As you may know, I recently returned from 10 weeks in East Africa as a team leader with the ACTS school (Oct-Dec). My team was based in Tororo, Uganda, helping strengthen a house of prayer missions base that exists to train and send out native missionaries like fiery arrows from a furnace of prayer into the hardest places of North Africa. As a team, we spent most of our time keeping charge of the prayer room, leading sets, and joining with the local discipleship school students in evangelistic endeavors in strategic areas. Our team participated in four extended outreaches, concluding with two weeks in N.E. Kenya. Laboring in difficult and sometimes dangerous places, we saw over 200 people come to faith with local workers continuing to disciple and pastor the new flock.
While on outreach in N.E. Kenya, “The harvest is plentiful” began to have real faces and I began to have a greater understanding of what type of laborers are needed. One day as I went out evangelizing to different groups of Muslim men, I noticed how much attention they gave us, listening and dialoging with us through our translator. I felt the Holy Spirit guide me as I taught the storyline of the Old Testament promises concerning Messiah and the age to come, weaving in the divinity of Jesus, His atoning death, and the necessity of repentance in light of the fixed Day. Real connections were being made in their minds as I spoke. They were understanding the message, however they didn’t fully respond with repentance. The translator, who was a local pastor, was encouraged and afterward told us, “The Muslim young people are receptive to the gospel, they want to learn the true word of God, but they don’t have anyone to explain it to them.”
The story of Phillip being sent to explain the Scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch came to mind (Acts 8). Surprisingly, here we were, near the border of Ethiopia, talking to some who were inevitably Ethiopians, as the Holy Spirit helped guide us in guiding them to a true understanding of the Scriptures. In these more hostile areas, conversion from Islam is much more costly, and as a local believer told us, “If they do not understand what they have gotten into, they will not stay in it.” The need is for laborers who “teach” and “explain” the true word of God in such a way that the recipient understands and responds unreservedly. Not in contrast to the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s ministry was also defined by this kind of “teaching” and “reasoning” (Acts 18:11, 19:8-10). Some call this “teacher-based-evangelism”, and I was made for it!
Lord of the harvest, thrust out laborers into Your harvest field who clearly proclaim the mystery of Christ, as they should (Col. 4:3-4).