Working the Room

Any regular calendar event stands to initially suffer from change, which is probably why change finds so little welcome in an organization. Well, we’re making two big changes in our Bible study in two weeks’ time. This week we changed our time from Thursday night to Saturday night, and next week we change locations from our house to an apartment about 15 minutes (by taxi) from here. Tonight’s study seemed to start a little awkwardly, with people not really feeling comfortable showing up early on a different day. Plus, the buses ran slower on Saturday, especially with this being a holiday weekend (more on the holiday later) and this part of town had plenty of festivities.

We started a study tonight on the amazing death of Jesus. We’ve spent a couple of months talking about His amazing life, but His death is even more incredible. So we kicked off tonight talking about His betrayal, trial, and scourging. The big point was that Jesus was able to endure mistreatment because there was joy set before Him. I think the Lord really worked in some people’s hearts tonight! It’s exciting to find myself in less pointless, waste-of-time conversations and more spiritual crisis conversations.

It’s nice to see some of the leaders stepping up to the plate a little bit. Each in their own way, anyway. One of the girls was running late and got here five minutes into my message. After the study she pulled my wife aside and apologized profusely. L. brought a friend (who hasn’t come since the night L. accepted Christ and she said, “what’s happening to all of my friends?”), and they washed dishes tonight after everyone left. St. and T. helped pick up all the chairs afterwards, and I think they were both trying to witness to people tonight. I didn’t get the chance for a report, though. J. brought his piles of friends again and eagerly helped me explain to a group of students why we weren’t Catholics. My wife taught him a Christian song tonight, which he proceeded to belt out until he felt he could remember the tune.

J. also brought a guy from Sierra Leone and a girl from Korea! A., my first Sierra Leonean (?) friend, told me afterwards, “Pastor! I learned something tonight! I wondered if there was a place where I would go to church when I went to China! I’ll see you again next week!” He told me that he’s a Christian and that he’s here for a couple of years to study Chinese.

Not all good news, though. There’s also plenty of signs that some people are pulling away. Fr., the guy I ate lunch with the other day, is making clear signs that he’s not really interested in the Bible. Lots of others just don’t find the time to come anymore. Fortunately, the fact that it’s an English Bible study keeps up supplied with a steady flow of newcomers (probably 10 or so a week) and excites the really important people – the upcoming leaders. So we’ll probably always keep the English Bible study as a great prospect-finding ministry.

Please pray for Jt. I’ve written about him before, but he just really seems to have a very genuine desire to be more closely connected. My wife heard him tell someone tonight that he went out and bought himself a Bible this past week. About the most expensive one available around here, too. I’m going to try to get some time alone with him this week to ask him personally about what’s going on in his heart.

There’s more stories, but who’s got the time to write them all or read them all? What I really want to say, why I really write this blog, is to let you know that there’s lots of stories over here, just waiting for someone to come over here and live them!

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