Missionary life isn’t like a long string of back-to-back AF articles. In between the amazing victories we like to write about, there are lulls. There are seasons when it seems like nothing is happening.
Every Sabbath afternoon, week after week, we study the Bible with Suty and Neary. Weeks turn to months, and months to years. Why do they seem to have forgotten the story of Abraham? Why are they mixing up the stories of Jacob and Noah? How have they forgotten that Sabbath begins Friday evening? Patiently, we teach and re-teach. Often we invite curious neighbors to join us, though they usually keep their distance.
Lord, open the eyes of their understanding! Please be their Teacher. Only You can guide them into truth. We send up various forms of this prayer often. Give them opportunities to share with their extended family and friends. Give their neighbors a desire to follow You, too! For weeks, months and years, these prayers ascend. Prepare this village for a student missionary and a local worker we would like to find to live there!”
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, things begin to happen! Noy gives his heart to God and wants to help plant churches among his people. We hire him to help start Bible-based literacy groups. We pray for just the right student missionary to help us church plant in Dumchi. We find out that Ryan Schmid will be joining us. We pray for just the right local worker to partner with Ryan, and then we receive news that Makara will be joining him.
In the weeks before Ryan and Makara go to live in Dumchi, more things begin to happen. Within three weeks, three new families have decided they want to become Christians! The first Sabbath that Ryan and Makara move to the village, we have a house-cleansing and dedication ceremony for one of the families. They are choosing to leave spirit worship behind and enter Jesus. They remove all spirit-worship articles from their home, pile them up and burn them while we sing, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” They join in the house-dedication prayers as we anoint their home with oil.
Two Sabbaths later, we have a second house dedication for another family. The next Sabbath, a brother of one of the new Christians joins us at church. He wants to learn about God, too. Two Sabbaths after that is Noy’s baptism. A month later, a baptism for Suty and Neary. During the week, Ryan and Makara are visiting these baby Christians on a regular basis, having worship and studying the Bible with them. God’s timing is always best!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).