Inspiring stories from: Dr. Miriam Adeney
There was a little girl in Egypt named Amina. She was from a devout Muslim family. Every morning her mother would roll out the prayer mats and this little girl would kneel and pray. One day she said to her mother, “Mommy, I wish God was like daddy. When I talk to daddy he answers me. When I talk to God, he doesn’t. Why doesn’t God answer me?”
As Amina grew up, she saw the problems in Cairo; of not enough sanitation facilities or clean water, not enough housing, etc. and she wanted to go to school to do something to help the country that she loved. When she was 12 years old she was given a religious text in Arabic, she didn’t know what it was, but she took it home, put it away in her closet and forgot about it.
Eventually Amina went to University and being an intelligent woman, was very successful. One day she came upon a Christian concert in park. She liked the music but she was puzzled by one thing. While the singer prayed he kept referring to someone called “father”, but when she looked around all the people there were her age. As she continued to ponder this, she wondered if he was referring to God. She wondered if the Christians thought of God as a father. She remembered the conversation she had with her mother as a child. And Amina remembered the text she had received many years ago, by now she knew it was a Christian text.
She went home and rummaged around until she found it. It was the book of John. She began to read.
As she read she began to fall in love with this man Jesus. Then she came to chapter 8, where the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus, saying to him (verse 5) ‘“In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (verse 6) They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. ‘
Amina stopped reading. She did not want to continue because she loved the Jesus she had come to know up to that point and did not want to see him compromise himself as she had seen religious and political leaders do in her life. She knew that if he said, stone her, she could not respect him. But if he said to let her go, she could not respect him, because that would mean adultery meant nothing. So, in order to preserve Jesus in her mind as the compassionate and wise person she had grown to know in the first 7 chapters, she closed the book and went and watched television with her family.
But that night, Amina could not sleep. She got up, opened the book and read on. You know how the story ends, “those of you without sin cast the first stone.” With the words of Jesus to the woman, “Then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin” She knew the truth of Christ.
I love this story because it shows the importance of the Scriptures in someone’s heart language. There were no evangelists trying to convince her, she read and the Truth spoke for itself.
Wang and Liang
In the island province of Hainan, in the most southern part of China, there is a church. This church felt the call of God to go into the mountains and minister to the indigenous people. The largest group was called the Li.
When the group of missionaries approached the Li village, the villagers met them with anger. They said “You Chinese have pushed us into the hills; you are here to steal more from us; now you are here to take our gods.” They took their farm implements and attacked the missionaries. A young man in their group named Wang was killed. The missionaries took his body back down the mountain and mourned for three weeks. Then, after fasting and praying for three days, decided to return to the Li. A quiet young woman named Liang stepped forward saying “Take me with you.” She was the widow of Wang. They said “Oh no dear, you are still mourning. It is better you stay here and pray. We wouldn’t be able to protect you.”
Liang responded, “Haven’t I earned the right to go?” So they let her come. As they approached, villagers came out to greet them with angry faces. Before either side could say anything, Liang stepped forward. She said, “I am the widow of the man your murdered.” Everyone was so shocked no one said anything and Liang continued. “But my husband is not dead; he has gone to paradise to live with God. When he came to your village he wanted to share this with you. If he were here, he would forgive you for what you did. Since he is not here, I forgive you in his place. I can do this, because God has forgiven me. If you want to learn more, meet us tonight at that big tree outside the village.”
The missionaries waiting and no one attacked, so they went away to talk. They said to Liang, “You should keep going; they seem to listen to you.” And Liang said, “Oh no, I was just clearing the way for you, I am no teacher.” But they said “We will teach you what to say.” So that afternoon and every afternoon for a week and a half, the missionaries prepared Liang and every evening she spoke. After this time, many villagers believed. When the missionaries left after two weeks, one man stayed behind to continue to teach, and baptize the new Christians. He was Wang’s father.
After two months, he returned to the church with three tribal men. One of these men stood in front of the congregation and said, “I am the man who killed Wang.” The congregation was silent and he continued to speak about how God had forgiven him, he asked for forgiveness and expressed gratitude for the missionaries who came to their village. They brought a money gift from the new church in the Li village to the church that had brought them the good news.
Those who are called to go can and do great things for God.
In Borneo, there is a people group called the Lambalo who lived the in the mountains. In the 1800’s some missionaries from Australia felt called to go to these people. Those in the valleys warned them, “You should not go there, the Lambalo are dying out. Alcoholism is so rampant there are almost none left. In a few years, their language and culture will be no more. It is not worth your time to go up the mountain.” But the missionaries went anyway. Through education, Bible translation and simple, pure, loving relationships the Lambalo were saved. Now there are more than 150,000 believers and 1,000 churches. Their language and culture has been fortified by giving an alphabet to their language. A believer said that Christ had not only saved their souls, but also their lives, language and culture. All because those who felt called, heeded the call and became the hands and feet of Jesus to the Lambalo.
I hope these stories blessed you as they did me. They give you a glimpse of how we feel about our mission to go to the peoples of Papua New Guinea. We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus there. You are part of the mission as well, by sending us. Your love stretches across the ocean and becomes part of the global Christian movement.