Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Unexpected

Last night I arrived at Robert and Sarah's home to meet with my students from that large Asian country. When I pulled into the drive Robert was just finishing a call on his cell phone. "We have a special guest tonight." He said to me, and then we walked to the door and into the house.

Robert introduced me to his guest. "Bill, this is _______ ________. He oversees 6,500 underground churches that minister to 1.5 million believers."

I stuck my hand out and grasped the dark skinned hand that reached for mine. The man before me was Indian -- not Asian. In seconds I felt like I was in the presence of someone I had know for a long time. We clicked instantly, and I restrained from pelting him with the endless questions that raced through my mind. It was the first time I had met someone, who in my understanding, hearkens back to a New Testament Apostle.

As we waited for the other students to arrive we began to chat. I felt comfortable enough to take off the bridle and start asking questions. The last of the students walked in, and it was time for me to begin teaching. I tried to defer to our guest, but he really wanted to listen to me teach the students. I distinctly remember praying, "God I need you to keep reminding me that I am here to teach these students. I am here by Your appointment. I don't need to worry about trying to impress Your servant to my right." God graciously helped me to stay on point, and the study went great. My charges from the big country asked some incredible questions, and the atmosphere was bathed in Christ's Spirit.

Finishing with the students, I asked our guest to speak about anything God had put on his heart. All of us were captured by the exhortation and testimonies he shared. Let me pass on some of his story . . .

His mother died when he was four years old. He and his three brothers, the youngest being 4 months old, were placed in an orphanage in India. Our friend became father and caregiver to his brothers and also a very wealthy businessman by the time he was 17. He said that he had everything and nothing. His soul felt empty, and he began to turn toward God. He searched -- until God found him, and ended up attending a Baptist church where he got saved and radically mentored. He devoured God's Word.

He had no idea why, but God began to put The Big Country on his -- and his brother's heart. He got out of his business and followed the impressions God gave him. When he set foot on the ground of his strange new mission field his first contact was with a much older and godly woman. She took him under her wing and introduced him to leaders in the underground church (this was over 25 years ago). God's anointing was all over him, and he began to provide epic leadership. The house networks grew exponentially.

In the meantime, his godly mentor was arrested for the second time. Sentenced to 25 years in a Siberian labor camp, she and her four year old son nearly starved to death. Now, at the young age of 86, she recently moved to a remote and arid part of her massive country. In the first month there -- she led 100 people to Christ. In the second month there -- she led 200 to Christ. Recently they had their first baptism. Over 200 people, many who walked over 25 kilometers carrying the water, dug a hole in the sand, and poured in the precious water. Enough of the water, it covered their ankles, collected in the bottom. Boldly, they identified with Jesus, as each one of them were buried in the likeness of Christs' death, and raised in the likeness of Christs' resurrection -- in 8 inches of murky water.

Her little boy is now a grown man and an influential spiritual leader in the underground church.

I didn't sleep much last night. I tossed and turned thinking about how much I want to witness and be a part of the great outpouring of God's Spirit. It is happening in many, many places, but is almost unheard of here in the United States.

2 comments:

  1. I think it is neat how in your previous post you talk about being truely conformed in Christ's image...then the next day the Lord gives you a perfect example of what that looks like in the form of your guest.
    How amazing He is to prepare our hearts before we even know they need preparing!
    Fascinating stuff!

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  2. Hi Bill, my name is Anna Lifsey. My husband and I are currently serving at the House of Prayer in New Zealand. CCC supports us financially and has supported me since I went into full time missions 7 years ago. I wanted to say welcome to the family to you and that Dalton and I really look forward to meeting you. We'll be coming home for christmas this year. This is an amazing post...we are hungry to see Joel 2, the promise of His Spirit being poured out on all flesh, in our day. We pray for this daily in the house of prayer. Your post encouraged my spirit. It's scary to think what it might take in order for His Spirit to be poured out in such great measures here in the western world...but it's the best place today and we just keep praying for strong nets to hold when that day finally comes. Thanks for sharing your heart, passion and desire in this post. Blessings to you! Anna

    P.S. I have met you before...I was home for a while and hung out with your son and the crew while I was there. I came to your house for a christmas party...my parents are Eric and Robin Kennedy.

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