Seeking God on the Edge of the Sahara
The gospel is such a beautiful message. But accepting it has a high cost.
“Last Friday was pretty special,” writes a colleague serving on the edge of the Sahara. He’d asked us to pray about his plans to meet up with a local man, a seeker of God who had made friends with a short-term worker who gave him a copy of the New Testament.
After receiving the Bible, the local man’s life began to take a radically different turn.
“The Bible began to speak to him, and he couldn’t put it down. When he would go to bed, Jesus would appear in his dreams and speak to him, too. In three weeks, he finished the New Testament, along the way having visions and dreams of our Messiah. By the time I met with him last week, he was ready to become a Christian.”
“There is no easy way for people to follow Jesus here.”
At the same time, this seeker of God is deeply afraid of his family. If they find out that he is a follower of Jesus, he knows they will pressure and abuse him until he returns to the majority religion. And if he doesn’t, they will either try to kill him or exile him from their family. That would be a huge loss to any of us, but even bigger for those in this part of the world.
“There is no easy way for people to follow Jesus here. The path that leads to eternal life is narrow, and hard. There is no better way for [this man] to get over this deep fear than to face it and endure persecution.”
To be rejected by your family is devastating. To join the family of Christ, though, seems like a big risk. In such an environment, how do you know you can trust them not to disappoint or betray you?
“Would you pray that the Holy Spirit would prompt this brother to be bold at the right time, and that he wouldn’t ignore His leading? Would you pray that he would have courage to meet other believers from the same background and be encouraged by their testimonies and fellowship?”
The Mango Tree and the River
Others in the same community have heard and seen the gospel from our teams, the local church, and many a short-term visitor. Some show little interest in seeking God, at least not now. One has expressed belief at times but never been willing to publicly confess that Jesus is his Lord. Lately, God has led two local believers to be part of his life. They share the good news and their faith. It seems to have sparked his interest again.
Then he had a dream. He saw a big mango tree with lots of good fruit, sweet and ready to eat. But a large, impassable river was between him and the mango tree. He called his friend, the local believer, and told him about the dream. As they talked about it, they both concluded that the mango tree is the gospel. The river is fear: This is what is keeping him from the tree of life.
Please pray for this man. May the Lord give him faith to walk on water and grab that fruit.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44
Pray for People Seeking God in the Sahara
A cross-cultural worker in this region felt led by God to start a prayer campaign. She’s asking people to pray five minutes every Monday until the end of 2020 for “Jesus communities” to form in her city of 600,000. She’s also asking the Lord for 60 women to come to Christ and be discipled.
And one more thing. She’s praying for 60 fearful believers, many of them rejected by their families and friends, to start meeting together. People like the men in the stories above. Let’s pray with her. Pray for more people seeking God. And pray for those who already are seeking God to have courage and not lose heart.
May Jesus be lifted up in North Africa.
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Stories from the pursuit
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A voice may sound from heaven and call you to a specific ministry, but we have met very few for whom this was their on-ramp for missions. For most of us, it is a more gradual process of discernment.
Is “Lost” a Four-Letter Word?
Should we even use the word “lost” to describe people who do not yet know Christ as Savior? Where does the term come from?
Aren’t There People Who Need the Gospel in My Own Neighborhood?
Some people have less access to the gospel of Jesus Christ than others. Significantly less. Embarrassingly less. Here's what I mean...