Friday, April 4, 2014

Counting the Cost

We received word that another man wanted to become a Christian, a man living deeper yet into the patchwork of farms and pocket-communities a village or two away, so we set out on the motos to find him. When the pastor and I arrived there was an immediate tension in the air. People stopped moving, stopped cooking, stopped sewing, stopped eating, stopped everything as if frozen, and stared. Dogs, even little puppies were growling like they wanted to eat us. There weren't the friendly salutations or kisses on the cheek.

An old man in the distance looked startled, and began walking very slowly behind some houses. His wild eyes were glued to me, and we just stood there staring at one another with this vast gulf of space between us until he ducked out of view.

Pastor leaned into me,
"Yeah, so, that old man is a Devil Priest." He said quietly. "There are no Christians here."
Suddenly it began to add up. Many times I've heard the voodoo drums pounding from this direction in the night, even though our house is miles away. We walked around to the back of the house, looking for Edwais, the man who'd asked for us to meet him, and there was the Devil Priest, talking to him. Edwais was very nervous, looking as if he'd seen a ghost, and immediately the priest got up and again ducked out of sight, walking around the corner of the house.
"Edwais is intimidated." I said to the pastor. I wondered what the priest had said to make this man so fidgety.
I walked around the other direction of the house and came face to face with the priest.
"Sir, would you like to sit together and talk with us?" I said.
The man was shocked and began laughing.
"No, no no." He said.
"You're welcome, really. Come and sit with us." I said.
He paused for just a moment, I think wondering if what I said was for real, but I wasn't laughing.
"OK." He said, "Let me go to my house and get my chair."
We sat down and waited, thumbing through Scripture. Praying. Smiling. Praying some more. Finally I asked,
"Where is this man?"
"He's never going to sit here." Said Edwais. "Never."
Pastor and I got up and walked over to the priest's house. His wife and a few other people were there. They stared at me more and more unpleasantly as I approached their porch. I thought she might like to chew me up and spit me out.
"Hello." I said. "Is Misseur coming?"
"He's gone!" She said. "Went to water the cows." And it was true. That man had completely disappeared, headed for the hills.
So we returned to Edwais and sat down. The man who had just become a Christian last week came walking up, and we hugged. Edain, the man responsible for both of them through the sharing of his faith, was all smiles. The first thing I said to him was, "Edwais, you never need to be afraid..."

Pastor Pompee and I walked through Scriptures together with the man. I spoke of my recently healed knee, of Christ's love and how God even waits for the Devil Priest to turn and come to find Him, even talked about the little mango God dropped at my feet yesterday. The man was thoroughly amazed, and his eyes were glowing, and after some time he gave his life to the Lord in full view of his community.

The Devil Priest is his neighbor, my friends! Do you understand the depth of the decision he made today? Yet this man was resolute. His decision will come with a real price, but he was willing to make an eternal choice, because he saw the value of the Everlasting God.
What has your faith cost you today?

We walked back to the Devil Priest's house. He was still nowhere in sight. I gave his family some tracts, one on Heaven and Hell, and another called What to Do when You're Whole World Changes.
"Please tell him when he returns that God still wants him. He still loves him, and we would like to talk with him more."

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