Receiving the Word

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Chief Z receiving a copy of God's Word

In October 1998, while living in Bamako, Mali, my oldest son and I ventured south into the land of the Wassulu for the first time. Landrum was six years old, and for us this was quite the weekend adventure. Already, God had made known to us that He was preparing a new work for us, so we were looking around, praying, and seeking to know where He was leading.

Near the end of our visit, we stopped by the village chief’s house to greet and let him know that we had been in the area. As we talked, I shared with him what we were doing. In response, he said, “you can look all over Mali, and then you can come and live with us.” Wow! what hospitality. Through the years, Chief Z has always been that way. On numerous occasions we have slept in his courtyard, eaten his food, given him gifts of food and practical items (he especially likes fresh baked bread from the capital city of Bamako), and shared many late-night discussions about numerous topics.

In 2000, when we were leaving Mali to return to live in the US, I made one more visit, not knowing when we would see each other again. That night, I spent several hours with Chief Z as we talked about our relationship, our love for his people, and our need for God. In the course of the conversation, I shared the good news of the gospel, and how Jesus is the way to God. We talked about the Jesus path, and the other paths that do not follow Him. Chief Z listened intently, and as we came to the end of the conversation he said, “Now I see. Our religions are not the same.” For him, he was recognizing that the call of Christ was unlike all that he had known throughout his life.

Since that time, numerous volunteer teams have made their way to Village Y and have visited with this gracious man. On one occasion, he received a Bible and accepted the challenge to read John’s gospel account of the life of Jesus. (see photo above) Teams continue to visit, and we continue to share the Good News as often as we can. Our prayer is that Chief Z will one day understand his need for Christ, and will follow Him in worship and obedience.

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