One day *John, our missionary in —– preached from Acts 28, describing how Paul was bitten by a viper but suffered no ill effects.
Soon after, a new believer and her son went to visit relatives at night. They were walking in the dark without a flashlight, and she was bitten by a snake. She turned the light of her telephone on and saw the snake, and immediately said “In Jesus’ name, this Jesus whom Paul served, I confess that I am His disciple as well. All venom is totally neutralized, and I am healed”. Then she turned to the snake and told it: “As for you snake, you’re bound by God and cannot go away. You will remain here until we return, and then I will kill you”.
On their return, she and her son found the snake in the same spot. She had picked up a stick at her relative’s house, so she killed the reptile, took it home, and threw it in the fire just as Paul had. When she told John her story, he was alarmed and urged her to go see the doctor. But she replied “Unless what you taught us is a lie – that if we follow the Jesus that Paul preached, the Jesus that you yourself preach – then nothing will happen to me!”
What could John say? She flatly refused to see the doctor and had obviously been totally healed.
Mark 16:15 signs follow bold proclamation
John and his wife had planned to launch a new strategic evangelism outreach, so he began to fast during the 21 days before. At the end of his fast, John had a sore throat which he thought would
would simply go away. But it got so severe that he could neither speak nor eat. He consulted medical specialists in the capital city who said that he needed immediate surgery. John and his wife realized that this was no ordinary physical problem, so they began to fight in prayer. The next day, John was completely healed to the total amazement of the specialists, and he witnessed powerfully to them.
A few weeks ago, a family in great distress brought a dying young man to the missionaries. No one had hope that he would recover, but after a couple of days of prayer, the sick man recovered completely and walked home by himself.
Opposition? What of it?
Both John and I (Samuel Yaldia) spoke at a regional conference, and I was so impressed by John’s message on being a blessing to the children of Ishmael; in other words, how to share the Gospel effectively and in a relevant way with our Muslim “cousins”.
Mission M is advancing powerfully despite Covid 19, threats and persecution. The new believers in the town where our missionaries live are being threatened, and yet the church has grown to more than 30 members. A second congregation in a village 57kms away now has around 40 members. In one night alone, twelve people were baptized in a river under the cover of darkness.
Some believers are very active witnesses, ready to share the Gospel with whoever, wherever and whenever. Many others are still “hidden” disciples who meet briefly each week for discipleship training. But we thank the Lord that they are now all able to stand on their own. The fire of the Holy Spirit has been ignited in them and will keep burning under the control of the Master of the Mission.
Last year, John sent a couple to the Leo Bible Institute in Burkina. What’s even more exciting is that they are Fulani (Africa’s largest unreached Muslim people group).
A pastor from another movement wanted to start a church in the same town, so he tried to rent a house. But as soon as the Muslim leader learned of his plans, he ordered the townspeople (99% of them are Muslims) not to rent anything to the pastor upon pain of excommunication from the community and severe fines.
When our missionaries heard the news, they realized how precarious their own situation was. They began to look for a lot to buy so they could build their own house, and since they’d already built a church on its own land, their own residency in the town became even more crucial. It was God’s timing: a forestry officer was being transferred to another region and had a plot for sale. He’s even had the bricks made for his future house! The Lord miraculously provided the funds, and since John is a builder himself, he immediately built a house for his family. We praise the Lord as He unrolls His wisdom and resources for this work.