Sixteen of us returned home to the United States this past August after almost two weeks of ministry on Maisome Island, Tanzania. Our exhaustion could not outweigh the joy we felt, contemplating the work God had done on this island. He brought about the formation of eight churches and welcomed 745 people into his kingdom. Bwana Asifiwe, praise the Lord!
Caleb, one of our team members, shared an especially compelling story of God’s saving grace. The story revolves around Jessica, a woman abandoned by her family because of an illness. The team members who came to see her may have represented her first visitors since the illness struck and her family left her alone.
The team went to her home, reaching out and sharing the gospel. Jessica gave her life to Jesus that day. The next day the team returned only to find that she had passed. Thirty to forty people gathered at her house, mourning the loss. Caleb’s team shared the gospel with these tearful people as well. One man stepped forward from the group and gave his life to Christ while everyone else laughed at him and denied the gospel.
Soon after, a priest from a local Roman Catholic Church came to ask the family if he could conduct the funeral. Jessica’s father denied his request, stating he desired that the U.S. team, along with the pastor of a newly planted church, run her funeral because of the love they showed his daughter before her death.
Again, the team and the local pastor had the privilege of sharing part of God’s word and the gospel with the village members attending the funeral, about 300 people. The ceremony opened with a comparison of this young lady’s death to the death of the man on the cross who believed in Jesus as they hung side by side, each on his own cross (Luke 23:42-43). Both Jessica and this man gave themselves to the Lord at the end of their lives, at the last minute. Neither one of them needed to do one thing to earn their salvation here on earth, but simply accepted the free gift Christ offers to each of us.
Time has passed since our return from Maisome Island and the passing of this woman into her eternal home with the Lord. Please keep this village in your prayers as the gift of salvation continues to rise up from the testimony of those who believe. The Word of God will never return void.
The gift of salvation enters your heart at the moment you accept—even if it is your last.
Photo Credit: Laning Photography