I have to admit that there are times in which I find myself doubting the power of the Word to really transform lives, especially when we are working in an area that is completely ignorant about the Bible. After sharing about the birth of Jesus last December with the Nozomi staff, I remember the complete shock on one of the Nozomi staff faces as she exclaimed, “So Jesus wasn’t American?”
This week has served to put any of my doubts to shame.
Last Tuesday our friend Jonathan Wilson was coming through Ishinomaki and wanted to stop by the Nozomi Project. One of the staff drove back to the home of Y., who hasn’t been able to come to work for six weeks or so because of a very sick family member and her own panic attacks and depression since the tsunami. Y. and several other Nozomi staff had been hosted by the Wilsons’ church earlier this spring Y. really wanted to see him – so she came into the Nozomi house.
She has not been well – barely walking. She laid down on the sofa as Jonathan began sharing with her from the Word. I left them alone and went next door. I came back an hour later and Y. was standing in the kitchen. Her first words to me? “Sue – the Bible is so powerful! It revived my heart! I’m so glad that I came here!”
Jonathan is an awesome evangelist and Bible teacher, but it wasn’t about him really – I’m sure he would agree. The power of the Word!
Today we were in house church. One of the younger members of our group suggested a passage on his heart: Philippians 4:4-8. We read it together a few times, then in silence, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us. I was so convicted of verse four – “let your gentleness be made known to all.” I have been frustrated this weekend about some grumblings at Nozomi and was ready at our next staff meeting to march in and make things right. I was nudged by the Word that there are much better ways to do things — to allow gentleness to flow through and from me. This is what will change people. So thankful for this beautiful reminder of how God wants me to lead!
And as we shared in small groups today, one of the moms who has been coming with her daughters for a few months caught me up on the challenges of her junior high daughter N. N. has been verbally abused by her sports’ club coach. It got so bad that for the past week she has not been able to go to school. But on Friday, N and her mom studied the Bible, and the command to forgive your enemies. N. gathered up all of her courage and with the assistant coach by her side went in and shared her heart with the abusive coach. N’s mom said, “we knew that forgiveness was the only way out.”
I really do not need to fear sharing the Word – even with those who have no background. It can stand on its own. I really do love the Bible.