Second guessing and regret is a way of life for too many. If only we had just.... If only I had said this.... We can heap a lot of condemnation on ourslves if we give the enemy our ear and let him direct the conversation. We spent much of the Fall of 2004 doing this. If we did all that the Boss asked of us and saw Him work so powerfully then why did the village refuse Christ? Where did we go wrong. It is here that all those sowing and reaping promises can really backfire on you. That which you sow that will you also reap. When nothing seems to be happening you can only conclude that you sowed nothing after all.
We went on to the next project. A village near Osgiliath had fallen in a sinkhole and was relocated. We helped build thirty houses there. The guys sat around in the tent and sulked for the most part. I would go down and say, 'hey, let's sing and play the guitar!' But they didn't bring the guitar. They didn't feel much like singing either. But time marched on. I visited Anfalas sporadically. They all seemed to be asleep.
In May of 2005 I visited and met with a school teacher there. He assured me that he still read the Word everyday to his family. I thought that was odd. Didn't they reject Christ already? But many seemed to be reading still. Denethor, the spiritual leader of the village insisted on telling me every time I saw him that he still prayed for his people in Jesus' name just like I had told him to.
There were two main guys who always met with our team whenever they went down. Kili and Fili were from Anfalas and had worked hard on digging the wells there. Throughout the time they spent with the team they never mentioned God or showed any interest in spiritual things. In December of 2005 the team went down to see how everyone was. They saw Kili and spoke with him briefly and during that short conversation he mentioned Jesus. The team was surprised. They asked me if they could do another project down there so we could spend time in the village again. I said that that would be easy as they need nearly everything. So, we did a mill project. A flour mill is fairly cheap but becuase you have to house it, and set up a committee to run it and work out a fair system for the village it takes a lot of time to pull off- so it was perfect for our purposes.
The team went and started working and it was as if they had never left. Everyone was glad to see them and they began doing book studies from house to house again. Most of the time was spent with Kili and Fili and their wives. They did meet with another school teacher though who told them he needed more Bibles as he was doing a Bible study in two different houses in the neighboring village. They said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Well, everyday after school I go to one or the other house and I meet with about ten guys and we read the Bible and talk about it.' They said, 'Show us.' So, he took them to the Bible studies and it was exactly as he had described. God was doing something down there but now how were we to be involved?
It didn't take very long before Kili was insisting on being baptised. I wondered how he understood baptism at all. I did a thorough Bible study on baptism with the team and then we all went down to the village. Frodo taught Kili and Fili and their wives the study on baptism and then asked if that is what they wanted to do. Kili and his wife insisted on being baptised right then. It was late so we told them we would do it in the morning. Fili and his wife said they would wait a week. I was disappointed but not surprised.
We got up the next morning at 5am and went to the canal near the village. They had already decided that Sam would do the baptizing. I layed hands on them and prayed and then Sam and Kili went down into the water. Sam asked Kili if he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and saviour and he acknowledged boldly that he had. Then Sam came up out of the water and Kili baptised his wife in the same way. It would have been a scandal for Sam to be in the water with another man's wife. And besides that, it was darn cute to see him ask his wife if she had accepted the Lord and to hear her reply to him.
After the baptism we went to their house and I gave them the Lord's Supper and instructed them to do it often together. It was a very special time. Their faces were changed. They had such care worn faces, such oppressed faces before and now they radiated with smiles that drove tired lines away. I think that Kili looks ten years younger.
Two weeks later Fili and his wife were baptized the same way. Now both couples meet every morning at 5am to pray, read the Word, and encourage each other before they go off to work. They do not represent an organization that you and I would call church but I believe they are an example to us as to what God's Kingdom and the true Church should look like. Everyday I wonder if I am going to hear that it has all gone wrong but now after six months they are meeting every morning with fifteen or so neighbors who come to watch them and they are bringing great glory to our Lord there.
I will write the next chapter of this story as soon as God reveals it.