Tinuviel has one of the most compelling smiles you have ever seen. She was working with a lady doctor as a translator here in Gondor about ten years ago when she first heard about Jesus. She had been born and raised in Minus Tirith by strict Muslim parents. She knew that she needed to keep the fact that she was studying the Word a secret. After about six months she accepted Jesus as her King. She studied and went to church with friends for another six months when her doctor friend discovered that she had been lying to her family about where she was going on Sunday mornings. The doctor did not realize that Tinuviel's parents were clueless as to her new faith. She challenged Tinuviel to be honest with her family.
Finally, she told her mother and father the truth. She had not been going to work on Sundays, she had been going to church. This was seen as a great betrayal to the family. She was forbidden to see any of her Christian friends and she was forbidden to see the doctor again. When she slipped out to see her friends and go to church again her parents, and particularly her Grandfather went berzerk. She was beaten badly and locked up in her room for days. Then, everyday for weeks she was beaten and her Grandfather read the Koran to her. She tried to contact her friends but was unable to get out or get a messagae to them.
Her best friend was able to smuggle a Bible to her once but she suffered terribly with no end of pain in sight. She cried out in despair to God. After weeks of this she was praying and asking God why she could not hear Him. Why had he abandoned her. She heard an audible voice whisper in her ear. He said, 'I am always with you and I am here now but you can not hear me. You can not hear me because of your fear. Fear makes you deaf to my voice.' Tinuviel's family is originally from Rohan and the voice was in her native Rohan language. Apparently, the King speaks Rohan very well. The beatings went on. But her smile brightened each day and she expressed her love for her family more each day. Finally, her father came home determined to kill her. Her mother talked him out of it but the next day Tinuviel was able to contact her friends and they smuggled her out and hid her in a village for several months.
She really did love her family and after several months she went back to them. They received her warmly. The father was away on business and the mother and Grandfather were very grateful to have her back. When the father came back a few weeks later there was another beating but in the end they did not want to drive her away. They let her stay if she did not mention her faith.
Now the father had asthma very severely and it was not being treated well. The doctor was called back and I beleive saved the father more than once. During this time it became clear to me what some of the issues were. The family, except maybe for the Grandfather, were not that upset about her changing her religion. They were devestated that she had embarrased the family in the neighborhood. She had left her parents teaching and disrespected them.
The doctor felt terrible about this. She had not understood that Tinuviel was lying to her parents from the beginning. She thought that they knew what was going on.
The father eventually died- not coincidentally after the doctor left the country. Tinuviel married a nice young Christian man and they are serving the King down in Belfalas.
This story is important to me because it helped me make up my mind about extraction evangelism. That is, evangelism that pulls an individual out of their home and community to share the Gospel with them. In the West this is the normal mode of evangelism. In the Word it is remarkably unusual. When did Paul share with one guy? He found ways to share with whole communities and as a result we often see whole families - 'households'- won to faith. I think we reap what we sow. Too often we don't sow much and then blame our circumstances on why we don't see much happening. Too often I hear someone talk about sharing with a college kid but when it comes to the kid's 45 year old father we just don't think he will ever change. He is set in his ways and wont listen to what we say. We think hey, I bet I can talk this 20 year old kid into believing the Word, but we have less confidence in our ability to confront a 50 year old man. So, God is where in this scenerio? Exactly nowhere. We are leaving him out. It is no harder for God to save a 50 year old than a 20 year old. The reason we don't see it is because we don't have faith to believe it and so we never sow the Word in the first place.
On our team we have determined to share with the entire community and to never do any kind of 'secret' or behind the scenes evangelism. We are still learning. We are still growing. I believe that the King was honored in the way Tinuviel kept smiling. I believe that she is exactly where the King wants her today in spite of whatever we might have done 'wrong'. But I want to increase my faith and increase my ability to see the King at work here in Gondor. I know he loves all generations and if we have the faith to walk in it I think he has a plan to reach them all.