Tamayta – Week 2 – Second Bible Study
We reversed the time of service for the reasons stated earlier which meant a much earlier start from the village. Violet and the girls had planned on going with me, but Abagail was up in the middle of the night with a very upset stomach. So, Augustus and George went with me.
Arriving in Tamayta about 7:50am, there was nobody in sight at the school building. However, there were a number of Adventist women on their way to working on their little garden patches. We drove into the center of the village and made our presence known. George and Augustus recommended that I return to the school building up the road and they would walk through the town reminding people of Bible study.
I had no sooner arrived when the Adventist “pastor” showed up asking about me and what we were planning on doing. I stated that we were here to teach people about the Word of God and what it means in the matter of salvation. He was pleasant to talk about and told me they were preparing for a big conference with the topics of Elder Rule, Tithing, and Keeping the Sabbath. My first thought was, “My friend, you have omitted the weightier matters of the law!” I invited him to come but he said that they were doing other things but that I was welcome to the village. This was an interesting development because the people in charge of the school are Adventists and they were the ones that had to give permission for us to use the building! Praise the Lord.
A few people began walking in after that and we ended up with 10 including our small team of three one of them being Ellis and Joseph, who had been present last week. The other five were first-time visitors. Each of them introduced themselves and told us they were from the Methodist church.
As I did previously, I began with the law of God. The new people thought they were rather good and that they had not broken all of God’s laws. Two of them stated that as long as they did mostly good that they believed that God would accept them into heaven. I asked if this was what their church taught them and they nodded in the affirmative.
This time, I began by writing the first of the commands and the entire group quickly came to the realization that they had broken every one of the first five. I told them that they had better hope they had not broken any of the last five otherwise their good would not outweigh their bad.
One of the men raised his hand and said that he knew with what I had said that they were all in very serious trouble! He had no idea as of yet what was to come.
Quickly moving through the next five, again, all seven came to the sobering conclusion that they had broken all of the last ones as well! Then going to James 2:10, I pointed out that God tells us that if we have broken just one law, we have broken them all. In true Liberian fashion, low growls of dismay went across the room.
I then asked them if they believed that they sinned at least once per day. All raised their hands with an “oweei” (yes). Calculating this out for just one sin per day for a life of 70 years means we would have committed a total of 25,550 sins in our life! Numbers are staggering to a Liberian and most cannot count very high, but they do know the base lines of thousand, ten thousand, and a million. A million is a number that most here just cannot fathom.
I then asked them what the penalty was for murder in Liberia and they told me life in prison. Here, it means LIFE in prison in a concrete block that is filthy beyond compare. Few ever live for more than 10 or 15 years in these vermin and disease-ridden environments. So, to consider that a person of 25 or 30 might live to be 65 or 70 is close to unbelievable for them.
Painting a vivid picture for them, I asked for the name of a close relative and told them that if they came home to find their loved one brutally murdered, would they demand justice? Asking further, I said, what if you went to the court and the man said, “Judge, I have never killed before and I promise I will be good for the rest of my life, please let me go free!” Concluding this, my comment was, “Would you believe that justice was done or would the man have to pay all 40 years in prison for that murder?”
At this point, one of the men shot his hand into the air and before I could take his question, he blurted out, “In Liberia, there is no more death penalty, but I would not be satisfied until the man died for his crime!”
Sharing from the Scriptures that the wrath of God must be taken into account for every single sin, I told them that if there had only been one sinner who sinned only one time in their entire lives, they would never be fit for the Kingdom of God unless the sin was paid for.
This means that every single sin that a person who believes has or will ever commit has to be atoned for. Each sin was like a death sentence for the Lord Jesus Christ. Continuing with the illustration and the numbers, I told them that if you had to serve in hell just 40 years for every one of the sins you ever commit in 70 years, it would take 1,022,000 years! The entire group sat stunned and nobody said a word.
I said, “Now imagine, if you sinned 10 times a day, that would mean a sentence of 102,200,000 years in hell before you could atone for your own sins. However, every second you are suffering in hell, you will curse the eternal God Who created you. You will plead for mercy but there will be no mercy. You will plead for water to cool your tongue, but there will be none available. And every second you curse, you are adding another life sentence to the punishment which you are paying.”
