The remote locations of the villages are making our crowds smaller than many previous projects in Ghana. Thus far (through Thursday noon) we have spoken to 64 different groups to an estimated crowd of 7,400 people. “Thanks be to God for this wonderful opportunity.”
The groups here are very attentive and responsive to the message of Jesus Christ. We are learning that most of the population here are deeply immersed in traditional tribal worship — which amounts to spiritism and the following of the “witch-doctors.” Some however, have a connection to the Catholic religion because of the presence of a large Catholic hospital in the regional Capital of Battor. Nearly all of these “religious Catholics” have no idea of what it means to be a “Born again Christian.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Let me introduce you to Anthony — the headmaster in one of the schools today. When we first arrived at the school, Anthony appeared to be disinterested and unimpressed at what we were scheduled to do. While most times the headmaster will join us for our program, this particular man did not move from his desk which was set-up under the shade of a large tree in the school yard. (This is the normal place for the administrative group from each school.)
We shared the Gospel with two different groups of students in this village school and then, while the national team members were distributing New Testaments to all the students, I walked back out to sit and visit with Anthony. I walked up noticed that Craig and Sammy were already engaged in deep conversation with the headmaster. I listened to the conversation that went something like this…
“So sir, are you a Christian?” Sammy asked. “I have been a worshiper of God for nearly 40 years and have been a Catholic for the last 14 years” answered Anthony. “I preach in my church and teach in the villages” he said. Without missing a beat Pastor Sammy queried, “So what did you do to become a Christian?” A look of puzzlement came across his face as he said “I preach in the churches” and attend worship. I try and do good things and obey the laws of God.” Anthony replied.
“Have you been born again?” asked Sammy. A blank stare appeared on this man’s face and Sammy began to share the Gospel in simplicity. He spoke the truth that we are all sinners by birth and thus separated from God. He explained, “No amount of good works can get us to God, because we are separated from Him by sin, but that God, showed His love for us by sending JESUS into the world to pay the debt of our sin by His death on the cross.” Anthony looked on, drawn by the Holy Spirit’s tug on his heart, and listened intently to the Gospel.
The appearance and disposition of Anthony was softening and changing. It was visibly obvious that God was drawing this once hard heart unto Himself. After a few more minutes Sammy asked the man if he
1. Admitted that he was a sinner and that no amount of self-effort could remove the sin from his life.
2. Believed that God sent JESUS into the world to pay the penalty of sin on behalf of, not only Anthony but, all who will believe.
3. Would confess and call upon name of JESUS and be saved.
The man bowed his head and prayed a sincere and heart moving prayer of faith and repentance. I believe, with all my heart, this man was gloriously converted at that moment.
In the time of follow-up with this new brother, we encouraged him to understand that he now moved from TRYING to get to God, to TRUSTING that God had come to Him. We gave him a bible and he told us that he was going to begin each school day with a time of scripture reading with all his students. This is certainly a mark of a heart changed by the Gospel.
How about you today? Are you trying or trusting? Are you religious or have you been made Righteous by the blood of Jesus?
Our final word to Anthony was simple: “Today you came to school as a creature of God but now you are a Child of God.” This revelation bought about a wide smile and secure heart.
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
–John 1:11-12 (ESV)