today I popped by her shop again and without any prompting she told me that I really needed to teach them more, and how her friend had said that they needed to gather others together and really learn about these things! Praise God for curious hearts! Pray that they would put their idea in action, and we would be able to meet together to study God’s word. Pray that as they discover more of who God is, their hearts will be captivated with a love for him.
A local brother who lives in a distant village was going to visit an old, poor, sick relative. He planned to bring him the hope of the gospel and had in his bag a copy of the NT. But somehow some men in the town got wind of his visit and came in the house looking to make trouble. They pulled his NT from his bag and took a close look at it. Miraculously, after a careful look one man said, “Why this is a just a copy of our book.” He handed the NT to another man who agreed with him and said that this was “their book”. Then they apologized for the intrusion and left. Praise for our Father blinding the eyes of those who would make trouble as he opens the eyes of those who are searching for Him.
Praise God for a new female believer in Vanilla Island. After watching a video that took her through God’s story from creation to the second coming she said “I’m not even in His family and yet he carried my sins and they are really heavy! He loves me so much!’” Pray that she would daily grow in her faith and that she would develop a deep intimacy with J. Pray that God would place an urgency and a passion for sharing him with others. Pray that her husband would see her being changed by God’s love and recognise he needs what she has discovered!
An island sister was recently preparing wedding food with a large group of women when some of the women started talking about the way God was responsible for all the evil in the world as well as the good. They brought our sister into the conversation and she was able to tell them that she didn’t agree. She then had the entire audience of women captivated as she told them the story of creation all the way to Cain and Abel. Afterwards women were asking her how she knew these things and if she could tell them more! Praise God for this sister’s boldness and ask that she would be encouraged to step out more and more in faith to share the good news. Pray that God would bless these women with a strong hunger to hear more, and that they would seek her out for more stories.
Pray for one young woman who has had three dreams from God. However, since sharing this with a worker she has been reluctant to talk in more detail. Pray that God would keep bringing those dreams back to her mind. Pray that she would have courage to be found by the God who is pursuing her! Pray also for a young believer who dreamed about an island woman searching for truth, in his dream this woman had a dream (!) that he was the one who would give her the answers. Pray that there would be women who are dissatisfied and searching for more, pray also for this young believer and others like him, that they would recognise with joy that they do have the answer to what others are searching for.
Praise God for all those who have heard the good news over the past few weeks of fasting. On vanilla island two workers have had multiple times each day to share with friends and neighbours, and also with those they don’t normally interact with and rarely engage with in conversation. In the past when they’ve begun to share Truth people have either turned away from the conversation, interrupted with an objection, fallen asleep, or changed the subject! But in these last few weeks, people have stopped what they are doing to listen, they’ve pondered their statements, and asked inquiring questions. Pray that people would continue to think on what they’ve heard and that these seeds would send down deep roots into their hearts. Pray that many would be discovering a hunger in their hearts for something more than what Islam can offer them.
Pray for protection from a local Christian cult. They follow the teachings of a man called William Branham and among other things don’t believe in the Trinity. They first appeared on the scene about ten years ago and at that time some of the older believers choose to follow them. Now it seems that there is some mixing going on between that group and the local church. There is much to attract them – a charismatic leader, a place to meet for fellowship, and it’s possible that financial incentives may also play a part. Pray for discernment for local believers, that they would recognise the teachings of this cult for what they are. Pray also against the seductive hold money has on the hearts of some believers, pray that God would bring them to true dependence on him.
Pray for islanders as they fast – some fast because they are seriously seeking to please God, some fast because they always have and always will and have never really thought about it, some fast just because everyone else does, some fast and take pride in their achievement, a very few fast and wonder whether it’s enough.
For two weeks we talked about the divinity of Jesus, which is a huge stumbling block for Muslims. So it was pretty amazing to go through different passages of the Bible with him looking at how through His words and actions Jesus showed himself to be God. At one point Papa B said, ‘when you say these things, you dishonour God and you dishonour Jesus. Jesus was a great prophet, He healed people, He raised people from the dead – from the dead! And He suffered, He really suffered! How can you say God suffered, that God was defeated, how can you say God died? You dishonour God with these words.’ It’s not often that I get to talk to people who have really understood what we believe and are grappling with the ramifications, but each time I do I marvel at how amazing it will be for them when God reveals that yes He did suffer, yes He did die and He did it for them. Like most here the fact of the incarnation is incomprehensible to Papa B; that God would come down to live in an unclean human body, that He would go through the physical indiginity of being born, and then to go on to die a shameful and painful death. And yet because of this how much more glorious will it be when God opens his eyes? How could it do anything other than draw out the most extravagant devotion and worship?
Pray for believers who are under A LOT of extra pressure this month of Ramadan. This month all men pray five times a day at the mosque – your absence is noted and questions are asked. Some religious teachers teach that if one person in the village doesn’t fast the whole village’s fast is ruined, other families will state that family members who didn’t pray won’t get fed. They also naturally feel a greater sense of isolation and lack of community than normal. I don’t think any of us really has any idea how hard this month must be for believers.