Sharing Christ Everywhere We Can...
Sharing Christ Everywhere We Can..
I have had a lot of opportunities to share the Gospel with people in the village and on our football team. I was recently in Bellimue teaching the Sunday service and after we had finished I was walking to the truck to go home. I walked past a small palm hut with about 15 people inside. As I was going I heard, "white man. white man!" I always make a joke out of it and turn around and look for the white man and say, "where is the white man." Inevitably they say to me, "you are the white man." I usually respond, "I am not white, my skin is brown." They all have a good laugh about it and it becomes an opportunity to share the Gospel. On this particular day they were all drinking palm wine, an alcoholic drink made from a certain type of palm trees. I started talking to them about going to church and salvation. I asked them where they would go if they were to die. They all responded that they would go to heaven. I asked how they knew that they would go to heaven and they said because we believe in Jesus. The smell of alcohol was thick on their breath. So I began to ask them if believing was enough. The scriptures say the demons believe and tremble and the Bible is clear they won't be in heaven. They said they should also do the will of God, to which I asked, "what is the will of God?" They had no idea. They said things like: going to church, and praying. I asked if they do those things and it was evident they didn't. I then said to them that drinking alcohol to get drunk is sinful and drunkards will not go to heaven according to 1 Corinthians 6:9. They were shocked to hear that. Some of the people tried to then hide what they were doing and others tried to justify their behavior. I then gave them my testimony and told them I was no different than they are now. I explained to them what Christ did for me and how they could be free as well. They asked what they should do so I told them they should pour out the alcohol on the ground and ask God to forgive them right now if they were serious. They were all reluctant to make any kind of decision. When it came to the action of choosing God over their sin they would not do it. They asked plenty of questions and gave false promises to come to church but in their hearts they truly didn't believe. I have had plenty of opportunities at the video club and with the team. One of our new players was bragging about all his exploits with women before practice one day. The players that have been there for a while tried to warn him to be quiet but I heard him. So for the past three weeks I have been telling him about Christ and his need for salvation. I ask him straight, "where are you going when you die?" He will tell me plainly with his head hanging low, "I will go to hell." He understands everything but he has not crossed over from knowledge to belief. Over and over I have these encounters where the people completely understand but they are reluctant to believe or they just love their sin too much. Please pray that God would open the eyes and ears of the people here so they would believe.
Possible tutoring center...
Jennifer has essentially been shut out of the school. A few weeks ago she went to inform the pastor in charge that she would not be in the school this year because the administration and school board have shut her out. The pastor said he would be investigating what was going on so that they would reinstate her but that has been several weeks now so I don't foresee anything changing. We then recently found out there are serious problems with one of the school board members. He apparently has three other women in different areas who are pregnant apart from his wife. Needless to say the focus has shifted from Jennifer to this man and the reason for his adultery. The truly sad part is that there are ministries in America supporting schools like this one who have no understanding of the corruption and sinfulness that is ingrained in the culture here. The sole reason some of the administration have been shutting her out is that she has exposed the corruption that takes place and has tried to hold them accountable. They do not want someone exposing their evil deeds so they have done all they can to get rid of her. Jennifer has just tried to move on but every other week some of the kids from the school come to the house and ask her when she is coming back. She has just been continuing to help the children who come to the house with reading and their school assignments; and also helps one of the teachers with reading and preparing her lessons. Recently she has been discussing the possibility of opening a tutoring center for local kids with another missionary family. The land they stay on already has a building we could use and it is a little more centrally located. The building would function as a library and class room. Jennifer is trying to work out the details about when to open the tutoring center and what the schedule would be like. They plan on teaching reading and Bible and also to help with school assignments. She is hoping to try and start by January with a modular reading class and assignment tutoring one day a week.
Please pray that God would lead us in this endeavor.
Future plans and needs...
We will be purchasing our plane tickets home soon and we need to start scheduling our visits for next August through the following May. We plan on visiting everyone who has contributed to our ministry so we can let you know what has been going on and allow you to ask any questions you may have. If you have a missions conference or specific time you would like us to come please email me so I can begin to make plans. We will be visiting seven states while we are home not only to meet with supporters but to find new partners. It is an inevitable part of missions that we lose support along the way so we must find new supporters so we may continue our ministry here. If you know of a church or individual that would be interested in what we do here please put us in contact so we can schedule a visit.
I would also like to make you aware of a future need we have. Our lease agreement is over in June of next year and we must renew our contract in order to secure our home for the next four year term. The way things work here is we pay about a third of the cost up front for the next four years and the rest of the money is deducted for repairs we have made to the property. We have already fulfilled two terms worth of repairs to the house so all that is needed is the initial lump sum which is $3,150.00. We have to pay this amount by June or we could lose the house. If you would like to help us with this expense just send me an email. These costs would normally be covered in our monthly support but we have seen a decline in our income over the past few months so we are asking for your help.
No Photos Please...
I normally do not take a lot of photos here in Liberia. If I do, I try to be sensitive to the people. At times I have used stock photos in the newsletter because of the perception people have here. I think it is important that you see what is going on but I have to balance that without ruining my opportunities. People here think that Americans take pictures in order to carry them home to sell them for money. It makes people feel used or exploited so I try to either be discrete or ask permission first. If I am speaking to a man about salvation and he responds and I immediately get out my phone and snap a picture to post on Facebook it cheapens everything. My motivation becomes a photo shoot opportunity to prove all the good I am doing instead of the destination of the man's soul. People will begin to say that I am just taking pictures to sell in America. It could ruin my witness in the community. One of the guys on my team asked me one day why Americans think it is OK to take pictures of people here but when you try to take their picture they refuse. He had encountered an American who was taking everyone's picture but when he tried to do the same they wouldn't allow it. All this did was fuel their thinking about being exploited. I do not believe the people we deal with on a daily basis should be treated that way. It breeds distrust and can make us ineffective. With that being said, I will try to make some videos (with everybody's permission) to bring home so you can see what life is like here. I have already spoken to the church at Bellimue and they have agreed to give you a taste of life there. Lord willing, I will begin taking footage soon.
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