A Quiet Man and the Ring of Fire
Stephen* is a soft-spoken man. In his native country, he is not particularly famous. He does not promote himself but lives to serve the Lord and his community with God’s love and salvation.
His friends, however, have a lot to say about him! “Like others in his part of Africa, he is a very friendly guy. He always greets you when you meet him on the street. And he is famous for his wide smile.” says his friend.
“He is too humble to speak about what he has done. But I can tell you that he is also an excellent church planter. He started many fellowships in the capital city of his country.“
“Let another praise you, and not your own lips.”Prov. 27:2
Attacking Their Own
Unfortunately, not everyone understood what Stephen was trying to do. “Those people are different from us” they would say. “Why would you share the good things we have as Christians with people who we don’t like?” Stephen was persecuted by traditional Christians.
One day some of the men decided to punish Stephen. They made a plan to beat him. But when they approached his house, they saw that it was encircled by a ring of fire! There was no way that the men could come near him. Defeated and very much afraid, they accused him of witchcraft.
Stephen was at a loss. He tried to explain. “It’s not my doing. It’s the Lord’s doing!’
Who Can Stop What the Lord is Doing?
Clearly the Lord had more for that community. Several fellowships started. Those multiplied into more fellowships! A movement began.
In time Stephen said “My work here is done. These believers can carry on by themselves. I will still be available to disciple these disciple-makers from a distance. But only if they need that support.”
What was his next plan? After all of the hard work and good fruit was he looking for an easier assignment from God? Would he do something “safer,” like pastoring a church?
That was the very last thing he wanted to do!
“I Want to Go Farther Away”
Soon Stephen and his wife joined with another team member. Together the three of them moved to a new village. It was not an easier placement. If anything it was a more challenging one. Missionaries had gone there previously… and been chased out for their trouble!
This did not discourage Stephen and his wife at all. They were happy to make their home among these unreached people. But this situation was going to require a very different strategy.
The couple applied themselves to learning about their new community. As they got to know the people, they realised that there were two basic needs. Help was needed to feed their families and earn money.
A Creative Idea
Stephen and his wife had discovered a felt need in the community, and they had an idea.
Stephen began by introducing a scheme called Farming God’s Way. This programme teaches farmers how to grow more crops. It is actually done using less effort.
Those who got involved learned spiritual principals as well. In just a few months eight people from the Muslim community came to faith in Jesus!
Now it was time for the couple to invest in these new believers. Some had come to faith individually. Others had come as entire families. All were loved and discipled in the ways of Jesus by Stephen and his wife.
An Extraordinary Salvation
One of those who heard the good news was an imam or Muslim leader. The imam began to come regularly to Stephen’s house to ask questions. After some time he declared “I’m going to follow Jesus!” Stephen prayed with him, and the imam went home a very happy man.
For the next three nights in a row, the man had special dreams. Each time Jesus talked to him. He showed him things that He wanted him to do, and places that He wanted him to go.
An Imam Spreads the Good News
The imam hadn’t left his job earlier. But now he was ready to tell people his stories. In a few months, forty Muslims came to follow Jesus! This was largely due to this changed man, as well as supernatural acts God had performed.
There were consequences of course. The former imam was chased out of his home because he “could not stop talking about Jesus!”
How wonderful, how miraculous, that in this place of hard ground there is great fruit amongst a Muslim people group! The Lord who had protected Stephen with a ring of fire, sent him out to do great things for the Kingdom.
Do you see yourself as a bit quiet? An introvert? God can use you to accomplish incredible things. Like Stephen, He has a call and purpose for your life. Find out more about our YWAM Frontier Missions training programs and begin making disciples who multiply today.
- Not his real name