Short-termer Jonny Evans wanted to live his life for Christ in a CAN but never expected to be compared to Jesus in this way.
I can remember after one month of living in the village, a young man coming up to me and saying, “Have you ever seen the Jesus Film?” I told him that I had not and asked him why. “You look just like Jesus in that film, I have seen you several times around the village and every time I see you I think of Jesus.”
“It never occurred to me… that I would love them as my family, that I would have frequent and long conversations about my faith and my Saviour.”
I later watched the film and discovered that I don’t look anything like the actor in it. But that day was the start of a deepening realisation that I was representing Christ and all his followers in the minds of those people. Their religion gave them a twisted view of the Saviour and they saw him only as a prophet. Most of them had never known someone who followed Jesus and the whole village watched my every move. Throughout my time there my actions were questioned; “Why don’t you pray like we do?” “Why won’t you marry my daughter?” “Why do you fast differently?” Each one gave me an opportunity to share how devotion is more about the heart and less about the actions, how my motive for serving God is not duty, but love. I would frequently walk about the village practicing the language, greeting everyone I walked past. Sitting with groups of young men as they sat outside a shop made from a shipping container or talking to women as they cooked rice with coconut and fish with cassava leaves. Knowing that for the most part, the people of my village had but one glimpse of Christ and that was in my words and life. I started praying fervently that they would not have to look so hard to see him in me. It never occurred to me before I went that I would develop such deep friendships with the local people, that I would love them as my family, that I would have frequent and long conversations about my faith and my Saviour. I thought that my weakness, the language barrier, the cultural differences and their oppressive religion would stop me from being a witness, but God is glorious and he used even me. And now any fruit that comes from my time living there will not be through my eloquent words or my wisdom in what to say, but through his power and his Spirit.