Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bread for the Journey

My heart was stirred in a new way this past December at the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, and the love of God that reaches to everyone.
My siblings were all together and we asked my brother Rod to share some of his experiences while on his recent trip to Ethiopia. He has been a pastor in Kansas for 30 years, and has just planted a new young vibrant church in that area. He is gifted in sharing his faith and has a passion for those who have not yet come into a personal relationship with Jesus. God has given him opportunities at home and abroad. I'm sharing his story of this beautiful young woman, Innelum. I trust your hearts will also be touched by this powerful story. 


THE FOREST GIRL



There I sat a few months ago in a make shift church, in a remote Ethiopian village with about 60 pastors, all willing to die for their faith.  The last white American pastor who came to this village was tortured and killed.......my wife and kids were at home praying.  Many of these pastors were shepherding churches of thousands.  No buildings, no resources, little education, but a faith big enough to die for, and a country experiencing revival like I have never seen in my lifetime.  I wept as I heard their stories.  They have nothing........and yet they have everything.  We have everything.......and yet we have nothing.  

I was teaching on Jesus's model of discipleship and had them partner up to share their personal testimonies with each other.  My partner was a 28 year old deaconess in one of the churches, Innelum.  She began to share with me that she was part of a tribe called the "forest people."  My curiosity was aroused as our interpreter stopped interpreting and had everyone else listen to her story.  Never had anyone from this village been saved.  For generations, the "forest people" had lived in obscurity, snatching people off the highway, dragging them into the forest, raping, torturing and killing them, and then cannibalizing them.  Her father was the witch doctor and mother the witch of the tribe, with one sister and two brothers.  When Innelum was 12, like Paul on the Damascus Road, she heard the voice of the Lord, fell to her knees and repented of her sins.  No missionary, no Bible, just the voice of the Lord.  At this point in her story, my theology is all messed up, because I have never heard the audible voice of God, and shouldn't there be a preacher, an NIV Bible, an altar call, and, and, and........

She immediately went to her father and mother and told them what happened.  They beat her nearly to death, and she fled the forest.  Large scars tattoo her body as a remembrance of the beating she took that day.  Long story short........a pastor and church took her in and discipled her in the Word.  She made it her calling to be a missionary to her family and the forest people.  Her sister was the first convert, then her brothers, then her mother, and just recently her father trusted Christ as his Savior and Lord.  Now the entire family have become missionaries to their tribe and most of them have been redeemed and have turned to Jesus.

 Every story of God's saving grace is significant.  What's your story?  Think about it, hone it, practice it, share it.  Who knows, maybe your story will impact someone as Innelum's story did me.

Rod Janzen

Rod shared with us how his salvation story seemed like a lame little one when shared next to her, but like he says every story of God's saving grace is significant. His call on your life and mine is how He designed it to be. Jesus loves everyone and has given us all a free will to choose His gift of salvation. God uses different ways to make Himself known to us. Innelum's life story is unique and God in His tender mercy spoke to her, and gave her a clear understanding of her need for a Saviour. God does not generally speak audibly but His Holy Spirit makes us aware of our sins, pointing us to a redeemer who extends mercy, grace and forgiveness freely to all who ask. Most of us live in a free country where we can share our story of how God reached out to us. 

There may be someone in your world who has never heard about Jesus....tell them your story.
Maybe you are someone who has been waiting to hear about Jesus. Today you have. I pray that you will reach out and receive Him. He loves you! He wants you to come to Him. That will be your story to share so that others will hear about Jesus and come to know Him too. One by one like the Forest Girl and her family.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

Ephesians, 3:20
God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. (the message)

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this loving story of God's redemption and care.

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  2. Great story. He's right, we have everything, but, we have nothing, too.

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  3. What a powerful story of redemption proving that God can and will use any method to bring people to Himself.

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  4. With tear filled eyes I praise Him and thank Him for this. Only God can do a miracle like that. And we must remember He is the same God we have in our hearts if we're saved with that same Power - the Power of His Resurrection! Phil 2:5
    I can hardly wait to share this story with my missionary friends in Ethiopia near Adis Ababa. Thank you for sharing such a poignant life changing story.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this touching story! What an amazing experience for your brother. God is Good!

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  6. I'm very grateful that you shared this moving story of God reaching out to everyone. Thank you.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story! Gave me chills!

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  8. Thank you for sharing that story, Kathy... It is so moving and such a wonderful story of God's love.

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  9. a wonderful encouraging testamony of God's faithfulness!
    thank you for sharing!

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