Nadia Hattingh loves seeing God obviously at work in the lives of some of her Mwinika friends.
Geri is her “right hand man.” He has been helping Nadia and her husband, Francois, with their gardening. In return, Nadia is giving Geri cooking lessons.
Geri, who recently learned to read and write, is a quick study and “a joy to work with.”
Geri also loves to laugh and tell jokes. That’s why Nadia was concerned when he recently became “exceptionally serious and introspective.”
“I asked him if he was OK,” Nadia writes.
“Yes, my health is good,” Geri replied.
Then, Nadia wondered if the Mwinika Bible teaching currently taking place in the village where Geri lives was impacting him.
“What are you learning from the Bible teaching?” she asked. “What do you think?”
“That I am a sinner!” replied Geri emphatically. And suddenly the serious turn in his disposition made sense.
Nadia is praising God because she knows He is at work in Geri’s heart. “Although he is now in despair because he realises he is a sinner and there is nothing he can do to save himself, this is the first glorious step toward accepting his Saviour!” Nadia rejoices.
Another Mwinika friend, Papa Bakar, has a long history of being rather ornery and hard-headed. He is not a young man anymore, yet he attends the Bible teaching faithfully every afternoon. He listens intently and says he is eager to learn what God wants from him.
“He often asks thought-provoking questions,” Nadia explains. “He has always resisted change—until now,” she adds.
“How can we go to God for answers?” “How can we talk to God?” “How will we hear His voice when we can’t see Him?” Papa Bakar is full of questions.
When, in the Bible teaching, the truth was presented that God is seeking for His children, that He wants to be found and desires for His children to be with Him, Papa Bakar observed, “Even a chicken always looks for her chicks and calls to them constantly. That is how God is calling to us!”
Nadia rejoices to see God opening the hardened heart of Papa Bakar.
And she has another friend in whose life she prays to see God’s work. When Francois and Nadia arrived in 2005, it was decided that Ziria would be Nadia’s language helper. Ziria and Nadia laughed together as they worked, but Ziria has always kept a careful lock on her heart and guarded her friendship with Nadia against any intimacy.
“I soon realised,” writes Nadia, “that Ziria was burying many hurts.”
On the outside, Ziria was loud, proud, fiercely jealous of Nadia’s friendship, quick to put others down and feared by many in the Mwinika community, causing some of Nadia’s friends to be hesitant to visit her. But that is Ziria on the outside. Deep down, Nadia feels sure that her friend struggles with feelings of inferiority.
At first, Ziria flatly refused to attend the Bible teaching when it started in May. Nadia’s heart ached and she prayed fervently that she would change her mind. But still she did not come.
Then, last week, Ziria abruptly changed her mind. And at first, Nadia was delighted.
But Ziria came to the Bible teaching with her own agenda. And sadly, she is making use of every opportunity to criticise the teachers and interrupt the meetings. “She tries to take charge, loudly ordering others around.”
So Nadia sadly begins to wonder if it was a good idea to urge Ziria to come to the Bible teaching, after all.
Yet at the same time, she knows that what Ziria truly needs is the same thing that Geri and Papa Bakar need. In fact, it’s the same thing that every person everywhere needs.
Ziria and Geri and Papa Bakar need a Savior. They need Jesus. Nadia’s heart is at rest, trusting God with that truth.
“God is still God and I know He can win any heart,” Nadia affirms.
Will you stop right now and pray for Francois and the Mwinika believers who are helping to teach the Good News about a Saviour to the Mwinika people? Pray for God’s Spirit to work in the hearts of Geri and Papa Bakar and Ziria and others like them to convict them to see their need for a Saviour. Pray that they will find hope and joy and freedom in the powerful message of the gospel.