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What is it like to live in a creative access country? One of our missionaries shares their impressions.
Children were playing happily in the waves, many more families were arriving to set up their umbrellas and mats on the sand and vendors offering anything from snails to doughnuts were shouting their offers. Suddenly we could hear girls screaming in panic. Everyone on the beach instinctively knew that something was wrong and looked for the source of the screaming. It quickly became clear that a father and his teenage girls had swum out beyond their depth and he was struggling.
We live in a quiet neighbourhood, and while people have waved and smiled, we realise that to actually get to know them we will need to be proactive in knocking on doors. So, after sending out texts to ask people to pray, we frequently head out the door to deliver homemade cookies. Sometimes no one answers the door, sometimes they smile and accept the cookies and close the door, but sometimes we get invited to sit and spend some time with them. We also use ‘real’ rather than paper or plastic plates to help instigate a cookie exchange. It’s those people who bring plates back that we really start to get to know. For example, one lady helped us go curtain material shopping and another helped us find our missing cat! Please ask that relationships in our neighbourhood would develop in meaningful ways, and that we would be given courage to knock on more doors.
People nearby started to wade deeper towards them, shouting words of encouragement. A few tried throwing them various floating devices which got carried away by the wind. Still he kept going under, fighting to keep his face above the water. But within minutes several lifeguards were making their way to his rescue and they, along with the crowd nearby, worked together to carry his now limp body back to shore. You could almost hear an audible sigh of relief after a few minutes when he was finally able to shakily sit up.
Drowning in darkness
We recently moved to a new location in North Africa and our first impression of this area is that people are drowning. Not literally like the story above of course, but drowning in darkness. Most people don’t know that they are in trouble and are slowly making their way further and further into the local religion and therefore further away from the truth. We spoke to one lady who is so wrapped up in fear of the local ‘jinn’ or evil spirits, that even talking about dreams that others have had of Jesus is frightening to her.
Others know they are in trouble but don’t know how to get help. One man fasted during the month of Ramadan, but didn’t bother to pray. His wife despaired at this as it basically ‘nulled’ his points for fasting. In essence, he fasted as that is what is required publicly, but privately couldn’t be bothered to keep up the appearance. It seems he knows he needs help, but doesn’t know where to get it from. Friends try to throw him a lifeline, like the floating device that got taken by the wind, shaming him into ‘following the rules’ but they fall well short of the mark.
“Equally important is our role calling on the Rescuer to come…”
Much like those girls that screamed when they saw their father in distress, our role here is to alert people to the dangers. Raise the alarm and point the way to rescue. Equally important is our role calling on the Rescuer to come. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives, they won’t recognise their need to be saved or find their way to the truth. Would you join us in calling for the Spirit to move across North Africa?