Sunday, April 17, 2011

On The Street With Pastor Daniel

Monday evening, we met Pastor Daniel and ten of the children from The Covering at 6:00 GMT.*  The ten kids were chosen because of their good behavior.  We were all walking together into the community near the center to meet with people, pray for their needs and to give them a free Bible.

We were blessed to be able to take two cases of Bibles with us.  I wish we could have taken more.  We had a total of 40 to give away that evening.  There were also many copies of the Book of Hope at the guesthouse which were left by some missionaries.  We took everything we could fit in our four backpacks.

I'm sure we were quite a sight as we walked down the hill into the neighborhood nearby....ten local kids all dressed up in their finest and looking cheerful, the pastor, the social worker from the center, and 4 white people who were sweating profusely (definintely not looking my finest) and loaded down with backpacks full of books and magazines.  LOL

It didn't take long for people to figure it out, though.  Pastor Daniel has an amazing gift of being able to just walk right up to a stranger and start talking about Jesus.  The first stop was a beauty "salon".  There were a couple people sitting outside while just inside the little shack there was a lady getting her hair done.  When the group stopped walking right in front of their business and Pastor started talking, everything was quiet and all eyes were fixed on the pastor.

                                               The beauty salon

As he talked, others started to gather round.  He shared the gospel with everyone standing within earshot.  After the short mini-sermon, we asked if there was anything we could pray for on their behalf.  The entire group (kids included) prayed for God's provision and protection on each person and their family.   Pastor Daniel even led everyone who would, in a prayer of salvation!  He was sure to let them all know he would be available to answer any questions they might have and to invite them to Sunday services at the center.  They were all very interested and seemed excited that there was a place nearby they could worship.

                                                Pastor leading a group in a prayer of salvation

When the discussions were over, we broke out the Bibles.  There would be a similar reaction here in the States if you were handing out 100 dollar bills on the street.  They were ELATED!  We were only in that one spot for a few minutes, but it didn't take long to realize that we didn't have enough.  We sent the guys back to restock the backpacks with more magazines.

Pastor Daniel led the kids along with Tiffany and I farther down into the village where we kept praying with people and offering them the Bibles and magazines we had.   The Bibles were gone before we got to the 2nd or 3rd stop.  People were running up to us asking for one and we kept giving until we had no more.  There was an older lady that came back and followed me for a few feet, with a huge smile holding her new Bible next to her chest and just saying, "Thank you, thank you!"  It was really an amazing experience.

                                             The crowd starting to gather

The last stop was at the bottom of the hill in an area that was occupied by several small shacks and many people.  By this time, all we had left were Books of Hope.  Again, Pastor Daniel spoke about Jesus and then we prayed both for salvation and for God's blessing on His people.  Word throughout the area spread quickly and before we knew it, there was a really large crowd gathered.  Most of them were women and many, many children.  After the prayer, we opened up our backpacks and all sorts of chaos broke loose.

                                                         Doug handing out Books of Hope
There were kids jumping and shouting, reaching and just trying to get hold of one of those magazines.  We guessed that there was near 75 to 100 or so kids.  Being the school teacher and having taken a few groups of kids on field trips, I was more than a little nervous about locating the ten kids that belonged to us and keeping an eye on them.  It was extremely loud and people were everywhere.  I tried to get a head count in the madness, but it was impossible.  I think Pastor Daniel thought my preoccupation with the kids' safety was a little comical.  Neither him nor the social worker on staff were in the least bit concerned.

After all the magazines here handed out and there was a huge mass of village kids standing with these books in their hands, looking at pictures of the life of Christ, Pastor told them to shout the name of Jesus on the count of 3.  It was an amazing sound to hear...I hope I don't ever forget it.  The kids were thrilled with their new books and it was a blessing just to see them smiling and so happy.

On our walk back to the center, we passed the beauty salon where we'd first stopped.  Every person there was sitting with their Bibles open on their laps, smiling.  They were looking at these Bibles Doug and I purchased for not more than $1 each like they were the biggest treasure they had.  Just this one evening was worth all the time, planning, inconvenience and expense of our trip.  It was all worth it.  Every single penny...and I'd do it all over again.  In fact, I'm certain that I will do it again.

I'm so glad to know that even though we were only there for a week, we left behind something that will affect their lives and give them hope for an eternity.

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