Divine Appointments: DO NOT FEAR
Have you ever had to stare face to face with a violent charging bull to demonstrate your faith?
As the body of Christ and with your continued support we are able to share this amazing story from one of the Nigerian evangelists we trained. It seems that there are times when it is easy to succumb to the beast of fear and become powerless to experience the peace and hope in trusting Christ. This uncompromising Nigerian evangelist, that you helped Teach To Transform train is an example of courageous faith, and the reason the gospel is spreading despite our inability to go.
To understand the context of this evangelist’s story, we need to appreciate the extent of persecution in the North of Nigeria. In Nigeria, the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram has become synonymous with violence against Christians, but the Fulani militant’s threat to Christian communities is just as ruthless. The Muslim Fulani herdsman, otherwise known as the Fulani militia, is an unreached ethnic group or less than 2 % of their population is evangelical Christian. They are in competition with Christian farmers for pastureland and the herders against the farmers have become a deadly conflict.
These clashes have claimed tens of thousands of Christian lives destroying whole villages, where women are brutally raped, many are killed, and farmland taken. According to our students, nearly all of the Muslim Fulani attacks are against Christians.
The few who have had success engaging the Fulani with the gospel have been veterinarians whose skill in caring for livestock is prized. Two of our Teach To Transform students are veterinarians, and they shared similar stories of being allowed access into Fulani villages because of their skill.
On one occasion, one veterinarian cautiously entered a militant Fulani village where they were curious to see his skills, but first he had to gain their respect and trust by being placed in a ring with an enraged bull that had already killed many Fulani herdsmen. He boldly stood in front of the beast for the opportunity to share the gospel. The bull began to snort and paw the ground and charged as he stood with outstretched arms in prayer. The Fulani herdsman standing next to him ran, but the courageous Vet held his ground before the charging bull.
Then it happened; they felt the power and presence of God. The bull came to a screeching halt, snorted, threw dirt on him, then turned and slowly walked away. The Fulani could not believe their eyes, and when they asked our Vet, he said the power of the Holy Spirit protected him.
He immediately gained the respect of the Fulani, and the door opened to share the gospel.
Three amazing things happened through the power of the Holy Spirit.
First, he was chosen for the TTT class because of his strong Christian presence, and he engaged a group of people who have never heard the gospel. Second, he used the gifts God gave him in Veterinary medicine to care for their livestock and open their hearts to hear the gospel. Third, with your help the TTT training now equipped him with medial skills to care for their families. We are hearing reports that despite our inability to travel to them our courageous students are caring for the sick with the compassion and love of Christ.
Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty.
What is the charging bull in our lives that we must face today with courage and faith?
Is the Covid pandemic your source of fear with the death, financial ruin, or the loneliness of social distancing with depression? As we have seen fear is as contagious as the virus and creates doubt with the question, “God, are you there?”
Do not fear, for I am with you…
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
In this challenging time, like the Christians throughout history, we must be the light of Christ in the darkness of the pandemic. We must resist fear and see this as an opportunity to spread the gospel and model Christlike love. One of the main reasons for the early church’s growth is how it cared for the suffering of both Christian and non-Christians. Is this our time to care for the suffering and glorify God with our courageous faith that He is with us?
As the body of Christ this is our time to support the evangelists you have helped train as they share the love of Christ to those who have never heard the gospel. This is not a time to sit idle when so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are forced to stay in place facing persecution, the pandemic and starvation. Together with your prayers and generosity we get to share a story God is writing that is so much bigger than we can imagine.
For His Glory,
Dr. Tom is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician in the USA with over 25 years of experience and an ordained minister by Southeast Christian Church in Louisville Kentucky. His true passion is world missions and he and his wife Karen are the founders of Teach To Transform, an organization that exists to equip partners around the world with medical and vocational skills they can use to share the gospel of Christ. You can subscribe to Dr. Tom’s weekly blog, Divine Appointments, to read more stories and learn more about the mission of Teach To Transform.