Have you heard the expression “Boots on the Ground?” Well our Live Dead Missionaries are the boots on the Silk Road. Here we’d like to take a moment and allow one of them to share part of their life with you. Some names and details have been changed, but this is a true story from this colorful, vibrant, and sometimes surprising region and those who God has called to work here.
Sometimes I get into strange situations. I have no idea how they happen. I’m currently standing on a metro platform laughing about today’s such event.
This morning my teammate felt a pull to share the gospel in a particular part of town, an area known for a lower-class in society, not particularly safe or overly welcome to outsiders. So we went and God led us to a park. The sun was shining for the first time in weeks and children were everywhere. We bought some snacks and sat down where the elderly ladies sit, hoping to strike up a conversation.
A lady near us tried to start a conversation, but we could barely understand her. She spoke Arabic rather than the local language, meaning she could have been a refugee from a nearby war-torn country. We sat with an elderly woman for a while as she showed us how to crush nut shells with the heels of our shoes and eat the bits of crushed nuts off the ground (yes, the ground of a public park in the middle of a city). After a while, her daughter came to take her home, but she was very resistant. She wanted to stay in the sunshine saying, “Home felt like prison.” Still not understanding much, I think we agreed to walk her home when she was ready to go and the daughter walked away.
Run Away or Stay Put?
Going through my mind at this point were two things: First, we are trying to follow God, but we can’t communicate with the people on this street, plus this area is new and strange, plus it’s potentially dangerous. And if the wrong person notices us, that means we need to move on to a different area.
But second, we are following God and He led us here to this adventure and God could do something amazing like give me miraculous Arabic-speaking skills or heal someone, and even though we can’t actually communicate, we’d still talk to the whole park full of people Peter style and 3,000 people get saved!
After this second thought, I stayed put.
We continued to sit with this woman, not really understanding much of what she said. Feeling more anxious to get her home and move on, she agreed to return home on the grounds that we stay for tea. As we walked down a couple narrow, empty side streets, I looked at my teammate and thought, “This might be one of the strangest things I’ve ever done.” Then I noticed that the woman looked lost and she asked if we knew where we were going. Shocked, I thought, “What in the world did we get ourselves into?!” We arrived at an old pink metal door and she said, “We’re here.” As we entered the apartment, she pointed down to the basement and said something like, “There! I live down there.”
It Gets Stranger…
Cue panic. What in the world? Was this a trap? I could read the headlines: “Naive foreigners follow old woman home and are never seen again.” While my mind raced, there was no check in my spirit, so we went in..
While helping her down the steep stairs without rails, I prayed, “Jesus, please let this nice lady not be crazy!” And she wasn’t! It turned out that a very nice family lived in the basement apartment. We stayed for tea as agreed, and the woman’s 2-year-old great grandson bit my teammate.
Still it’s Worth it
In the end, we shared the story of Jesus with the woman’s granddaughter who spoke the local language. We headed home via the metro, knowing with complete assurance that the Holy Spirit guided us today. He brought us to an unexpected place where the gospel was proclaimed.
Though the situations are sometimes strange and make me laugh, people are hearing the good news about Jesus and God is moving in this land.