Let me introduce you to an extraordinary church. This worship center cannot compete in beauty or comfort with churches we are familiar with, yet God is greatly pleased with this gathering place. Why? Because He is exalted above all else and His people love God and others so much they risk their well-being telling them about the freedom found in Jesus. It has been built on a foundation of adversity, with missionaries and converts absorbing verbal and physical attacks. They live in the midst of people who hate them and want to do them harm. This oasis of Christian fellowship provides the encouragement and support new converts need. It is a place of vibrant worship — and oh, my… how they worship! It is a house of prayer where all-day prayer sessions are a normal part of church life. They have very little to eat due to drought conditions, so deliberate abstinence from food is not called for in this season.
The village where the little church stands defiant and proud is 99% fundamental Musl!m. By a miracle, the missionaries secured a piece of land and families donated what they had to build it and to construct a couple of wooden benches. Sometimes people bring their water cans to sit on and children cluster on the dirt floor.
This place is without a school, so the missionaries invite children to come to the church several times a week where they teach the fundamentals of reading and writing. The mosque leaders are very nervous about this and discourage parents to allow their children come – but come they do. Parents desperately want their children to learn and there are no alternatives.
In this exceptionally hard place for the Gospel message to flourish, God has mercifully called 58 former Musl!ms who call this partially wrapped tarp structure their church home. Several weeks ago men were building a dirt platform in the church, enjoying the camaraderie of making improvements to their place of worship.
This humble building is no cathedral – it doesn’t even have real walls! But God’s Word to John in Revelation rings true for the strong band of believers: I know about your suffering and your poverty — but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you… don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. If you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
In God’s timing and provision, we will help our brothers and sisters build a more secure place to meet. This church is the first Christian presence in the area and is the result of intense prayer and perseverance. Established in the middle of a threatening population, this obscure church brings much joy to our Father’s heart.