|Simon holding picture of another of a guy he led to the Lord|
Simon is one of the guards back at my old house. He came by the other day to buy some Bibles.* It started raining, so we ran to my front porch for cover. Then it really started raining. We ended up chatting for over an hour. He proceeded to tell me the following story...
One evening about 8 o' clock, I was sitting and chatting with some neighbors. All of a sudden somebody was shining a bright flash light in my face. "Hey, who's there and what are you doing? Don't you know it's rude to shine a light right in someone's eyes?" He put the flashlight down and and barked, "What did you say to me?" Then I realized my mistake. It was a policeman. He grabbed me and put handcuffs on me. "How dare you talk to a policeman that way." He made me get in the back of the police truck.Simon is not a pastor; he's never had the chance to go to Bible college. But he loves Jesus and he loves telling other people about Him. Oh, for the same boldness to tell others about my glorious Savior!
I was driven to the police station and they decided to lock me up. They confiscated everything I had on me which wasn't much. I didn't even have my cell phone to let my wife know what had happened. "Please, what have I done? I'm a Christian. I haven't done any crime." He replied rather harshly, informing me that there was no singing or preaching allowed and threw me in the jail cell.
The place stunk! Raw sewage, flies, packed full of people. Some smoking pot that they had sneaked in with them. After a little while I asked myself, "What am I afraid of? What's the worst they'll do to me, beat me? I was beaten plenty of times in school, I'm not afraid of being beaten." Then I announced to everyone, "I'm going to sing now." I started singing and praising Jesus. A police officer yelled, "Hey you, stop that!" I replied, "You can handcuff my hands and feet but you can't handcuff my mouth." And I just kept singing. Soon other prisoners were singing with me. We had quite a choir going.
After we sang awhile I asked the guy next to me, "So, what are you in here for?" After he shared, I started to give him the gospel. "You know, it doesn't matter what you've done. There is a love that's bigger than that. Jesus loves you and is ready to forgive you. He died for your sins and mine." Then we prayed together and I moved on to the next guy. "So, what are you in for?" All night long I prayed with guys and we sang more. The next morning I was released and sent home.
*One thing I've been able to do because of generous gifts of churches and friends in the States is help get Swahili Bibles into villagers hands. Most of our churches are in villages, and most villagers are farmers who live off the land. A Swahili Bible costs $5-15 in town. I buy boxes of Bibles and travel with them in the back of my Rav4, selling them for half price. Whatever church I'm at, they know that I have Bibles at a reduced price. If I were to guess we've "sold" 300-400 Bibles so far. :-)