Aïcha ran around the apartment like an excited high-school girl.
“Are you going to a party today?” I asked, trying to figure out what was going on.
“No,” she replied. “Mahmadou is coming today!” He is her new boyfriend.
In the dense jungles of the Amazon there are still tribes that have not been reached with the life-giving water of Jesus. One of these people groups—the Long Arrow Tribe—worshipped wooden idols that could not help them. Their chief, a man named Marcos*, was a disabled man, broken by many accidents and injuries. He prayed to the wooden idol for help, yet it did not reply. It did not heal him.
One day a man named Naapi* came to see the Long Arrow People. Naapi was a follower of Jesus and a church leader among the Waniwa* people. So when Marcos tearfully cried out to him for aid, Naapi sat to talk with him. He asked if Marcos had consulted the wooden idol that represented the Long Arrow tribal god. Marcos told Naapi the truth. He had, but nothing had come of it. Naapi knew the power of the God he served, so he spoke again to Marcos. He told him that the Waniwa people would pray for him and that God would heal him. With those words he left Marcos.
That night as Marcos slept, he dreamed. A man appeared who lifted him from darkness into a place of light. Just beyond the light, a jaguar paced menacingly in the dark shadows. The man told the chief, “The jaguar wants to kill and devour you, but I won’t let him. You have been going down the wrong path in life. Now you must listen and obey Me.”
When Marcos awoke, he was completely healed. Along with other Long Arrow leaders, Marcos traveled to a Waniwa village to tell his story to the people who had prayed for his healing. But before he left to visit the Waniwa, he stood and told his own tribesmen, “Now I know the Waniwa’s God is true, and I am going to travel to their village to hear more about their God.”
Marcos has since become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and he is not alone in the Long Arrow Tribe. He—along with others—has come forward to be recognized as a believer and be baptized in the name of the true God.
It is beautiful to see the Lord moving in the dreams of those who have not yet let Him into their lives. God still desires to love and protect them from the jaguar in the shadows. He uses his power to heal them of their wounds and free them from sin.
Pray for the work in the Long Arrow Tribe as the Waniwa continue to minister to them. There is still opposition from outside sources who vehemently oppose the gospel. They have influenced some Long Arrow leaders against the Waniwa. Ask God to make this spark burst into a mighty flame for many others to see.
*Names have been changed.
We filled the house with joy and food, and then we packed in 30 international students for a holiday meal in our tiny, New York City apartment. I watched the organized chaos and wondered if their first impression of a meal in an American home would forever be tainted with having to crawl under the table in order to get to the kitchen for refills? But I digress...
The best part of it all was witnessing these students give thanks to the true giver of every good and perfect gift—almighty God.
For the past few months, these students have been participating in Bible studies. We, like so many others around the world, use a method that disciples people toward faith in Christ—before they have faith in Christ. They are in the process of discovering for themselves who God is, what the Bible says, and whether He is worth following? It is not my job to teach them. I am merely there to facilitate our time together and ask questions. It allows those who are curious seekers of truth to decide for themselves.
Each week we ask them these simple questions…
What are you thankful for this week? (Teaching them to thank God)
What problems do you have this week? (Giving them opportunity to intercede for others)
What can this group help you with this week? (Teaching them to serve one another)
Then, while studying scripture we ask…
What does this passage teach me about God?
What does it teach me about man?
If this is true, how does this change the way I view God?
Is there anything I need to obey from what I just learned?
Who can I share this story with this week?
Each week they amaze me with their desire to learn from the Bible. They wrestle with hard truths and eagerly share what they learn with others. But they have not yet expressed faith in God.
This experience has broadened my understanding of what discipleship means. It can happen with people even before they become a follower of Christ. And if you are a skeptic like I was, read what the students in my study have to say about God…
God creating the world is like when a woman gives birth, she gets pleasure from the experience. I think it is the same here with God. He creates things, and they will bring Him pleasure. -J
Life is like a circle. The story of Abraham and Isaac reminds me of Adam and Eve. God gave rules, and after obeying for a while, they disobey God. Their punishment is that they have to leave the Garden. Then they have descendants. Abraham obeys God, but I think that his descendants will also disobey God...then maybe there will come another descendant who will fully obey God? -J
If this is true (Creation story), then God is the most powerful and amazing of all because He created everything... but for me, this is impossible to believe. -R
There is something higher than a love between parents and children and lovers. It is the relationship of God and humans. –D
Please continue to pray for these four students and so many others who are participating Bible studies like this around the world. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in power, opening the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf and the hearts of the calloused.
If you are interested in church planting, consider NYC Immerse.