A Word from Curt
I’d like to introduce our newest team member, Jonathan “JD” Hull.
JD has joined our Chadan Engagement Team and has already been a blessing to us.
He is an excellent writer and speaker. That’s why I believe you’ll enjoy the podcast and blog of his story.
I’d appreciate it if some of you would choose to pray for JD. It’s the most important thing you can do for a young man who has chosen to use his life and talents in a region we call Chadan. Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll connect you with JD.
You can listen to JD reading his story here.
Two Days in Karamoja
Jesus once told his disciples, “a sower went out to sow.” That’s all he does, the sower sows the word of God. After these two days in the villages I think I know why he is such a small part of the story.
My partner and I had come from the village to refill our water bottles. We came to the borehole, a pump where all the local people gathered their water. It was our usual practice to help pump some of their water to make up for cutting the dozens of people in line. So there I was pumping, the long silver handle grinding up and down, slowly filling the faded yellow jerry can underneath the spout. The local language buzzed all around me.
Then clearly I understood God saying, “Keep pumping,” so I did. I was not really sure why, but I kept pumping. After several Jerry cans and help from my partner, I heard God say, “The first African that helps, let him and offer to pray for him.” After a little while, a man offered to help, and we said we would like to pray for him. He agreed and walked to the tree.
Next to the borehole, there was a tree where the men would rest and gather. The man walked straight to the tree and stopped awaiting prayer. Through the translator we were working with we prayed for the man. We had attracted a little attention, and the translator said, “Let’s tell the story.”
So we told the people the story of Jesus to over thirty people, who had taken shelter from the midday sun. The people heard the story. They discussed. Hope began to rise within me, could this be the breakthrough we were hoping and praying for? Then a representative spoke from the crowd in the quick staccato rhythm of the local language. My excitement was building.
“We need a place to have prayers.” My hopes fell. They were asking for a building. We had heard this over and over. By now we knew their intention was not for worship, but to get what they could from the foreigners.
Adam, my partner, is a gentle man in the best sense, is always looking for the best in people. This is the man who said, “We come week after week, and you say you want Jesus, but nothing has changed.”
He rebuked the whole group of people and challenged them to follow Jesus.
As it turns out, all of us trainees had prayed Acts 4 that morning and asked God for boldness.
Adam sat down and there was silence. Our translator got up and explained, then the young man we were discipling asked the translator for a chance to speak. He told the people, “God said blessed are those who hear the word of God.”
All of this was whispered to Adam and I by the translator as big grins broke out on our faces, we just sat and listened. The young man boldly proclaimed the gospel and called the people to respond.
Then another man stood up, and in pieces from the translator we realized he was teaching how God had made the witch doctor and he was good. Heat flushed to my head, and our translator once again stood and refuted the man as Adam and I prayed not understanding a word of what was said.
The man stood up again, and taught false ideas of heaven. Before we could say a word, the young man again stood up. Then he told the story of Lazarus and the rich man word for word. A story we had not even taught him.
Then he turned the entire conversation to say we had come to tell God’s word, would they repent? Would they listen? The people again were quiet, and the false teacher did not rise from his place.
Then the questions began, how many wives should we have? We told the story of the first marriage, letting the story answer the question, not us. What about the sacrifices? We spoke of Jesus’ crucifixion as the only sacrifice using our gospel story. Was the first sin “playing sex?” Told the story of the fall of man, letting the story speak for itself. Why did God allow Satan to tempt people? I told the story of David and Goliath, asked the people why God allowed Goliath to become so strong? From the story they said, “So God can show his power.” Then they asked, “what about the witchdoctors?” Told the story of Paul and Bar-Jesus.
Then the people were done, our seed bag was empty for the day. We had answered questions and told stories for about two hours, all beginning with God telling me to keep pumping. We went to the village, sang with the people, jumped and danced with the people by the moonlight. The beams illuminating the dust rising from our pounding feet. We went to bed tired and happy.
I rejoice over that day, and immediately as I laid down that night, I wanted to share this story of what God did and opportunities he gave us.
But I think it would be unfair to end the story there, because the next day taught me just as much.
The next day, the young man we were discipling had left for the whole day. So we sat and ate some porridge. Then we went down to the center, a gathering place, and no one was there. Went to the borehole, God said I could stop pumping. We sat in the shade, learned a little about the culture as we sat there, and sat some more. I wrote some, talked some with Adam, and waited.
That day the man came up that I had prayed for at the borehole. He said he wanted to follow Jesus. Our experience told us that this can mean a lot of things, so we asked questions, but every tool of discernment I had was stripped away by the new culture I found myself in. I felt powerless. I still felt confused as the man walked away. We told him we would meet him later to teach him a story. We were then told that he was a local witchdoctor. I was even more confused. Should I not be rejoicing? But I don’t even know what to think.
Then another boy said he wanted to follow Jesus, we asked questions. Again, every tool I had was stripped away. Even through a translator I was shooting blanks. After some time, I sat there and had nothing to say to the boy. I simply could not process his words. The boy went with us to find the witch doctor from eariler to teach him a story. He hoped to follow up with him and begin to sow the word of God in his life. We were told that the man was not there and was looking for cortei (the local beer).
Not exactly a fairytale ending.
He showed up later, with bloodshot eyes and drooping eyelids. The smell of beer clung to him.
Went back to village, went to bed tired and confused, the day had been long. I lay there shoulder to shoulder with my partner and translator on the floor of the hut and was not nearly as enthusiastic to tell this day to you.
But after a few months of this ministry “rhythm,” I learned an important lesson. I realized it is very important to tell you about BOTH days. The gospel proclaimed after the moving of the Holy Spirit AND sitting in the dust, thirsty, tired, and unequipped to even have a basic conversation about the gospel. Out of all the things I learned at training, one of the most important lessons was that on both days, I was successful.
All I could think of on the second day was a line from my greatest teacher, “a sower went out to sow.” Why is that all that he does? I believe it is because that is all he CAN do. I knew this in theory, but then I looked into glazed over eyes of the rocky soil, I spoke with men and could nearly see the thorns growing around them, and I met the good soil leaving a trail of fruit.
As for me, all I can do is sow the seed. My friends, let us not keep any seed in the bag. I was successful. Because I was faithful.
Enjoy JD reading his story: