Olive Manna

“Barnabas, it’s taken me 30 years to think like I do. I have known you for only three years. I can’t undo 30 years in three years.” This statement struck me as I sat and talked with my dear friend Zafer, a legally blind electrician. He is the most honest man in our church. He prays with me to Jesus. He confesses Jesus to be the Son of God. He tells me he gave up on the Quran because “it is a book that drives to nowhere.” He has attended our Sabbath service with his Adventist Ukranian wife for three years very faithfully. Yet, he isn’t ready to make a decision. For me, his statement was a powerful insight that true conversion with deep worldview shift takes time—lots of time. Zafer is an honest enough man that he doesn’t want to be only half converted.

Last week, Zafer’s wife was bubbling over about a miracle she had experienced. She and Zafer have about 500 olive trees. Daily hard work was producing a consistent five baskets of olives a day. When she told her mother-in-law that she would be going with our family to spend the Sabbath with some believers several hours away, her mother in-law said, “That’s five baskets of olives that won’t get gathered.” Zafer’s wife recited God’s Sabbath commandment and said that God would provide.

Friday came, and she worked in the olive grove. She worked hard but had no particular goal in mind. Every day she does her best. How surprised she was at the end of the day when her mother-in-law said, “Look! You gathered ten baskets of olives today!” It was a miracle she and Zafer could see and hold on to. Like the manna of Exodus 16, it was a tangible statement of God’s eternal covenant.

Please pray for our friend Zafer as God orchestrates his salvation story.

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