I was driving to see my friend Faith. I prayed, “God, maybe tonight will just be a time of deepening my relationship with Faith, getting to know her family. But if you want it to be more than that, may your will be done! Open up doors for truth.”
I arrived and immediately was welcomed with a wonderful meal. Faith even insisted on being the one to pick off pieces of fish from the bone for me to eat. I began catching up with her family, each of us going back and forth sharing how our lives have been in the weeks since we last saw one another. Eventually, there was a lull in conversation so I began telling them the story of the paralyzed man from Mark 2. Story-telling from Scripture is a great opportunity for language practice, but even more, an opportunity to prompt gospel conversation.
Faith listened intently, correcting my grammar here and there. After I finished the story, we started discussing the Holy Books, the Bible. I pulled up the Jesus Film on Youtube, and Faith and her little sisters all watched, eyes glued to the screen.
Eventually, after the baptism of Jesus, I interjected, “This is a really long film. We don’t have to watch the whole thing.”
Immediately Faith responded, “Yes, but send me the link!”
I sent it, and we continued talking. She asked questions about Catholicism—Who is the pope? Who calls the shots? I explained the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, which led to the topic of works-based salvation.
“Faith, the Bible teaches that no matter how hard humans try to be good, it’s not enough to be clean before God.”
She seemed surprised at my statement and waited for an explanation. I began to explain the sacrifice of Jesus— why his sacrifice was essential. It was in this moment I realized the weighty responsibility of sharing the gospel with someone in a different language—there’s so much room for error, so much room for confusion. After more explanation, I quickly asked her to summarize what I shared with her.
“So you’re saying, dear, that to reach God, I have to believe in Jesus. I have to trust in Jesus. His sacrifice is what cleanses us from our sin.”
I thought to myself, There’s so much more to explain, but that’s a start.
We continued talking, discussing the weight of sin. We pulled up Ephesians 2, and she read the entire chapter out loud in her language. She finished and exclaimed, “Dear, see—this is just like my holy book! Same Same!”
I laughed and said, “No dear. But if you think these are the same, then this means you can read the Injil (the New Testament) with me!”
She enthusiastically nodded her head in agreement.
“Of course! You have three holy books, we have four—our book says we must read your books! Of course, we must do this.”
Toward the end of our conversation, Faith opened up about her life. She shared about the migraines that plague her daily, her high blood pressure and how it affects her vision. She talked about her new job, how difficult it is. She went on to explain that due to visa issues, her husband and children are still in her homeland, separated from her.
“Pray for me, sister.” Pray for me every day.”
I asked her if we can pray then and there, and she agreed. I stumbled over my words as I prayed in her language. Towards the end of the prayer she chimed in, finishing my sentences. After we were done, she looked at me and said about three more times, “Pray for me, sister. And when you go home tonight, pray again for me in English!”
I was about to stand up to leave, but before I could, she grabbed my hand and looked me directly in the eyes. She lowered her voice.
“Dear, three months ago, I was back in my country. While I was there, I had a thought: I want a friend who will help me. Someone who can pray for me, be there for me.”
She leaned in closer and put her hand on my knee, “And dear, I think God sent me YOU.”
growing in knowledge
The deeper I go in language and in culture, the more I see how vital it is to continue faithfully growing in my knowledge of both. The women that I’m working to reach here have little to no access to the Scriptures in their language. Most of the older women cannot even read. Communicating the gospel clearly and thoroughly is vital since my teammates and I are probably the only people who will ever engage them with it. After my encounter with Faith, I realized the heaviness of these truths, but I also realized that God has this entire thing rigged for His glory! He’s preparing hearts, and we get to come along for the ride. He’s prepared good works in advance for us to do, and we get to trust Him to prepare the hearts of those we are engaging.
Please pray for Faith—that God would continue to stir her heart. That she would truly desire to get in the Word and that she would see the authority and power of Jesus—that His death on the cross is what paid the price for her sin, and that He truly is the God who sees her.
Please continue to pray for A. She is serving overseas among Central Asian Peoples in a Middle Eastern context. She is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, completing her Master of Divinity in International Church Planting. She has been on the field for a year and has two years left before finishing her degree.
To learn more about our Master of Divinity in International Church Planting, visit here.