Our Savior did not stay where it was comfortable. He did not stay where it was safe. Rather He left the throne of Heaven to meet us here and come into our mess. So, we too must follow the example of our Beloved and go to Him "outside the camp." Don't assume this means you must move to another country and culture in order to live this out. It may be for many of you. But at the core, Jesus is calling us to leave our normalcy, our Christian circles, and our storehouses of self-preservation and go to those who are waiting outside the gate. We do not wait for them to come to us, rather we run to them! We do not wait for an "opportunity" to be dropped on our doorstep but we seek them out!
At the same time, may we keep our gates wide and open, not locked and boarded shut, to welcome them in. Yes, this will most likely bring some amount of discomfort, inconvenience and even suffering, just as it did for Christ. The place that Christ laid down His life for us was not on a path of ease or without pain. Do not focus on the "location" of where you are, although He may speak to you to change that. Seek out those He has put next to you, across the hall, across town or down the street. Be quick to meet them where they are and give them a taste of the Living Water they are thirsting for!
During this past month we have seen thirsty hearts being quenched and His love running over their souls for the first time! He has enabled us much in language and we are able to speak more every day! I know many of you have prayed fervently for this and it is evident. As He has given us lips to speak we have been able to share more of His story with those we encounter. This past month, as we have lived and worked in O-village, He has brought many to hear. Seemingly out of nowhere He brought me my best friend "L" who has already shown interest in hearing. As I shared the story of creation in the best Hausa I could muster, she repeated every part of the story back to me with excitement and understanding. She and her extended family are ones that I focus time on in the village and are praying for more ways to share with them.
We have also seen seeds being harvested and can do nothing but praise Him that "the sower and the reaper may rejoice together" (John 4:36). A close friend of our family here is R. He is Muslim but always comes to help us on clinic days to control the crowds. He even repeats Gospel stories to others because he has heard them being shared so much. This month he started coming to our time of worship and Bible study on Sunday mornings. He listens discreetly as he sits off to the side. Last week he came and asked one of the workers for a Bible so he could read it for himself. He clearly stated, "Just because I take this book and read it does not mean I am a Christian, but I want to read and learn for myself before I make a decision." He is approaching the faith with caution and care as he is truly counting the cost of a decision that he knows will change his life!
We're praying for both of these individuals and that many more like them will continue to see His love being displayed and hear His truth as they come inside the gates and see what Jesus has done for them! Thank you for joining us in this work!
Praise God for:
- Continued good health and safety.
- Many new friends in O-village that seem to be receptive to the Gospel.
- Marina and I were able to move into our house in town. This space has already been a blessing to rest and be refreshed on the weekends with only a few lizards to fight off.
- Many volunteer teams from the States that are preparing now to come in the spring, summer and fall! We love volunteers!
Please Pray for:
- My friend L in O-village as she continues to hear truth and see what following Christ looks like.
- Our friends, H and her husband, that they will be turning to a decision for Christ as they have grown in knowledge of His Word! H's husband came and asked for a Bible a few weeks ago!!
- Our friend R as he reads God's Word and continues to watch the followers here and how our lives are different.
- Our friend T that was suffering from hepatitis passed away this week. Both her and her family were able to hear the Gospel. Pray that in this loss they will see that the only hope they can cling to is Jesus!
- Clinic days on Tuesdays and Fridays. Typically, we (there's 3 of us) serve around 200-300 people on those days in our yard and do everything from giving formula for malnourished babies and orphans, dressing wounds and burns, to giving basic medicine and vitamins. Pray that these times are full of Christ's love being displayed through us and that "His kindness will lead them to repentance." We have already seen effects of clinic bringing us favor with the chiefs of surrounding villages and even the mayor of our town!
- We have a medical team coming from the States to serve with us at the end of March. Pray for the eye doctor and the others on this team as they make preparations to come and serve the people here. Pray now for many to hear and respond to the Gospel as they come for physical needs to be met.
Angela Banks is a graduate of West Texas A&M University. She is serving through the IMB program and Go Now Missions in West Africa.