This past week we had our normal Christmas celebrations in our neighborhoods where many of our Muslim friends gathered to eat, share, and enjoy the day with us. We also had a Christmas study group where those who have been studying the Word with us all came together to study the Christmas story and share a meal together. We are so excited about this more intentional and close look at what Christmas is all about. Please lift up all who gathered, that His presence would be so close to them. Pray that as we continue to declare the name of Emmanuel, our friends would feel His love near and their hearts would be changed.
As we head toward Christmas, we remember that last year our big community celebration was met with some opposition for the first time ever. Pray that the opposition last year would actually lead to even more people joining us this year. Pray that the story of Christmas would go out even more boldly and with greater impact than it ever has before. Pray that hearts would be softened to joyfully receive their King.
In March we asked the Lord for 3 different Discovery Bible Study groups to start, with each group having 4 local people studying by the end of the year. At that point we had no one. We asked for at least 3 people who would fearlessly “start the wheel” of pursuing Jesus in our community. While our numbers were not as neat and tidy as we had prayed for, what did miraculously happen was that we had 4 groups running consistently, and at least 10 people truly and intentionally encountered the Word of God with us. Some came in and out because they traveled. Others came and went for reasons unknown. But all of them left with a better understanding of the Scriptures and having been prayed for by us and with us. There are 3 people who have started the wheel, 1 having been baptized, and 2 not believing yet but continuing to move toward Jesus. We praise Him for this supernatural response to our prayers!
Last week we had an unexpected encounter with a fisherman who took us on a hunt for a specific shell we were looking for. During the adventure, we got to share with him that Jesus loved fishermen and hung out with them often. We told him there are a number of stories in the Bible where Jesus spent time on the water with His disciples. Our fisherman excitedly told us he would like to have a Bible to read during his “boring hours” on the fishing boat. We assured him we would bring him one and before we parted he reminded us, “Please bring me your book!” Since then we have not been able to find him again. Please pray for this man and the many other Swahili men who make their living on the ocean. Pray that Jesus would draw these men to Himself and make them fishers of men.
Last week just before our study time with our one baptized believer, a 16-year-old neighbor showed up at my house. She was just home from boarding school and came to greet me. When I explained to her what we were about to do, she begged to stay. I went to get permission from her mom who was sitting outside with two other neighbors. The three women discussed it and decided it would be okay. Please pray for this normally reserved girl who was highly engaged and excited during our study! Pray she would come back this week and that her heart would be captured by the love of the King.
For many months we have been praying and hoping for a well-respected couple who would join our Bible studies and be willing to open up their home to others who are searching for the Truth too. Recently, one couple we have known for years agreed to host a study in their home but they have not been consistent or committed to it. We know that they are people of peace and that God is working in their hearts. Please pray that He would ignite a passion in them to move forward in providing a safe place for many to come to study with them. And most of all, pray that He would bring them to saving faith as they do it.
In the past few months we have given out 4 Bibles to people who are seeking. Every single person handled them with tenderness, gently opening the front cover and reading the first words of Genesis. We have seen the power of the Word in this place. Please pray that whether the Word of God goes out in written or spoken form that it will land on good soil. Pray for protection over the Bibles that are in unwelcoming homes. Pray and believe with us that God’s Word will not return void.
A few months ago we started studying with a young man who seemed to be craving access to the Scriptures despite his devotion to Islam. We started our Scripture study in Genesis and 14 weeks later, we are fast approaching the stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Please pray with us that as he encounters these stories in the next few weeks his heart would be deeply moved and stirred by the Spirit. Pray that he would understand this Good News is given for him and that he would receive it with great joy!
We continue to ask the Lord to grow the numbers of those who are studying the Scriptures with us in our DBS groups. Please join us in praying that God would move in the hearts of those who are already studying with us to invite their neighbors and friends in. Pray that Jesus would use them as the catalyst for growing the groups so that by the end of the year, we would have 12 people studying with us regularly.
We recently began studying the Scriptures with a woman who came from a churched background. But years ago, after experiencing a lot of hurt and disappointment from the church, she converted to Islam. She is illiterate so our study with her is the first one that is strictly oral. Please pray that Jesus would capture her heart and she would find Him to be her source of salvation and healing. Pray as well for others to join this study who may be illiterate but can come and hear the Word of God.