“Please! Come and teach us!” the man pleaded with Ramon as twilight fell on the windswept sand of the dry river bed. “For nearly thirty years, we have been watching you. When the white missionaries first came, we were sure they would kill and eat you. When you accepted their teaching about God, we thought you were foolish and would pay when the spirits tortured you for betraying them. But we kept watching you, and now we know that you have found the truth. You have found the way back to God which our ancestors lost. We are ready to listen now. You must come and teach us!”
Ramon was astounded. The village of Parugis had stubbornly resisted Christian missionaries for decades. He never knew that all along they were quietly watching. Now was the time. Ramon called a meeting of all of the native church leaders. A team was chosen and soon they were on their way.
True to their word, the village met the team of native church leaders with open arms. Respected elders and little children, young mothers and balding fathers all pushed eagerly into the hut, which the chief donated as the new church. All listened intently and peppered their teachers with questions. More than seventy people joined the group and overnight a new church was planted.
“It’s true,” Ramon mused as he watched the first of many baptisms in Parugis. God promised, “My word that goes out from my mouth . . . will not return to me empty” (Is. 55:11 NIV). We and the missionaries worked for years, sometimes feeling that all our efforts were in vain. But all along people were watching us. As they did, God was whispering to their hearts, preparing them to come to faith in His perfect time!”