This summer I had the opportunity to serve in The Gambia, Africa for 28 days through Awe Star Ministries.
My husband and I led a team of medical professionals, college, and high school students in a combined trip of Medical Missions and Chronological Bible Storytelling.
The first 10 days upon arriving in country we went to a few remote villages and set up Mobile Medical Clinics. Each day as we bound up wounds, God gave us ways to touch our patient’s hearts. Many people would enter the clinic lost and leave found. It was amazing to see God move in so many lives!
The last 14 days of our trip was spent doing Chronological Bible Storytelling. We would do this through an 18 minute pantomime (drama) in the local language of the people. Gambia has 14 unreached people groups so there are a lot of languages spoken in this little African country. Our Team would switch languages often. Mostly, though, we would use the local trade language of Wolof.
One day as our students were presenting the drama I observed my 7 year old daughter munching on a prized (prized because it was hard to find ‘American’ style food or products anywhere!) pop tart she had discovered in a small market where we would buy our groceries. I turned my head for a minute and discovered she had laid the pop tart down. When she laid it down a swarm of flies charged for the fresh food. I think they prized it too!!
She saw the swarm of flies and decided she couldn’t eat it anymore since so many flies had taken their fair share.
Being in Africa, I couldn’t just throw this pop tart away. In all reality it was still good. Yes, I know some flies had taken their fair share, but in a country where most people live on less than $2.00 a day, how could I just throw away food? Many precious people around me had not even eaten the entire day!
I looked around a bit and asked God what I should do. Then I saw a young boy sitting on a mud wall next to me. I showed him the pop tart and through universal hand motions asked him if he wanted it. I’ve never seen a child smile so big! He grinned from ear to ear as I handed him the half eaten pop tart!
As he ate I sat down beside him and began to talk to him. He only spoke Wolof, so I had to go through a Translator that just happen to be right beside him. ( I love how good God is!)
He told me his name was Lamin and he was 11 years old. My son is 11 years old too. I got my phone out and showed him a picture of my son, JJ. I asked Lamin if he had watched the drama our students presented. He nodded yes as he munched on the remaining pop tart.
I began to share how this drama had two stories. One, he could see with his eyes, but also a hidden story he could only see with his heart. I shared with him that it was a story about Jesus and how He loves him, Lamin, so much that He came to die for Lamin’s sins and our sins, that separates us from God.
As Lamin finished the pop tart, I could see that he was listening intently. It was like he was hanging on every word that was translated. After explaining the gospel for a while I asked Lamin if he wanted to have a relationship with Jesus? Without a blink, in Wolof, he said, “YES!”
As I continued talking, several other kids came over and began laughing at Lamin. I thought, for sure he would back off and decide not to pray to receive Jesus. ( Lamin was a Muslim and has never heard that Jesus loves him or died for him) It was like he couldn’t even see the other kids! Lamin’s eyes were fixed on mine and without a hesitation he prayed to receive Christ! It was absolutely incredible!
How did I go from holding a fly filled pop tart to rejoicing with a new believer, all in a matter of minutes? Wow! Only God does this!
I imagine Moses felt the same way when God told him to throw down his old raggedy staff and to his amazement it became a snake!
Do you ever wonder what God would do, if you were willing to step outside your norm and ask Him how He wants to use what is in your hands?
Maybe your ‘pop tart’ is a dream, a vision, a talent, a gift. Or, maybe, it’s simply a handshake, or warm welcome or a raggedy staff!
Whatever you have, God wants to use it. I pray as you read this blog today, that you are challenged and encouraged to think different.
Today take a risk and ask God, “Lord what is in my hands that you can use so others can know Jesus?”
“What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. ““Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! (Exodus 4:3)