We just returned home from more than two weeks trip in the country to which God has called us to serve. My wife and daughter were able to go for their first time. For those who prayed during our traveling, thank you! God answered your prayers in a way that brought our attention to His involvement. We arrived early, made it through security much faster than usual, and were able to arrive at our destination hours before the expected time. The speed of our arrival was to such a degree that even the people who picked us up from the airport emphasized how God must have been involved. They had never seen anyone get through as early as we did.
Much of our time was filled with normal day-to-day tasks, but I was able to take some time to help with a work that needs prayer. The current published translation of the New Testament into the native language is no better than our English version of the NIV. However, there is a translation that is not yet published that is equivalent to our KJV. There is still some work that needs to be done before it is ready to be published. Please pray that God would expedite this work, along with the translation of a Gospel tract that is not yet finished.
One of the days we were there, we planned to go downtown and hand out some translated copies of the Gospel of John. As we were walking, I was praying that God would show me the right place to hand them out. The place that I finally chose seemed to be a great place with a lot of people walking through, but after we started handing them out, I began to wonder if it was a good decision. We were cautioned ahead of time that we should stay away from any political gatherings. As we began to hand out the Gospel of John, two different political groups started to gather, handing out their literature and blaring their political messages over loud speakers. I had thought about moving to a new location, but a traffic police officer approached us, talking on his cell phone. In the distance, I notice several police and what looked like a SWAT team with machine guns. All this took place within minutes of us handing out these booklets. It was evident that the traffic police officer on the phone was talking about us.
Well, I did what any preacher would do in this situation, I handed the police officer a copy of the book of John. He took the copy, and in seconds, several men dressed in civilian clothes encircled us. Thankfully, one of the men knew English very well. The officer wanted to see our license for handing out the material. Now the young man who was with me had, for some reason, decided to look up the country’s constitution the night before to see what it had to say regarding the handing out of materials like ours. He told the officer that we are handing out the booklets in accordance with our constitutional right. After waiting several minutes, they carefully looked at the material. Finally, the police officer said, through the translator, that we could continue if we didn’t disturb or push anyone to take our materials; he also told us to call the police if someone tried to cause problems with us. As quickly as the police appeared when we first started, they disappeared.
Our interaction with the police drew a lot of attention, and many people were curious about our materials. Because of this, several people took the Gospel of John. One young man seemed very interested and stood near us most of the time we were there. He spent much of his time reading the book of John and asked what the books were. My friend who was with me knew some of the language and told him that they were the very words of God. The young man saw that several of the books we carried were in a backpack sitting on the ground; he immediately said that if they were the words of God, they could not sit on the ground. So, my friend made sure the backpack was above his waist the rest of the time.
Please pray for this young man named S___ to get saved. Pray that our schedule would be filled up this year, and pray for God to stir the hearts of churches for the Middle East. God is so good! Several have received Christ these past couple of months, and we had a couple new churches take us on for support!