God's plan truly is bigger than ours. We weren't even looking for them when we heard "Hey you! What are you doing here?" We approached these two friendly men merely looking to answer their question, but we ended up sitting with them for over an hour. After talking to these West-African men of a different religion, we began to see their hearts open to our message of the love and mercy of Jesus. Even though they had different backgrounds and stories than us, we felt a connection that only the gospel could provide. We never imagined we would get the responses they were giving us. The more we shared, the closer God drew them in. At the end of our presentation, they weren't quite ready to make a decision, but we thought one of the two was very close. We told them we would meet back later in the week to discuss it further. Over the next few days, we prayed the God would reveal the truth to them...but our feeble minds were fixated on the one we thought was closer. We went back over the next few days, but we could never find them. Our hope was dwindling; we thought God had closed the door. Looking back now, we see how small of a box that we try to fit God into, losing hope after only a few days!
Later in the week, we were back at that same park for a followup conversation with another new African friend. We waited and waited and that person didn't show up. Waiting for him kept us in the park later than we normally would have stayed out. We had almost decided to leave, when up walks one of the two men we had spoken with the first day! Praise God for spoiling our foolish plans. We had given up on finding him and he is the one who seeks us out! Not only that, but he was the one who we didn't see much hope for. We were very excited to see him again and sat down to talk with him. After some small talk, he tells us that he has been looking for us over the past few days, but we had just been missing each other. We asked him if he had thought about what we told him last time. He confirmed and said he had decided and was ready to follow Jesus. We were completely caught off guard and stumbled through the gospel again to make sure he understood. We asked him if he was ready to turn from his former beliefs and believe that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for his sin and rose to conquer death once and for all. He said yes and prayed to tell God right then and there of his decision! We are scheduled to meet with him again to tell him more of what it means to follow Jesus and to start the discipleship process. As we walked away that night, our hearts leaped with the joy of another soul being added to The Kingdom.
How great is our God? How gracious is our King that he includes us in The Great Commission, even though he could write it in the sky? How merciful is our Lord for forgiving us for trying to tell Him who needs this gospel message that we carry? Shame on us for doubting Him and all the authority on Heaven and Earth that has been given to us! Thanks be to God for blessing us with the opportunity to lead our first person to Christ. Our expectant prayer is that he will be the first of many. We look forward to the day when we will be gathered with our new African brothers around the throne singing endless praises our God. Hallelujah!