When we arrived in North Africa, we were told by our host missionaries that the next day we would be going to an area on the outskirts of town to spend the night.They told us that they had never taken a team here and they really were not sure why we were going. All they knew is that as they prayed about the schedule for our team, the Lord had said to go here. They told us that this area had lots of worship of Satan and that Wednesday was a day to "celebrate" Satan with alters, sacrifices and worship. Trusting and obeying, we all loaded up on Sunday and headed out! Our only plan was to have some good team time in preparation for the week, and to hike to the top of the hill to pray over the city.
While on that hike, a group of children started to gather. Jessica began to hand out candy she had bought at the store to the children. This opened the door for the missionary to ask if they wanted to hear a story. They enthusiastically said, "YES!" We all sat down on the side of the mountain and Jessica told the story of the lost son. In the group were small children, all the way up to some youth. The oldest being about 18. They all listened intently as the missionary translated.
As the story ended, the missionary began to ask the children questions to help them understand. As she brought the discussion to Christ, she asked them, "Who died for your sins on the cross?" In unison they all said, "The evil spirits!" What a shock! The missionary turned to us and said, "I have never heard this before." We all began to pray. Here was evidence of Satan at work in this area. They had been taught this lie! She continued to teach them until they understood and some believed! We promised to come back later in the week and tell them more stories.
Flash forward to Saturday, our last day in the country. We decided the most important thing we could do, was go back to the children. We had a national believer with us to determine the spiritual temperature of the people. As we drove out of town, we all began to pray. Our prayer was that we could find the children and that adults would come. I specifically prayed for the oldest young man that had been there before. He had listened so intently and wanted to know more.
As we turned down the dirt road we anxiously looked into the faces of each person we passed. Then in a distance we saw a group of men by the side of the road. As we got close I said, "That's him, the guy we prayed for!" We rolled down the window and he came running over. We explained we were back to tell more stories. He said they would meet us at the same spot.
We waited and prayed, wondering if they would come. A few minutes later, we saw 16 men walking toward us! We had planned for Mark to tell the story of the Good Shepherd. But the young man asked if we could tell the same story again. Little did I know that Mark's favorite story was the Lost Son and the he had been struggling with how to tell the Good Shepherd. He told the story, the missionary translated and the national believer explained more.
As they moved to story of Christ on the cross, one of the men said, "So Jesus paid for our sins, how do we get that?" Again, there seemed to be those that believed! The national partner said that they could come back and teach them more. The real test to their understanding, salvation and discipleship will take place in the storying group. 9 men said they wanted to learn more. But they said to come on Sunday. They explained that the only reason they had been on the side of the road is because the electricity had gone out 5 minutes before we arrived. As we wrapped up, the electricity came back on and it began to rain!
Before our eyes, a group of ALL MEN was birthed! The missionaries and the national partner said they had never seen an all men's group before. This is so crucial in this culture as they can lead their families to faith. We thought we were going on a simple hike, but God had bigger plans. Trust and obey!
By Brenda Sanders, Director of Go Now Missions. This story and others and prayer requests from the North Africa Impact team can be found in the North Africa Prayer Team Report.
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