Ali was burdened and wanted to follow the Jesus path.
A few days earlier, our team had been holding a discipleship seminar in Village Y. Believers from the surrounding area had been invited, and we were having a wonderful time of study and discussion. During the seminar, we were visited by a man named Ali.* He had heard we were in the region and wanted to talk with us. A few days before the seminar, a believer from a nearby village had shared the Good News with Ali, although this was not the first time he had heard it. For months Ali had been thinking about the cost of following Jesus. Now, he’d come to make his decision known.
As our team met with Ali that afternoon, we learned he had been struggling for quite some time with the path he was on. He told us that his father had been a follower of Christ, but the family had not chosen to follow the same path. Through the years, Ali had become friends with S, the same believer who had just days before shared the Good News with him, and who was also at the seminar. Many times he and S had discussed what it meant to be a believer and follow Christ. Through it all, God was working in Ali’s heart.
Ali told us that his religion was burdensome and hard to follow, and that he could not “obey its laws.” Immediately, I thought of Jesus’ words, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) That day, Ali gave his life to Jesus, and then asked that we come and share with his people.
Three days following the seminar, we were sitting in Ali’s village hearing his chief also declare faith in Jesus. In addition, the chief challenged the other men who are sitting with us to consider God’s call and to follow the “Jesus path.” He spoke openly, saying, “May God give us faith to believe. May God cause everyone here to believe in Jesus.” Truly, this chief’s heart was passionate about his desire for his people to know the One True God in a personal relationship. Two of the men present responded and received Christ.
In considering these events, I am grateful that our team was in Village Y holding the discipleship seminar at the very time when God was working in Ali’s heart. I am also grateful that God has allowed us to partner with S, the Christian leader in Village B2, who quietly goes about sharing the Good News of Jesus with those who will listen. In this way, the seed of the Gospel is being planted from village to village. Now, S will continue working with Ali to disciple him, so he can take what he learns and share it in his village.
May we all as Christ-followers say with this village chief, “I will die on this path.”
* Name changed for security reasons.