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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How much does your faith cost?

We have much to be thankful for. As an American, where freedom is our middle name, there is little to complain about. We have the freedom to vote for whoever we want, shop wherever we want, make friends with whoever we want, and worship wherever and whatever we want. Religious persecution is a phrase very foreign to us. It used to be foreign to me until I saw it first hand.

In 2006 I went to Ghana to do missions work in a Muslim village. I had visited this village twice before and was excited to come back...but something was different this time. My first two visits we had been very welcomed because we were the "white people" from "rich America." We were more of a visual souvenir then understood what we were there for. Sharing the gospel. That was our goal and our mission. Finally, after 2 years, we began to break through the shell of this village and get to the heart of the people. They started to understand why we were really there. Like I'd mentioned, the majority of these people were Muslim...and they made it well known by the ginormous Mosque as you enter the village. Word got out that the white people or the "Obroni's" were here to talk about the Messiah, Jesus, Salvation....words not quite welcomed in this Muslim village. One story from that summer stands out to me and often send chills down my spine. One of the women of the village, a young single girl, overheard what we were sharing with her friends. You could tell from the emotions on her face that she got it. She understood what we were talking about. She "got" the good news. What a special moment it is to be there when someones eyes are open to the truth and heart open to the Lord. I gained a sister in Christ. A "kayaye" (what Ghanaians call these working girls) and yet a daughter of the King. After praying with us that day she left with a smile on her face. The next day I was excited to see her again to be able to talk more with her and share with her more about the Lord and her new found faith. She greeted me with a HUGE smile. Although we conversed through a translator I heard of her excitement and peace about her faith. I asked her if she was able to share her faith with anyone from her community home (She lived with a bunch of other Kayaye in "house.") She shook her head and told me the following...never loosing her smile. She told me that someone had seen her talking to the white people and saw her pray. When she went home that night, she found that she was kicked out of her house...she was forced onto the streets. At this point the smile on my face diminished yet hers remained. She then continued to tell me that when the night was over she went to her boss to pick up her items she would sell that day, but he offered her none. She not only lost her home to rest, but she also lost her job. All for her faith. I'm shamed to admit this, but at the time I remember thinking..."why do you admit to this change in faith if it cost so much." As soon as those thoughts entered my mind I understood why. She was the definition of faith. She held that beautiful image of Christ and what He did for us. People mocked Christ when he was on the cross asking him why he wouldn't save himself? And yet the persecution didn't take him down from the cross...he stayed to the very end. This Kayaye and her new found faith was incredible. It humbled me and challenged my own faith. She didn't have to read John 15:18 to understand its meaning. She had faith and in faith she would remain. No matter what persecution came her way, she knew that the new life she found in Christ was worth more to her. She would rely on the Lord for all the details of her life, whether big or small..she had the faith that would move mountains. She didn't lessen the power of the Lord in her life by denying her new faith...accepted it with boldness.

Persecution is real over there...I saw it first hand. I didn't experience, but I saw it. I pray that if rolls were reversed, and I were the one who lost my job and my house for my faith...that I too would be telling you about it with a smile...a smile that never ceases.


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