The same man in the back, Andrew, raised his hand and waited for me to respond. His comment was, “Then, we will never get out of hell. There is no way to ever pay God for our sins!” Praise the Lord, I knew that at least one person was listening.
Then sharing the gospel from 2 Corinthians 5:21, I shared the only message of hope that is available to mankind. I concluded and then asked if there were any questions about what we had shared. Ellis was the first to raise his hand. If you remember, he was the one from last week who wanted to wait. He said, “I must confess my sins before men and God. Last week I waited and committed more sins. Today, I publicly confess and repent of my sins and I want Jesus to forgive me and to place my faith in Him alone!”
With that Ellis began praying and did just what he said he was going to do. Concluding, my own heart was touched to overflowing as he said, “God, I come to you, but I have nothing to bring you with which you can accept me. All I have is much sin. Please accept me as your child. Amen!”
As soon as Ellis was done, he was followed by Kolbah, Gertrude, Andrew, Junior, and Joseph (the man from the Adventist church)! Six of the seven prayed for mercy and forgiveness. The miracle of grace is astounding to watch as it unfolds. When they had each finished, Ellis asked if he could ask a question. I said yes and he said, “we want to know if this is going to stay just a Bible study or will this become a Baptist church one day?”
I replied in the affirmative and he said they were happy with that. I asked him if he saw a difference in what we were teaching with what he normally heard. Ellis responded that although he was young (32), he had never heard the gospel message ever proclaimed at the Methodist church where he had even been a member! The others quickly agreed that this was the case, even Joseph from the Adventist church.
Closing with a prayer of thanksgiving, we told them, Lord willing, we would return the next week and encouraged them to return with their families for more teaching.
By the way, we learned that Daniel from the week before was only living in town for a short time. He is a building contractor and he was completing an assignment the day we met him. There are no coincidences with God, and His timing is always perfect. One week earlier or later, we would never have met Daniel in that town. Daniel was not present because he had returned to his home in Gbarnga. We will meet up with him there later this month.
Foloblai – Week 3
There were over 30 present today and we spoke on what constitutes a true, Biblical church. Beginning with the basics that a person must first be a true believer, we shared the gospel once again beginning with the law of God. Amos the bell-ringer shared his testimony of what the Lord had done in his life, and said that although it was hard that God had helped him to do what was right. That was a blessing to hear.
Martha, the young mother, who was to share her testimony was not present and I asked why. The response was sobering. The next day, her brother next to her had gone down to Monrovia to buy a motorcycle. Driving it back home, he had an accident and was killed immediately! Martha was with the family for the funeral.
This proved a good introduction to the sin of procrastination. Today is the day of salvation, not tomorrow or after you have lived life the way you want to for the pleasures of sin. Concluding, one man said he was a member of the Methodist church, but wanted to be a part of this new work. I asked him if he had ever placed his faith in Christ alone and repented of his sins. He said that he had not, then asked if he could do so right then! James stood and publicly prayed seeking the forgiveness of God.
He was no sooner done than Mamie (who had come every week) stood and said, she took wanted to place her faith in Christ! Mamie was quickly followed by a young man named Afoso. As he sat down, one of the old women who had been praying for 20 years for a Bible-believing church to come to their village stood to her feet and began praising God. She said, “I have prayed and shared the gospel with Afoso for years. He lives in my house and now he is a believer like me! Thank God!”
I and the men with filled with joy watching the events unfold. I stated that the Bible study would be concluded unless somebody else had a question. A tall young lady stood to her feet and asked if she could speak. I nodded and Annie continued.
“I am from Harbel (near the airport in Monrovia) and I am here visiting my parents (sitting to the left of me). I attend a Baptist church in my town and I have been attending baptismal class to become a member. But, I have been a great sinner and have never even confessed my sins before God. Today, I want to do that in front of my parents and everybody here! I now know that to be baptized would mean nothing because I have not even been saved!”
With that she bowed her head and placed her faith in Christ alone! There was more rejoicing when she was finished and especially from her parents.
Overall, it was a very wonderful day. All the way back home, we were rejoicing again and again over what we were seeing the Lord doing in these two villages. But as with any victories, sometimes, there can be times when the enemy will attack because he (Satan) does not like losing any souls.
Our joy was overshadowed by a stop in the next-to-last village and a man decided he wanted to pick a fight with one of the team members. We will share what transpired though in our next update, Lord willing, later this week.