Friday was a much better day than Wednesday.
I went out visiting some of the ladies in our city church with the pastor’s wife, Justa (and her 3 mo. old baby Rachel- always a hit wherever we go!)
First stop, Mama Lillian’s house. Mama Lillian hadn’t been coing to the church for several months now, and then recently she has become ill. But she loved having us there. We sat on plastic tarps under the shade and she and Justa chatted up a storm for about 20 minutes. When there was a lull I piped up asking her to share if and when she had gotten saved. I assumed this would be an assurance-of-salvation visit. But kumbe (a Swahili interjection for “wow” or “man.” Very convenient word!), that was not the case. She didn’t grasp salvation beyond the” church-y” answer of “go to church” and “be good.” When I started explaining more of what the Bible says, she wouldn’t even admit at first that she was a sinner. What a great opportunity. I shared the gospel as clear as I could. When I started to share about Jesus Christ, she couldn’t tell us what Jesus had done for us. I read Rm 5:8 slowly four times before she could answer that He died for us. After I talked for half an hour or so, Justa took over and reviewed and re-explained. When Mama Lillian still did not see her need to accept Christ, Justa stopped beating around the bush, “Mama Lillian, you have not been saved yet, but God is ready today if you are.” Mama Lillian still didn’t understand, she thought she was fine. We prayed with her and left. We did all we could for one day, and now we’re praying that the POWER of the gospel would do its work in her heart!
Next stop, Mama Joeli’s house. What a hoot Mama Joeli is! She keeps you in stitches with her humor and stories. Mama Joeli helps Justa teach in her preschool, but she is Catholic. She is part of the new generation of city-folk here in Mwanza. She has electricity and a water spout outside her house. She has a tv/dvd player/ speaker set-up in her 2-room apartment, and even a fridge. When we got there she pulled out cold sodas from her fridge… that’s a first! Both Justa and her husband have spent time witnessing to her, and Justa thought maybe if it was an American talking she might be more attentive. After swapping stories for 20 minutes or so (and lots of laughing), Justa introduced me and said, we’ve brought the Word of God to share a bit if you don’t mind. “Of course not, that would be great,” Mama Joeli said. One of her neighbors, a young mother, was about to leave, but when she heard that she said, “Oh then I’ll stay.” (I just love how open people are to the Word here. Such great opportunities!) I started with, “There’s so many things in this book to learn, but there’s one matter that’s more important than any other. The matter of where we go after we die.” Again I tried to share the Good News as clearly as I knew how. Both ladies said they were saved and heading to heaven. But when I pressed them further for how they knew that they couldn’t answer. Just as before, Justa shared some more, then we prayed together and left.
This afternoon was such a reminder to me that salvation is a work of GOD. We do our best to share, but it is the Holy Spirit alone who frees people from the bondage of Satan’s lies (…whether it’s lies about witchcraft or lies about religion and personal goodness.)