Today was the first of what I (Alan) hope to be many trips to the nearby countryside villages around the city where we are living.
After a discussion last Friday with one of the Grace Center workers, who I have become very close with, we decided that it would be good to do some spiritual journeys out into the nearby countryside villages. We are planning to go out (two by two like JC sent out his followers in Luke10) every other Sunday, visiting various villages in search of people of peace. In some of these villages, there are already known people of peace, so we will likely try to follow up on some of those relationships as well.
Only the Father can orchestrate some unique occurrences that lead to greater opportunities in these places. Oftentimes, foreigners roaming around these villages cause suspicion rather than hospitality. A unique occurrence happened today.
This particular day we were going to visit a village (called Hamu) about 30 minutes from our city. My Ethiopian partner already had a few friends there, so today we were simply going to see one of his friends in this town. That visit went well, and we were able to walk around this village some, see the local “O” church and market, and talk to a few children of whom we shared some stories about JC.
That was only about 1 hour of time, but we decided that we should just go ahead and return home. As we were boarding the local taxi van, we noticed that a rear side window had recently been busted. Glass was still on the seat and floor. Thinking that was a bit odd, we stayed on anyways and headed for home. About half way to home, our taxi pulled over to the side of the road. The driver and money man stepped off the van and proceeded to have a meeting with some of the locals that had gathered.
We quickly realized that this meeting was in reference to the broken window on the van.
As details unravelled, a woman from this village where we had stopped was responsible for breaking the window. She was not present at first, but did arrive after 5-10 minutes to explain what had happened. Her cow was about to run in to the middle of the road, so she picked up a rock and threw it at the animal. The rock missed the cow, and hit the back window of this van driving by (what are the odds).
Although this whole incident was an accident, the van driver wants money to repair the window of his van (understandable). He had even called someone to find out the cost of repair (about 40 USD). This seems very cheap, and in America we would gladly pay the money without a thought. However, countryside people are often very poor, and this woman couldn’t pay even 5 cents. Unfortunately the van driver was not very gracious and held the whole community responsible for paying up, or he would have the lady (who has two children) put in jail.
I did not realize all of this information until we were finally about to leave and continue home. In fact, I had been kind of annoyed waiting around (meetings like this take a long time) and we were even about to try and get on another van. However, when I had heard that the cost to replace the window would only be 40 USD, I had started to think that I could just offer to pay for it, everyone would be happy, and we could be on our way.
Once I understood the full story (as we were about to leave) I told the driver that I would pay him for the window, but he had to promise to not bother these countryside people, and let them be free. Since all he really wanted was someone to pay to replace his broken window, he was quite surprised, but more than happy with the offer.
We then told the villagers not to worry, that we were going to pay the expense, but what we wanted in return was to be able to come back and visit them and have coffee at their house. They were ecstatic, in-particularly the lady responsible who was trying to kiss my feet. I assured them that this was not my gift, but a gift from the Father.
They were thrilled to have me come back and visit them. What began as an annoying inconvenience in my mind, turned out to be an incredible open door for me and my local partner to return to this place and share the good news and is the perfect bridge into sharing with them the true story of creation and JC. Just as I paid the debt for this lady and kept her from being thrown into jail, JC has paid our debt and saved us from our sins. WOW! We are so excited about the opportunity G*d has given us. Only He can orchestrate such things. There are many vans that go to and from our city and Hamu. There are many people traveling daily. But the Father had our van chosen for us.
This is not a story about me being a kind, generous person, and I hope no one reads it that way. The only reason I have 40 bucks is because many people generously support our work here. This is a story of the Father’s goodness and His faithfulness to give us opportunities. Step out in faith…go. The only thing I did today was to go out with a friend with the intention of searching for people or peace to share Truth with. I was faithful to go, and the Father was faithful to open doors. I have no idea what will happen in this village, but we will return and share the good news. So, can a broken window lead to salvation for a whole village? I hope so. I pr*y so.
Please pr*y with us for this village. Pr*y that the Father will begin softening the hearts of the people there and that when we return they will be ready to hear the good news. Pr*y against attacks from the enemy who will try and stop us from sharing. Thank you for journeying with us.