True story. I have a believer friend who lives in a country closed to Christianity. His village is in a remote area. The nearest well with somewhat drinkable water is 3 km away. Goats wander around his village freely. On the roofs of the mud houses are drying piles of cow dung to be used as cooking fuel. In the evenings, people gather in doorways and by mud walls in clusters. The connection they have with each others’ families comes from centuries of being in a survival community.
Khalim is the only Christian among his people. As Khalim has tea with people in his village, he many times says ‘Let me share a story with you…’ and tells a three minute story from the Bible in their own language. When he’s done, the men sit around talking about it, eating some bread and nuts and drinking tea, shooing the goats away from the small gardens. Friends come and go in the discussion which might last for ten minutes or an hour.
The next evening, he shares another story. A few days later, another…
What is happening?
- People are getting into God’s word and God’s word is getting into people in a place that has never had the Bible talked about before.
- They are talking about it freely, exploring it in community.
- This is happening very naturally in environments that are safe and comfortable.
- People aren’t extracted from their communities and labeled “infidels” as they move along their spiritual journey.
- Because it’s natural in style and not threatening, people have been taking these stories home where they are sharing with their families and friends in other villages.
- While this is happening, credibility for God’s Word is being built. Stories from God’s Holy Book aren’t seen as a tool of the “western corrupted church” because an ink-and-paper book wasn’t present to become the object of argument.
- Khalim and his neighbors aren’t in trouble with the local religious authorities. They don’t have a print copy of the Bible in their possession and they aren’t doing anything illegal. They are simply talking over tea. I’ve even seen the local Imam take part in these.
Several months after Khalim began sharing stories, he was on a ridge at night watching the sheep of a friend. As they sat on top of the ridge, his friend sat quietly looking up at the stars. “Khalim…I think I believe in this Jesus that you keep telling stories about. Tell me more…”